ActRaiser Review

ActRaiser Box Cover

– I changed the battery on this board, it wasn’t saving anymore. Changing the battery was terrifying, I was convinced the battery was going to explode if the solder got too hot.
– The ‘b’ button is to confirm selection, and ‘y’ is to cancel. I guess that makes sense, the rightmost button is used to confirm, left to cancel, but why not ‘a’ to confirm, ‘b’ (“back”) to cancel?
– You’re playing a god and some evil guy has sealed your powers.
– In order to restore your powers, you have to play through a platforming level and beat a boss.
– Once you beat the boss, you go into a sim mode and build a town. Your townspeople ask you to do stuff like burn bushes so they can build houses. They need a god’s help to burn bushes to build houses.
– Flying around the overworld makes great use of Mode 7

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Super Castlevania IV Review

Super Castlevania IV Box Cover

– The controls don’t always feel tight.
– The jumping physics seem odd, even in the SNES era. Can change directions but still feels stiff.
– No battery, game uses a password system. 4×4 grid, composed of holy water, axes, hearts and empty spaces. I’m going to store the codes as I go, here’s one:

w e e e
a w e h
e w e a
e h e e

[a = axe, e = empty, h = heart, w = holy water]

– The music is fantastic and easily the best part of the game.
– Boss can sometimes be super easy, you can kill them so fast you don’t even see all of their moves.
– There is frequent slowdown even when a lot isn’t happening on screen.
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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Review

Having not played a Pac-Man game since the original arcade version of the game, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. I’d only heard good things about Pac-Man Championship Edition though, so I decided to give the game a shot. What I found was that Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is, though highly modified from the original Pac-Man game play in many ways, still familiar in so many aspects. More so, the game is much more fun and additicting, with a ton of game play and customization options.

The game play mechanics are different in a number of ways. First, you don’t just play until you die, you either choose a 5 or 10 minute time limit. Ghosts start placed on the stage, but are asleep and don’t move. Once you run past the ghost they wake up and begin chasing Pac-Man. Meanwhile, Pac-Man still gobbles up dots in the maze. Once you collect all dots on one side (left or right) of the maze, the other side is filled with dots, a piece of fruit, sleeping ghosts and (sometimes) a power pellet. Dots are laid out in such a way as to encourage a specific path through the maze and going through it the right way tends to line up Pac-Man to flow into the opposite side of the map perfectly so that you can collect dots in the most optimized way possible. Essentially, the game has you going back and forth across the maps through a specific path. Going off the path is generally a bad thing as you’ll most likely end up getting a lower score in the long run. For instance, if you miss a dot on one side of the map, the other side won’t respawn it’s dots and ghosts, so you’ll have to waste a few seconds going back around and getting that single dot you missed. The goal is to get the highest score possible in the given time limit. You receive a ranking for each stage based on your score compared to the overall leaderboards (e.g. if you’re in the top 20 percentage, you’ll get an ‘S’ rank)

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Super Meat Boy Review

Super Meat Boy is a platformer about a boy without skin named Meat Boy who must save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from Dr. Fetus. Aside from having the best story ever it’s also hard. Very, very hard. I’ve died over 3,000 times (which isn’t an exaggeration, the game keeps tracks of deaths) and haven’t completed the game 100% yet. But just because it’s hard doesn’t make it any less fun. The sense of accomplishment that comes with beating some of the harder stages is priceless, especially considering how easy some games are today.

Game play is fairly simple. You navigate Meat Boy to Bandage girl at the end of each level while dodging all kinds of spikes, lava, bottomless pits, rotating/flying saw blades, salt (which instantly kills meat, obviously), rockets, globs of purple goo, lasers, deadly piles of (used?) syringes and about a million other different death traps I can’t remember. Wall jumping is a staple of the game with nearly every level having you jumping up vertical shafts at one point or another. The abundance of instant death obstacles means you’re going to die, a lot. But death isn’t treated so much as a punishment but more as a learning experience. If you die, you instantly restart at the beginning of the level, ready to try again. The key to getting through the game is learning how to precisely control Meat Boy, with levels boiling down to memorization of timing and what path to take.

Super Meat Boy is broken up into roughly 350 stages spread across several different chapters. You start each chapter playing through the light world levels. If you beat the par time (get an “A+”) on a given level you unlock the dark world version of that level which is generally a much more difficult version of the original. Additionally there are tons of warp zones spread throughout the light and dark world. These warp zones each feature 3 different levels and, to make things just a bit more difficult, you only have 3 lives per level in warp zones. Then, there are special warp zones where you can unlock new playable characters. On top of all that, each chapter has a special “glitch” level, unlocked randomly if you reach Bandage Girl and she’s “glitching” like would sometimes happen when trying to play NES games (the blocky textures flashing and displayed in random patterns on the screen). Oh…and there are bandages on some of the levels which you can collect to unlock even more playable characters.

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Costume Quest Review

I’m a pretty big fan of Halloween, RPG’s and Double Fine games in general, so when I found out Double Fine was making a Halloween themed RPG I was pretty pumped. A downloadable game for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, Costume Quest follows the twins Wren and Reynold as they trick-or-treat their way through the neighborhood on Halloween night. When one of the twins is kidnapped (the player chooses which sibling they want to play as, the other is kidnapped) by a band of candy-stealing monsters it’s up to the other to save the day. You’ll fight through a few different areas, including the suburbs, the mall and a Halloween carnival in the country side. Along the way you’ll find two more playable characters to help you in your quest.

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Galcon Fusion Review

I love Steam for their occasional deals, such as the recent Indie Game Pack they had on sale for $7.99. The pack came with a number of independent games, including Galcon Fusion. If not for that deal I would have never known what a great game I was missing.

The game play is fairly simple, in theory. Galcon Fusion is a RTS game set in space. Games start with each player controlling a planet (or multiple planets, depending on the settings). The number shown on controlled planets represents how many ships you have on that planet. Controlled planets also generate new ships, the larger the planet, the faster it generates ships. Neutral planets that are not owned by any player show a number on them, representing the number of ships you need to take over the planet. Clicking on one of your controlled planets and then right clicking a neutral or enemy planets sends a percentage (which can be changed from %5 to 100%) of ships, represented as triangles, from your planet to the neutral/enemy planet. If you send more ships then the neutral/enemy planet has, you take it over. The goal being to take over all the planets on the map.

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Shadow Complex Review

Shadow Complex Review

I’m a huge fan of Super Metroid, it was one of a handful of SNES games I had as a kid and easily in my top 10 video games of all time. I played it for countless hours and many times over, the exploration aspect was really fun, and finding all the little secrets, the hidden rooms and passages was always a driving factor. Naturally, when I heard that Shadow Complex was admittedly inspired by games like Super Metroid and Symphony of the Night, I was excited. After playing through the game, I can say that Shadow Complex lived up to my expectations in every way.

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Battlefield 1943 Review

battlefield_1943_1

If you’ve never played any of the PC Battlefield games from DICE (Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment), here’s the basics: Battlefield 1943 is a World War II-based shooter where you try to take out your enemies while capturing bases (control points), and defending those captured points from falling back into the enemies hands. Players can use a variety of vehicles including planes and tanks. Capturing control points allows the team to reinforce themselves by enabling players and vehicles to spawn in the area. The goal is to hold as many control points as possible (the more, the better). If your team holds them long enough, they win the match.

Battlefield 1943 stays very close to the original Battlefield 1942 games and includes three levels from the Pacific campaign: Wake Island, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. The graphics have been updated and the game now uses the Frostbite Engine (from Battlefield: Bad Company). The engine allows for some amazing environmental damage; tank shells blast through walls and villages sit in flames after an air raid. The effects are truly impressive, and add a new level of immersion to the experience.

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Dead Space Review

I admit, initially I wasn’t too pumped about Dead Space. I honestly thought it was just going to be some cheap Doom or Resident Evil rip-off, just another generic game borrowing concepts from other series in hopes of making a quick buck. I was dead (get it?) wrong, Dead Space is an amazing game that will go down as one of my favorites in 2008. Every fan of the survival horror genre should pick this one up, it’s definitely worth it.

In the game you control Isaac, one member of a repair crew sent to investigate the Ishimura (a massive space ship) and determine why communication has been lost with the ship. Once inside, things rapidly go downhill as it seems every one on the ship is either dead, insane, or turned into a horrible monster with an insatiable love of human flesh. From that point on it’s basically Isaac’s job to kill tons of bad guys and fix everything that’s wrong on the ship.

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