Retro Review #7

Discussion in 'Other Consoles & Oldies' started by Hadrian, Jul 28, 2012.

Jul 28, 2012

Retro Review #7 by Hadrian at 5:35 PM (4,377 Views / 1 Likes) 31 replies

  1. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Welcome back to what I hope to become a more regular feature again. This is a community produced feature where members of the forum would send their reviews to me and I'll put them here. The focus is on Retro entertainment, the general rule of thumb is something that was released ten years+ ago...although lets face it some modern games aren't really anything more than prettier GC/PS2/Xbox titles!

    While the other reviewers review in a way that suits them best, I personally like to go the purest route. If I can play it on the original machine I will and if I can't I use the original controller with an emulator. Also unless the game has them (like some PC titles) I won't ever use a save state nor will I ever enter a code to skip levels. If I use a password it'll be one I got myself through playing the game. Cheats are a definite no no unless its those funky ones to do silly stuff or get levels you wouldn't get by playing. I can't promise anything well written but I'll always do an honest and unbiased review that isn't ever based purely on nostalgia.

    Some of the bulk of this particular issue was actually written February 2010. I had a HDD failure and seemingly lost all of my work as well a a couple of reviews sent it to me from other members. Last week I found a little folder and low and behold for whatever reason there was a lot of documents there that I thought I lost! This inspired me to get a move on to bring this feature back.​


    If you have something for the next issue, PM me it and I'll include it.

    Index:
    Mario Pary - N64 - By jgu1994
    Mechwarrior - Super Nintendo - By chrisman01
    Tiny Toon Adventure: Buster's Hidden Treasure - Mega Drive - By Hadrian
    Sabrina The Animated Series: Zapped! - Gameboy Colour - By Hadrian
    Medal of Honour: Allied Assault - PC - By Hadrian
    Super Battletoads - Arcade - By [M]artin
    Maybe p1ng, Guild, TrolleyDave & Benbop, if not write another myself.


    Mario Party


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    Review By jgu1994

    Game: Mario Party Format: Nintendo 64 Genre: Party/Mini Games​
    Publisher: Nintendo Developer HAL Year Released: 1998​


    Lets go back to the year 1998, to the date December 14. What's the significance of this date? It's my birthday of course! Oh, and it was the original release date of Mario Party. So what exactly is Mario Party? Well, it's a video game, where you play a board game. Boring? Of course not. Why? Because of one simple thing, the mini games. Mario Party did something unique by making it so that after every player moves, a minigame is initiated. Minigames are either 2v2, 3v1, free for all, or the occasional 1 player minigame if you happen to land on the minigame space. So what kind of minigames are there? Most are relatively simple requiring no more than the joystick and one or two buttons. But within those games, you'll get the dreaded ones where the only purpose of the game is to kill your hand and break your controller. I'm talking about the minigames that require you to rotate the joystick as fast as possible. Most people will probably start by holding the controller with one hand and using his or her thumb to rotate the stick; but keen players will know that the only way to really rotate it is to hold the controller with one hand, and to use the palm of your other hand to rotate the joystick. And what's the result of this? A numbing pain in your hand that lasts for 10 minutes.​


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    The objective of Mario Party is to have the most amount of stars by the end of the game. You'll compete through numerous minigames to win coins, and with those coins you'll be able to buy stars. However, getting to the star itself is no easy task. There are a variety of different boards in Mario Party. You'll play on challenging ones where there will be road blocks which will either rise or fall every turn to redirect your path in an attempt to prevent you from reaching the stars. Or, you play on simpler ones where the star will only be in one of two places, and bowser occupying the space that the star is not at. Of course, bowser is not someone you want to meet. But with a lucky roll, and the right amount of strategy, you can successfully avoid him while dooming other players at the same time.​


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    There are 3 main ways to play Mario Party. Single player, multiplayer, and minigame mode. Minigame mode is self explanatory where the only objective is to play any minigame you want that you've unlocked. Single player puts you against 3 cpus duking it out to win. Multiplayer mode is the main draw to this game. There is truly a feeling of joy when you manage to beat out your friend in either a minigame or in the final game. To be honest, this game can only be played with other people. Single player can be frustrating and dull when you have no real emotion coming from the cpu. Multiplayer lets you play against your friends where everyone is on even grounds and you won't have stinking cpu's that seem to cheat at every game (case in point, I played a 50 round game with a friend and the final score was 3 and 4 stars for me and my friend respectively, and the cpus set on normal, ended with 7 stars each).​


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    Mario Party is definitely a game that is difficult to describe in words and my review doesn't do it justice by far. The only way to truly experience it would be to play it with friends. Gather 3 friends, get a copy, set the turns to 50, and be prepared to spend the next 3-4 hours screaming in frustration, and yelling in joy.​




    MechWarrior


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    Review By chrisman01


    Game: Mechwarrior Format: Super Nintendo Genre: Big ass Robot Shooter​
    Publisher: Activision Developer Beam Year Released: 1993​


    MechWarrior, or more specifically BattleTech, is a very, VERY old series. The first game, BattleTech, was a tabletop strategy game (much like RISK) released in 1984.In 1985, the first MechWarrior game was released. However, it was also a tabletop game. To avoid confusion between the tabletop games and the video games, the tabeltop versions were renamed "Classic Battletech" in 2007. I found this rather humurous, because the last MechWarrior video game was released in 2001. Took them long enough, didn't it?Anyway, on to the actual game. In 1989, the first MechWarrior game was releaed for DOS. It featured very basic 3D graphics, and very few textures. For a 3D video game in 1989, though, it was extremely advanced for its time. Check out some gameplay of the DOS version:



    Amazing how far PC games have come, eh?

    However, this is about the SNES version. In 1993, MechWarrior was ported/remade for the SNES. As far as I can tell, it's the same game, but instead of untextured 3D objects, mechs have been replaced with detailed sprites. The enviroments have also been textured, but it's just a flat plain with water textures, and 2D buildings on the ground that you can walk over as if they weren't there. This video here is an excellent example, and it also shows the intro and beginning of the campaign:



    As you can see, there is a HUGE difference between the original 1989 DOS version and the 1993 SNES version. However, the gameplay mechanics and everything have remained the same. You can still customize your mechs, actual combat remains unchanged, and the story is the same. The story follows a mechwarrior by the name of Gideon Braver Vandenburg. His family has been murdered and the chalice that proves he is heir to the throne of his planet, Ander's Moon, has been stolen. Without the chalice he is exiled. Gideon must develop a force of mechwarriors and battlemechs, find those who committed the acts against his family, and take his revenge within five years or all is lost.

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    The story in-game seems rather vague and hard to follow. In fact, you can ignore the story and know exactly what to do in the campaign. Talk to the guy in the diner. Get a mission. Customize your mech. GO BLOW STUFF UP. And that's one thing that sets this and all the other early MechWarrior games apart from other FPSs. You can't just put your crosshairs over the enemy and hold down the trigger.

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    You can aim for differen parts of the enemy (arms, legs, engine, cockpit, or torso) and destroy them individually, thus rendering the enemy mech useless, so it can't fight back of defend itself. The cockpit is an instant kill, but it's tiny and hard to hit. The torso, if fired at long enough, can be a kill, but it takes too long, and the entire time the enemy will be shooting back at you. So, shoot off the arms and it can't attack. Shoot off the leg(s), and it can't turn or move, making it a sitting duck.For an SNES game, I found this game very fun and original. I give it an 8.5 out of 10!






    Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure

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    Review By Hadrian

    Game: Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure Format: Mega Drive/Genesis Genre: Platform
    Publisher: Konami Developer Konami Year Released: 1993

    A long long time ago, cartoon producers ran out of ideas for kids cartoons and started to revisit what they already created and decided to make kid versions of them. Some of them really sucked like Tom & Jerry Kids, others were quite decent like A Pup Named Scooby Doo and then one was pretty damn good like Tiny Toons and that show became pretty big. Of course being a big cartoon show, it got various video game adaptations...some of which were actually really good especially the ones by Konami, and it's best game to date was Buster's Hidden Treasure.

    Being 90's Konami the staff involved with this title have made many notable games such as Konami's 90's Ninja Turtle titles, Sunset Riders, Metal Gear, International Superstar Soccer, Mystical Ninja, Snatcher as well as many others classic titles that they may not have been credited on. Some of the staff also went on to work for Treasure who also made the farily snazzy GBA title Buster's Bad Dream...but forget about that lets talk about the game.

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    This is the first time I'e actually played this, I'm going into this knowing that it's well thought of but not knowing if it's as good as they say or overrated.​
    The story goes like this: Buster hears that there is some secret treasure hidden down at Acme Acres, problem is that the evil dastardly foe Montana Max is also after it (you know because having millions already isn't clearly enough) so off Buster goes on an adventure to get to the treasure before the speccy four eyed douchbag does.

    Buster's Hidden Treasure is pretty much what you'd expect of a plattformer. Its very bright and colourful, it doesn't exactly reinvent anything and gameplay wise its kinda Mario meets Sonic the Hedgehog...but this is all good, not every game needs to reinvent the genre, it just needs to be pretty damn good to stand out from the many others vying for attention. BHT does this by simply have fantastic level design that never ones feels boring or feel like a chore to get through. Like with Mario it starts off with a game hub, where you walk up to choose your level. Each level is just the basic "get to the end" goal but what is nice is that there are some hidden exits and alternatives paths that reveal even more levels than you can normally get to. These levels are also nicely made. After 5 or so levels you'll get to a boss. Now the bosses (with exception to the main boss at the end) are Buster's Tiny Toon friends who have got this electronic device on them causing them to be controlled by Dr Splicer. To get past these you need to avoid what your friends do in their brainwashed state and jump onto the head of Dr Splicer around 5 times (I think), once you've done that, your friend is free from Splicer's control.

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    Like most platformers, Buster battles his enemies by jumping on them and he can also can do wall jumps to get to hard to reach areas...not many games back then let you do that so it's nice to find an earlier example. Buster can run as fast as Sonic but if you run into a wall he'll slam straight into it and fall over for a second or so. As well as walls, there is also the odd tin can or a rake to stop you in your tracks right away. As well as that you collect carrots and for every 100 carrots you get a special attack which calls upon a friend of Buster's to wipe out the enemies on the screen but I never really felt the need to ever use it.

    Difficulty is nice and balanced, it starts of nice and easy so you can figure out the game and there is a nice curve to when it becomes more diffucult. There are some very cunnigly placed enemies to make the game a bit of a bugger to get through at times. YOu go to jump on a meanie and a frigging owl gets in your way. These parts never feel cheap however there are some parts that are cheap! For example, you've got nowhere else to go other than down...oh shit you've landed on some spikes that you couldn't possibly see until the last moment...moments like them do require some trial and error but they're not that often so it's not too bad. You get enough energy and lives and the energy power ups aren't too many nor too few. There is no save feature on the game but there is a password feature...which is quite cumbersome and requires 16 letters

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    Graphically it does the job well representing the series on the 16 Bit Sega console. Everyone looks pretty much how they are supposed to, the sprites are animated very well and the game is mainly glitche free. The sound effects are the standard 16 bit platformer fair but the soundtrack itself is extremely well made and very catchy. It was composed by Tsuyoshi Sekito who also did Chrono Trigger, various Kingdom Hearts games and Metal Gear 2 as well as Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Some of the tunes you'll recognise from the series and most will be trapped in your skull for a very long time.

    The game may take some people some sittings to go through but season gamers won't have too much trouble, it's one of those games that once you've started playing you don't want to put it down! Personally I felt the length was just perfect what with the levels varied enough to keep the game interesting and it's one of those you'd want to play over and over. Overall this is one of the best Mega Drive platformers going and personally I feel that it still stands well today. Fans of the series will love it and even those who have never heard of it but love a good 2D platformer will also enjoy the hell out of it. 9 out of 10


    Sabrina - The Animated Series: Zapped!

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    Review By Hadrian

    Game: Sabrina the Animated Series – Zapped! Format: Gameboy Colour Genre: Platform
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster (US) / Havas Interactive (EU) Developer WayForward Technologies Year Released: 2000

    Normally nowadays WayForward announce a game and some people go "ooh I'm looking forward to this". Of course this wasn't always the way, they actually started of making pretty mediocre to poor titles. However now they make mediocre to pretty damn awesome titles. You know the ones that'll be good because they are the ones WF actually announce themselves and talk about,did anyone know that they made last years Happy Feet II game? Maybe not because it was just a "work for hire" job and they probably gave it to the lad who answers emails.

    This was WayForwards first notable title. Obviously being based on the Sabrina spin off cartoon, people pretty much ignored it. However the reviews for this game were positive with Nintendo Power giving it a nice 7.6/10 and IGN giving it a great 8/10.

    The story goes like this. Sabrina casts this magic spell and like a noob, accidentally turns the kids of her town into animals. So Sabrina, with help of her smart ass cat, Salem, must go back through the towns four areas of a school, a shopping centre, a zoo and also the beach to turn these animals back into kids...if they're baby Goats then erm kids into kids. :glare: What comes next is a neat little platformer where you jump on animals heads to stun them and then you zap them with a spell to turn them back into kids. Once you have got all the kids back, the door to the next level opens and you progress further.

    It all starts very easy, in fact the first few levels will take no longer than a few minutes to complete but the level design is very pleasant and it controls as well as you want it to. As well as playing as Sabrina, you also can switch to Salem who is used to get into areas that Sabrina can't get to to help her progress through the level. Along the way there are some power-ups. including a butt stomp to crack vulnerable floors & a little bubble that helps her float up to hard to reach areas as well as quadruple jump and a transporting power up.

    Graphically, you can easily recognise this as a WF title. It's very bright, vibrant and well animated as you would expect from most of their titles. Sound wise its pretty standard, nothing really stands out but nothing overly annoying.

    There's nothing original about it, there are no gimmicks but what it is is a surprisingly good platformer based on a cartoon spin off aimed at girls. It'll take no time to finish but its enjoyable all the way through. The game did well enough to earn a sequel which was Sabrina the Animated Series - Spooked!, it was more of the same only this time you had to collect a certain amount of diamonds to exit a level and also the worlds were more akin to mascot platformers but still a nice little distraction. I do admit that Zapped wasn't as good as I remembered it to be but it's still a solid title that you may wanna just kill a little time with. 7 out of 10



    Turrican 2: The Final Fight


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    Review By Hadrian




    Game: Turrican II: The Final Fight Format: Amiga Genre: Platform/Shoot-em-up
    Publisher: Rainbow Arts Developer Factor 5 Year Released: 1991

    The Turrican series, one of my all time favourite action/shooters. There isn't a single bad entry in the five official games (Mega Turrican & Turrican III are the same game). The games were combinations of some of the best shooters going and had fantastic atmosphere and a great sci-fi tone that we just don't get. Ultimately it was a game of its time, if it was done now it'll probably look way to clean and shiny and would probably have some kind of pet mini robot dog to assist you.

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    It's hard to say which one is techinically best in the series, they all have their merrits and have enough additonal elements for them to stand on their own but I guess for nostalgia purposes I prefer Turrican II.

    Going in the game I was expecting it to be not as good as I originally thought it was and with the first couple of levels, I was correct but then I started noticing things that I completley forgot about. The bleakness of the levels, the wind elements that helped and prevented you from getting to the end of the level and also how frantic it can be at times. I completlely forgot how it mixed up various shooters and also how much a bitch was the side scrolling R-Type levels were!


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    Its 3025, there has been many many years of peace and everyone has been getting along with each other. Then some jerk Emperor called The Machine comes in, attacks the United Planets Ship with mean badass technology the likes the United Planets haven't come across before and they end up getting beaten to crap and peace is shattered. This really pisses of one of the Avalon 1 soldiers, a Bren Mcguire and he sets off to find this dickhead to defeat him.

    Level design is really well made, platforms are seemingly placed not at random but in places that feel just right for the game. The five worlds are different to one another and the overall design of the parrelax backgrounds, well animated sprites and nicely textured platforms and caverns fits a bleak late 70s/early 80s sci-fi setting. Also by the end you'll notice that they have ripped off the design of Aliens! But fuck it right?

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    Gameplay it's a big improvement over the first, while the run and gun elements are still there and the influence of the classic 1987 game Psycho-Nics Oscar is still shining through, there is more emphasis on platforming than before. In the first game you ran, jumped and shot your way to the end, in this game there is more exploring to do. While not as deep as exploring as Metroid, there is more to the game than just getting to the end. You also have more range in weaponry than before and many people who play this will have their own weapon of choice...and then bitch about losing it when they collect another by mistake. Taking inspiration from regular platformers there are secret rooms and hidden blocks that can help get you power ups. For the home computer owner, this was our Metroid and up until Super Metroid it was better. Once you've got to the end of each world you'll be faced against one big ass boss, like with most shooters all you have to do is find the sweet vulnerable spot and you'll be able to defeat the big bugger...well if you can dodge it and avoid the bullets.

    The sounds are a delight. The sound effects have some cool blasty explosions noises and the odd vocal sample to add a little eariness to the game. However its the music in the game that is something special. The tunes aren't repetitive and really add to the overal theme of the 70s/80s the game has, just typing Turrican 2 in the Youtube search box will come up with many many videos that just showcase the excellent music that this game, and series has offered. I'll be honest, I do prefer the C64 version soley because of the sound, while its crisper on the Amiga I'm just a sucker for C64 SID tunes!

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    Lifespan depends on the gameplay, its very easy to get into and hard to put down but some gamer may be put off by the fact that once you die...you're dead and you have to start all over again, but those babies can always use save states. As I said, I was expecting to not enjoy this as much as I did before but I ended up likeing it even more! While it is a game of its time, it is different to many console games of similar type and its very typical of the C64/AMiga etc platforming shooter but because of those reasons it still stands out well today and I recommend any fan of shooters, especially those who may want a more linear Metroid to give it a go. There was a port of this to the Mega Drive however it was basically a rebranded as Universal Soldier and reskinned...the devs screwed it over and took some of the best bits out of it but just ignore that version and grab this for either C64 or Amiga. There is a PC version but its a bit too clean for my liking. 8.5 out of 10

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    Super Battletoads


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    Review by [M]artin

    Game: Battletoads (AKA Super Battletoads) Format: Arcade Genre: Beat ‘em up
    Publisher: Electronic Arts Developer: Rare Year: 1994

    Take a moment and forget everything you know about the RARE of today. Yeah, you know… that RARE. You see, the RARE of today is focused on bringing family friendly titles into your home, knocking your whole family off the couch onto their fat asses, and then whipping said asses into shape. The RARE of the 90’s & early 2000’s, however, was far more concerned with teaching the youth how to curse in new, innovatively disgusting ways with the aid of adorable animals. One of RARE’s earliest successes can be traced back to their Battletoads series, which debuted in 1991.

    A humorous, over-the-top beat ‘em up, Battletoads sprung forth as a hit across the home console market. Four years later, the developers at RARE decided to retool the game and create a new Battletoads experience for the arcades:

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    Electronic Arts was also a pretty alright guy back then

    Battletoads adheres to a very deep and complex control scheme that many Beat ‘em ups of the era displayed, that is, you apply pressure to button A to punch, but you may also finger button B to jump. If you’ve mastered the controls to Angry Birds or Farmville in recent months, then just go ahead and dub yourself Knight of Ye Olde Battletoad Controls. You are given a choice of three unique and colorfully named warrior amphibians:

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    I would have preferred frogs that were named after STD’s. Herp, Yeast, and Blue Waffle sound good.

    Each toad has different attack attributes, damage levels, and speed. Zitz, for instance, is quite nimble and his attacks can reach a wider group of enemies at one time, while Pimple is slower, bulkier, but deals devastating damage when his hits connect up close. The game also offers a three-player simultaneous co-op experience, which is quite fun, and rivals the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Beat ‘em ups of the day. From the moment you choose a toad, you are shown a short boss cutscene and instantly thrown into space.

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    Your only real mission is to beat anything with a tail into a blood smoothie

    Judging from the screenshot above, you may have noticed something that the console versions of Battletoads did not have… yes, RED BLOOD CELLS. But just how many pixelated pints of blood are going to be thrown at you over the course of this space escapade? Surely it’s for shock value? Well, the game was programmed so that every time you land a successful hit on an enemy, blood will shoot in every direction. The game also features several bloody ways in which you can finish your standard enemies, including decapitations, curb-stomping, and beating them so hard they explode into goo & skeletal structure. Although the violence the gore seems hilariously over-the-top and inserted at every possible chance throughout the game, it actually makes the Battletoads seem more at home throughout their journey and matches their attitude seamlessly. It almost makes you stop and wonder why Battletoads wasn’t set to this level of maturity in the first place.

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    Pictured: Zitz finishes off a rat dressed in SWAT gear, by drilling directly through his face and into the snow-covered ground on the other side

    The violence-factor quickly wears off, however, as this is a Beat ‘em up. I quickly began to feel as if I was simply going through the motions by the time I was well into the second level. The game never really offers anything intriguing or worth throwing away quarters over in forms of a narrative or interesting characters. On one hand I can understand: this is an arcade game and its main goal is to suck the shit out of your piggybank every week. On the other hand, in a world that is so outlandish, with presentation that is so graphic and mature, injecting a bit of a storyline would have been a nice, effortless touch. The furthest the game goes to deliver any kind of narrative is expressed through a series of pre-level screens, which basically feature the level’s boss calling you out and talking smack.

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    The dialogue actually isn’t that bad if you forget that this snake looks exactly like a penis

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    Some pretty nice Battleships you’ve got there

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    I stopped after reading the first three words and did a double-take… “Wait, WHAT DID HE JUST SAY?!”

    Although the game never seems to be a chore to control, the gameplay tends to get stale rather quickly. Small bits of humor are injected throughout the game and you progress through different worlds, but in the end, you’re simply following the formula of beating a set amount of enemies and progressing, left to

    right, over and over and over and over again. The game switches things up a smidge by including a short vertical jetpack level and a Contra-like shooting level near the very end of the game, but nothing the break the monotony completely. If anything, I found myself looking toward fighting each level’s boss the most. The bosses were the only real times in which I felt the mold being broken, in forms of game mechanics and creativity.

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    This is pretty much what Star Wars will look like in 10 years, after Lucas has his way with it again

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    Alright, come on guys. There’s ‘blood-blood’ and then there’s ‘Heinz-Ketchup-blood’

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    No, you’re not seeing things. Space is apparently a very chilly place for a sex-infused hologram to be.

    The game is presented beautifully; each world displaying a rich palette of colors and activity in the background. Although many characters lack depth, they are designed in such a cartoonish, brutal way that you can’t help but laugh at some of them. Moving onto a new world is a thrill. I knew that I would be encountering the same drone enemies, but at least I would be traversing a habitat that was extremely different than the last. The game will kick you from space, down onto a snowy, winter-plagued planet, and then shove you even deeper into a dark, damp cavern within the course of a few minutes. The raster graphics of the arcade cabinet are used in beautiful ways throughout the course of the game.

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    The attention to detail in terms of nut-punching is particularly noteworthy

    The soundtrack is wonderfully composed, very reminiscent of the “rad” 90’s trends. The stage loops are very upbeat, providing a high-pitched guitar with many riffs to keep you pushing on. Enemy rats cry out as you pulverize them with oversized steel boxes and let out extended screams as you kick them off-screen. Bigger enemies just sound more menacing and as if they should be approached with caution; they express deeper voices, more demonic in tone, and let out blood curdling screeches before they attack. The game sounds great; fits the theme and style of the ‘Toads. Nothing too memorable here but the sound is instantly identifiable with the Battletoads.

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    Complete with sound effects of defecation that would bring Beethoven to tears

    To summarize, the arcade experience of Battletoads is definitely a fun one, just don’t expect to be wowed every step of the way. Once you’ve played the first fifteen minutes, you’ve essentially mastered what you’ll be playing the entire rest of the game. It does help that the entirety of the game isn’t long at all; you can expect to beat the game in a little over an hour to two hours alone, even faster if you’re playing with friends. If you decide to embark on the game alone, however, you will be met with certain points in the game that were just designed to munch a hole in your pocket, seemingly impossible to beat without the assistance of those two other friends.

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    The very definition of “DP”

    All shortcomings and stale mechanics aside, Battletoads is still an amazing Beat ‘em up with a healthy dose of gore and potty-humor that isn’t as prevalent in the genre, even today. If you have a few hours and a few quarters to burn, give it a try. You’ll definitely walk away with a smile on your face.

    GAMEPLAY: 6/10
    GRAPHICS: 8/10
    SOUND: 8/10
    OVERALL: 7/10




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    Game: Night Trap Format: Sega CD Genre: Real time survival "horror"
    Publisher: Sega Developer: Digital Pictures Year: 1992


    Way back in the early 1990's FMV was all the rage and the next big thing in video games. A multitude of CD based systems had just started to appear in gamers living rooms and for the first time gamers could engage in interactive experiences which blurred the line between gaming and film in the comfort of their own homes. Companies like SEGA were all too happy to cater to gamers demands for FMV and CD based systems and in 1991 they released their ill fated Sega CD add on for the Genesis. Unsurprisingly a multitude of FMV heavy games graced the system, one of the most controversial at the time being Night Trap.

    One of the games which the congressional hearings on offensive video game material focused on, alongside other controversial games of the time such as Doom and Mortal Kombat, Night Trap is in part responsible for the ESRB ratings you see on games today. Always fascinated by the controversy surrounding it Night Trap is a game I have always wanted to play and finally I have gotten the opportunity to do so for the purposes of this review. Sadly once you begin playing you will quickly realise that the controversy behind the game is baseless. Despiet the fact that the game came out in 1992, even 20 years ago there would be very little to actually find offensive or disturbing in any way here. Not a single drop of blood or gore can be found throughout the game, while the plot, tension and villains amount to little more than amateurishly ill executed pantomime.
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    The infamous shower death scene which sparked controversy in the US​





    Night Traps plot is pretty standard B-movie fare, a group of college girls are taking part in a sleepover in the Martin family home were all the events of the game take place. Unknown to the girls a previous group of girls who stayed there went missing and it is your job to investigate and protect this group and prevent them from suffering the same fate. You being part of the laughably named SCAT team (Sega Control Attack Team) you have access to eight cameras in different rooms of the house and the ability to set off traps to thwart any would be kidnappers from harming the girls.

    The game starts off with Commander Simms the leader of the SCAT team briefing you with the games backstory. Clutching a Genesis controller as he briefs you you quickly realise that the cinematic's of the game are by no means Oscar quality, being as cheesy and acted out as woodenly as the worst B-movies you could stumble over on a VHS tape from the 80's and 90's. The second thing you quickly realise is how unforgiving the game is, I realised this seconds after Simms finished his briefing to me when he immediately pulled out the wires of Genesis controller and I was met with a game over screen which left me scratching my head and thinking "what the hell just happened?" You see trial and error is the name of the game in Night Trap. It being impossible to complete or even get close to completing on your first playthrough or even your second playthrough it reminds me very much of games like Dragons Lair where an intimate knowledge of all forthcoming events is required to make progress. So what caused me to get a game over screen immediately after Simms briefing? Well when he asked me if I am up for the job I didn't hit the A button quickly enough, even though I was in no way prompted to do so, yeah.
    [yt]y83WCFwfc94[/yt]​



    As the game progresses you find out that the reason girls have gone missing in the Martins home is because the Martin family are Vampires and they have feasted on them. The Martins daughter Sarah being the one who befriends groups of girls and lures them to their home under the guise that they are having a slumber party. However the Martins themselves essentially serve as game bosses with you spending the majority of your time trapping "Augers". Masked with balaclavas and resembling burglars more than they resemble any type of supernatural beings they just creep around the Martins home in a hammy way at first before they begin to focus their attention on the girls.

    The game plays out in real time and the events in the game play out in the same way every time you play it with the game lasting a little less than thirty minutes in total from start to finish. However as I said it is impossible to actually complete the game on your first playthrough and you will more than likely be greeted with a game over screen less than ten minutes into it the first handfull of times you play. So although the game itself is very short the longevity lies in the repetition needed for you to be able to gain the foresight of upcoming events needed in order to complete it. The transition between cameras in real time as you play is pretty seamless and impressive for 1992, almost voyeuristic at times, you really do feel like you are monitoring the goings on in the house through a live camera feed. It's sad that the in game acting couldn't be a little better as the haminess really does spoil the atmosphere and stops you from feeling any sense of tension or from being drawn into the games world. It really is a missed opportunity because if the production was not so cheesy and was more polished Night Trap really could have been something dark and edgy to play.

    What is also a shame is that you can't really pay close attention to many of the cut scenes involving the girls and the Martin family. Less than a minute after the main game begins after Simms briefing Augers begin to swarm into the unoccupied areas of the house and if you fail to trap enough of them you will get a game over screen. So you will find yourself scanning all the empty rooms constantly in the hope of seeing an Auger or two while you completely ignore what the girls and the Martin family are doing and saying. The way you trap an Auger or anyone else is pretty straightforward and doesn't really require any skill, as they make their way around a room a bar at the bottom of the screen will fluctuate and when it become red you tap a button which triggers a trap. So basically the only challenge you have is to make sure that you go to the right camera feed at the right moment before the opportunity to spring a trap is lost, also if you happen to press the spring trap button at any time other than when the bar is red nothing happens which further increases the feeling of shallowness you experience in game. All in all there are are a possible 90+ Augers which you can trap, but thankfully the game is forgiving enough that you only need to trap little over a third of these to see it through to the end.
    [yt]yCPL3DJ72tM[/yt]
    note: not from the Sega CD version​




    As the game goes on the Augers begin attacking the girls and if you fail to save any one of them you get an instant game over. Also at around this point (the 8ish minute mark) the most annoying aspect of the game is also introduced. You see to be able to spring your traps you have to maintain control of the house's security system. As the Martins switch the codes to different colours (red, blue, green etc) you have to keep your code matched to theirs in order to spring traps. Although changing codes is straight forward and only requires a press of a button, I found it pretty difficult to keep track of what the current code actually was. During your briefing with Simms he tells you to keep an eye conversations in the house to know what codes to use, but as I previously said you are far too focused on monitoring the Augers most of the time to pay attention to what the Martins are doing. Further on you also have to trap the Martin family and if you fail to do so once again you lose the game. It is a shame that trapping the members of the Martin family involves the exact same process as trapping a regular Auger with no type of advanced strategy or alternate gameplay to subdue them (not that there is any type of strategy in the game at all).

    Although I didn't play the game through to the end (half a dozen failed attempts are quite enough thank you), Night Trap boasts multiple endings depending on how well you perform in game which is another aspect of it which is quite impressive for the time it was released. And the Sega CD version also contains a hidden extra feature documenting how the game came to be released on the Sega CD, it being originally developed for Hasbro's VHS based NEMO game system in 1987 which was never released. Night Trap was also later ported to the 32X, 3DO and the PC.

    To conclude Night Trap in many ways is an impressive example of early FMV gaming. The fact that it plays in real time and has multiple contextual based endings is amazing for a twenty year old game. If only it was executed a little better it would have been considered a classic. The cheesy acting and horribly pixelated Sega CD FMV could easily be overlooked if it wasn't for the shallow and repetitive nature of the gameplay. It would have been really cool if you could do things like set up your own traps or if you somehow had more control over the actions of the characters, anything that could shake up the game even a little and add variety to different playthroughs and some sort of element of strategy would have improved the game substantially. But as it is all the game really amounts to is a series of Dragon Lair type quick time events. Don't forget this game came out in 1992 a time without such resources as gamefaqs or the internet to rely on. To have any hope to ever complete this game and get the "good" ending you would have to either find a guide in a game magazine or literally sit with a pen and paper as you play in order to note down the time and location of the in game events. And even if you did that you would still have to play through it multiple times. Night Trap is a curious beast of a game all in all, it's terrible in a good way and at the same time terrible in a bad way, but sadly it is never just good in a good way which is why many regard it as one of the worst games ever made. I wouldn't go as far as to class it as that, as a technical achievement you have to give it credit but the mark of any semi decent game is the desire to see it through to the end, and sadly Night Trap never stirred that desire in me.

    Thanks to everyone who submitted a review, this feature relies on you.
     
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  2. BORTZ

    Global Moderator BORTZ wtf, nintendo

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    hey wow this is really well done. Do you need writers for the a maybe next release?
     
  3. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Thanks, it may not look it but I did put a lot of effort into it. Major props to the others who did more in depth reviews.

    So far I have three reviews done by myself and some maybes so I welcome whatever people have to send. I like to see more discussion on stuff like this and more original content on the forum. I love to see people write stuff up, share their reviews and so on. Doesn't have to be the most well written as long as it's understandable I'll take it. That's not me being desperate, that's me wanting to encourage people who want to review something old who may not think people would want to read it.

    So erm yes please, you were on my list of "to beg from" anyway.

    By the way if you could review this, I'd love you forever:


    The next issue should be either "out there between 2-4 weeks", I aim for at least one a month. It depends on if I have some submissions otherwise it's just me doing all the reviews. Also I hope to have a better cleaner format, this looked great when I tested it but when it got posted here I came up like this! If I edit it it looks worse!

    EDIT: Sorry about the main post being down, I noticed a major error in the info for Mechwarrior and when I went to "Save changes" it then wouldn't let me telling me an image extension isn't allowed here...no idea why but I had a back up and all is well now.
     
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  4. BORTZ

    Global Moderator BORTZ wtf, nintendo

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    Huh ive got a few games id like to review. Some that ive beaten about 10 times lol
    Nuts i dont have Amiga. Ill look around for emulators and a Rom or whatever an Amiga uses lol
     
  5. Guild McCommunist

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Battletoads: The only game where the good guys croak.

    Sorry I didn't get mine in on time, I'll be honest and say I was playing other games than my proposed submission. If you're doing another one though then I'll be glad to contribute.
     
  6. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Only if its a glowing review of a Nintendo game to confuse the stupid people who think you hate Nintendo
     
  7. Guild McCommunist

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    I'd do the original Star Fox, Perfect Dark, or Sin of Punishment if that helps.
     
  8. Aeter

    Member Aeter A walking contradiction

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    Lol, a numbing pain for 10 minutes, playing Mario Party? No way, more like burning blister that lasts for weeks, like this:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    That's why this was made for Mario Party and not cycling:
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Guild McCommunist

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    People always say Nintendo only recently created or got into the fitness video game business but I've shed my fair share of calories button mashing on Mario Party.

    I crack a fucking sweat playing them.
     
  10. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    All Mario Party games were shit.
    Proof that these shit casual Nintendo games aren't new.
    Hell they did them with the NES with Tennis and Golf.
     
  11. DaggerV

    Member DaggerV Archmagi of the Emerald Moon

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    Heh, should do one of these for Exile 2 on the ol' window machine.
     
  12. xist

    Member xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    Turrican 2 on the Amiga is one of my fondest gaming memories. However, it never ceases to amaze me that there wasn't some form of lawsuit against the egg hatching face huggers which were ripped straight out of Alien.

    It was also a tad easy...but very fun nonetheless!
     
  13. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    I know right! I mean Nintendo got a lawsuit against them from Universal because they thought Donkey Kong ripped off King Kong (of course Nintendo won...and then counter sued and won) so I'm amazed 20th Century Fox of all companies didn't try to sue the publishers of this or at least make them to get the game off the shelves.
     
  14. Eerpow

    Member Eerpow *swoosh*

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    Great feature, hopefully we have enough members interested to keep it alive.
    I'm thinking about doing a Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon 2 (N64) review, but I'm afraid of being too biased about it :(
    I love that game and it's a shame not many have heard about it, let alone played it. I sold my original copy some time ago and it's pretty rare game to own.
    I've got a N64 to PC adapter and I've played it on an emulator before so I know that the game runs glitch free. The only difference would be the resolution which isn't really an issue since it could easily be changed when taking screen shots.
    I'll think about it.

    Also, who could have guessed Sabrina for the GBC was a decent game?
    I was going to try it out when I saw you mention it in another thread, haven't done so yet but will do now :P.
     
  15. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Please go ahead. I'd like people to do their own thing and the whole point of the feature is to turn people onto games they may have not played...plus it is a bitching game.
     
  16. DaggerV

    Member DaggerV Archmagi of the Emerald Moon

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    I have one question, does GBATemp have their own host where you can host picture that'll remain linked to GBATemp? I don't want to use some site I don't use often and have the image go missing due to inactivity.
     
  17. Aeter

    Member Aeter A walking contradiction

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    Honestly, I think Mario Party and Mario Tennis were/are great games for the N64.
    But I did recently play Mario Party 9 on a Wii and I must say it was just horrible compared to the first game, which was fun, apart from the hand blister mini games.
    I haven't played any Mario Party game in between the first and the ninth, but I can honestly say the first one was awesome.
     
  18. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Yeah, it's what I use. Looking at the older threads it's a bit annoying to see most of the pics gone.

    Just go here and you can upload the pics you need to upload: http://gbatemp.net/gallery/
     
  19. DaggerV

    Member DaggerV Archmagi of the Emerald Moon

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    Thanks, once I'm done with MTG for month I'll play through a game.
     
  20. Hadrian
    OP

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Mario Tennis was indeed (much preferred the GBC/GBA ones, shame the 3DS game followed the same thing as the Cube game), though not sure why you bought that game up at all.
     

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