Review – Devil May Cry

Now that I look back, a lot of action games from the N64/Playstation era were trash. Most involved rudimentary combos, bad controls, and unnecessary platforming elements. They weren’t good at taking advantage of 3d, and looked ugly as sin to boot. You were better off finding a copy of Final Fight or Contra if you wanted a polished action experience.

Even today, it isn’t hard to see why those classic 2d action games were, and still are, so damn good. They realized the importance of simple, precise control that gave the player all the tools they needed to succeed against the onslaught of enemies. Victory required the player to keep a cool head among the chaos, and to find enemies’ weaknesses by recognizing patterns. Easy to learn, difficult to master, the satisfaction of completing a good action game was often unrivaled. →  Ridge Reader V

Review – Kingdom Hearts

I’m not sure why Jay asked me to review Kingdom Hearts. The game is fairly old by now, and just about everyone who wanted to play it already has. Then there’s the fact that the sequel has been out for months. Looks like I’m a little late to the party, but I still intend to crash it.

Kingdom Hearts is a perfectly mediocre game. At its best it was a lighthearted diversion, one that I could play while enjoying my then-girlfriend’s company while not having to think too hard about it. At its worst it was a mess of poorly implemented design choices based on typical Square drudgery and messy, stolen scraps from the Book of Miyamoto. If I had any care for in game stories, I probably wouldn’t have finished, as the game takes Disney characters and plots and compresses them into dull, mediocre shells of their former selves that are more offensive than enjoyable. →  Fire Post Wrestling Returns

Street Fighter Alpha 3

Street Fighter Alpha 3 is considered by the majority to be the pinnacle of the series, and is very often called the best Street Fighter game in existence. It certainly is the most popular, having been ported to four consoles and two handhelds since the days of the Saturn, and is usually the recipient of the highest scores among Capcom fighters.

My own obsessive collecting of 2d fighters over the last five years can be directly attributed to the day a good friend of mine brought it over for an afternoon. It was the first time I had sat down with a 2d fighter since the old days when I rented Super Street Fighter 2 on the SNES once a month. Things had certainly changed since then. The super combos, the beautiful sprites, the multitude of backgrounds… Alpha 3 showed me that the genre still had a lot to offer. →  This better not be as bad as everything else here.

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Much like you can tell that Alpha 1 was a rush job, so too can you see that Alpha 2 is the game that Capcom intended to make all along. The select screen is eerily similar, while the segues and sounds between fights are identical. The same core cast remains, while the few additions to the roster (which is now 18 strong) are careful and deliberate (spunky little Sakura makes her debut here, while classic characters Dhalsim and Zangief make a return). Tweaks and improvements make the combat deeper, faster and less obtuse. Capcom has even gone so far as to declare that the story of Alpha 2 replaces the one in Alpha as official canon in the SF universe.

SFA 2 makes its predecessor just about obsolete, and represents one side of the Alpha coin (the other side being A3 of course). →  We have nothing to lose but our games.

Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior’s Dreams

The first truly new Street Fighter post-SF2, Alpha 1 had quite a legacy to live up to. I remember the commercials for the game, which made it look a hundred times more intense than SF2 with its dazzling array of special effects and super combos. It even had Guy from Final Fight! Unfortunately, the actual product was a huge disappointment for many die hard fans, as it was rushed to release and is obviously an unfinished game. Yet I’ve also seen players reminisce about Alpha’s simple, straightforward gameplay.

So which side is right? I’ll have to agree with the naysayers. Alpha 1 is just too archaic and unpolished to be of much worth these days, especially considering how vastly improved its sequels are. Yet there is one redeeming quality that has, ironically, made me play it more than any other game in the Anthology. →  Welcome to read zone!

Review – Street Fighter Alpha Anthology

Yeah, the menus are that simple.

The last few years have been tough for Street Fighter fans. As 2d gaming continues to wane, Capcom is far too wary to release anything new, for fear that even something as big as Street Fighter 4 would not sell enough to warrant the cost of development. Instead, they’ve decided to take the conservative route with their 2d offerings, either by cobbling together something quick and dirty like Capcom Fighting Jam, or by releasing compilations of their older stuff. Many people frown at the concept, since Capcom rarely give fans what they want (even though they’re the target audience) and because the games exist solely for the company to milk its prize franchises as much as possible

Of course this is all true, but I don’t really mind the idea of compilations. →  Read like G did.

Review – Killer 7

There was once a silly, fluffy intro here, until I realized it wasn’t necessary for Killer 7. No matter what pages of forum analyses may claim, this is a simple game, both gameplay wise and story wise. Yes it is weird as hell and artsy in structure. And no, I don’t claim to “get” everything about it, but if you ask me there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand what this game is all about. Here’s a hint; all you need to do is stop thinking so damn much.

First things first; Killer 7 is not an action game. It is not a rail shooter. And most importantly, it is not survival horror. I’ve heard all of these names applied, and none of them make sense. Why is it action? →  These are the games I know, I know. These are the games I know.

Chords and Kawaii: The State of the Music Genre – Part 2

While the rest of the kids played DDR in gym, joey here was practicing chords and meeting groupies.

And now, I present The State of the Music Genre

1. Passing the Torch

Let’s take a quick look at what makes a game like Guitar Hero click. Rather than dancing on a pad, you imitate playing a guitar by pounding down on different buttons and keys on a plastic replica of a Gibson SG. There are chords, sustained notes, and a whammy bar for adding your own bit of personal flair. In order for the song to actually play, the player must correctly perform the notes, or else face failure. Particularly good play can net you Star Power, a technique that allows you to increase your score. As for future installments, it looks as if we will see music, more styles, and possibly even more instruments that will all be able to join together for a virtual jam session. →  Read or Alive 2: Hardcore

Chords and Kawaii: The State of the Music Genre – Part 1

I am going to describe two scenarios to you. For the first, imagine yourself walking along with me, as we enter my last DDR Rave I mentioned in yesterday’s introduction. We’re about to step into a college reading room, essentially a student lounge of sorts with comfy chairs and a large television. Normally the room is well lit and welcoming; you can go here to study and have some coffee.

How to make anything much lamer: add Mario.

Tonight, however, the space is pitch black. Before you even see it, you can here loud, pumping music of a strange sort. Techno? Maybe, but there’s something else to it. As you walk in, you look at the TV and are immediately hit with a barrage of lights, colors and a strange mix of …stuff. →  Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 5: Golden Post

Chords and Kawaii: The State of the Music Genre – Introduction

There was a point in my life, not that long ago, when I played Dance Dance Revolution. Of course, that could mean a lot of things. For all you know my DDR career could have been nothing more than me jumping onto a pad one night at an upperclassmen’s place after having a couple of beers and nothing to lose.

The truth is, that was only my first time playing. And you know what? It was quite a bit of fun. After that, and for about six months, not a week went by in which I didn’t get my dance on. But not with upperclassmen this time, but rather with hardcore DDR fans. They weren’t the best, but they ate up the entire series with gusto.

It has been six months since I stopped playing the game, having only once stepped on a pad in that time. →  Secread of Evermore

Review – Capcom Fighting Evolution

It looks as if Capcom Fighting Evolution may be the last 2D fighter from Capcom that isn’t some sort of compilation. This is frustrating for two reasons. Firstly, something tells me they could revive the genre at least a little bit if they actually released a beautiful and balanced Street Fighter 4. Second, Fighting Evolution is not exactly the best way to end a legacy. The potential for this game is staggering, but the final product feels rushed and cheap.

The premise of CFE is simple; take a bunch of characters from different Capcom games and have them square off. The acute reader will no doubt point out that this sounds a lot like the premise behind Capcom’s plethora of “Versus” titles, though in fact they are somewhat different. The “Versus” games are mostly focused on representing the “best of the best” from the company, and then putting them into a streamlined combat engine. →  This post are sick.

What is a hardcore gamer?

Holy crap the Serious Games Summit looks like fun!

So E3 has come and gone. I missed out on most of the news and hoopla, in favor of catching up after the dust settled. I did, however, read more than a few articles that popped up in the month prior to E3, specifically those that dealt with the marketing aspect of the games industry. I’ve seen articles discussing mobile games, non-roleplaying MMO’s, and a mysterious new thing called “Serious games.”

Most of this meant very little to me in the long run, but one debate that has been brought up as of late has piqued my interest: “Who is a hardcore gamer, how do and why should we cater to them?” This has to be one of the worst questions they could possibly ask, and even worse, they can’t even get the answer right. →  Romance of the Three Articles IV: Post of Fire

Oblivion, breasts, the ESRB and you

Another video game character with average proportions.

 

As I write this article, I am playing a few bouts of King of Fighters ’99. Oh how simple it was back then. Just a collection of sprites, no nude codes or hacking or anything profane, aside from the odd Mai animation.

These days things are a bit different. We have PC’s for modding, and a larger fanbase of gamers and developers who don’t know when to quit. In case you’re wondering, I am referring to the changing of Oblivion’s rating from Teen to Mature due to the discovery of topless female models (and also due to more violence and gore than previously thought, but I call BS on that). If you are to read all of the opinions and news posts about this, then all of the following are true:

– The “mod” uses data that Bethesda already put in the game. →  Eh, I've got nothing better to do.

Review – Ninja Gaiden

I wanted to like Ninja Gaiden. I really did. Despite my disinterest in Namco’s Team Ninja and their “style over substance” approach to game design, I always hoped that this new Ninja Gaiden would live up to the high standards set by the 2d originals. It turns out that the final product is much like I expected. Team Ninja has a history of being able to do one thing incredibly well, be it the graphics of Dead or Alive or the … models in Extreme Beach Volleyball. Meanwhile pretty much everything else in the game ends up being mediocre at best.

The good news is that Ninja Gaiden’s combat happens to be the one thing that is done right. The bad news is that once again everything else is rather crummy.

 →  Snap! Crackle! Read!

A falling Star(craft)

So it seems that Starcraft: Ghost, has been put on “indefinite hold” (meaning “canceled”) after four years in development. An interesting turn of events to be sure, but what is even more intriguing is the community’s reaction, or should I say non-reaction to the news. I expected message boards to light up with threads and comments, but instead it seems that very few gamers are troubled by the loss. I gave it some thought, and I came to a few conclusions that might explain why no one cares (or has ever cared) about Ghost.

1 – *Blizzard Fans are like Enix fans*

And by saying this I mean no insult. It is simply that Blizzard’s fan community is much like Enix’s in Japan; they are used to certain kinds of games with certain kinds of features from their favorite developer, and anything outside of that realm may not be greeted kindly. →  WELCOMETOTHENEXTARTICLE

Best Game Ever – Dragon Quest

Developed by Enix

Published by Nintendo for the NES

Released 1989

What more can be said about the original Dragon Quest? As the story goes, it was Enix’s attempt to bring American style Role Playing Games like Wizardry and Ultima to Japanese consoles (a game called The Black Onyx introduced the genre to Japanese PC’s a year earlier). This attempt gave birth to a cultural phenomenon, as well as the most popular franchise in Japanese gaming.

A sight so beautiful it almost hurts.

Yet while most know about the Dragon Quest series in general, not many people ever discuss the original game. It may get a few paragraphs in “history of RPGs” or “NES classics” articles, but it is often overlooked by its biggest competitor of the time: Final Fantasy 1. →  Can you read me now?