PlayStation 2

[last updated: 25-NOV-2011]

2002 FIFA World Cup

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Not even thinking of touching.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

24: The Game

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Summer 2007

Not bad, but worth playing for the movie scenes alone (seriously!).


One could argue that 24: The Game is just yet another generic 3D action game with the usual smorgasbord of gameplay modes that are hit-or-miss in the fun department, as is atypical of licensed games. And, yeah, that is pretty truthful, though as a generic 3D action game it's not a bad little product, and is a nice treat for fans of the TV show.

The story is exactly what you'd expect from the TV show - assassination attempts on the president, CTU being invaded by terrorists, loved ones being kidnapped - you know the drill. What makes it particularly great is that the story sequences are presented exactly like the TV show - the same kind of blurry blue lighting in the CTU HQ, the same kind of shaky zooming camera, the same actors, even the same writers, it's all there! It's actually really commendable how well they capture the look and feel of the live-action show using PS2-quality 3D models. The story scenes are a lot of fun to watch, and they're definitely the highlight of the game. Mind you, I do feel a little dirty for recommending a game for something other than its gameplay. That's not how I roll!

The bulk of the gameplay takes place in generic 3D third-person shooter land, where you romp through mostly-linear levels following objectives. It works reasonably well - you've got weapons; items; a melee attack; the ability to take cover behind objects; a combat roll; a "stealth mode" where you walk slower, quieter and will automatically crouch lower behind any nearby object for convenient cover; and a button to communicate with people, be it hurling abuse at terrorists to make them surrender (the game's scoring system favours arresting dudes rather than Rambo-ing all over their bleeding corpses) or issuing orders to your allies.

It's a reasonably functional system and it's all pretty comfortable - a lot of it feels borrowed from Metal Gear Solid anyway, so you don't have to adjust to some crazy new interface. The gameplay mode doesn't throw any major surprises at people familiar with the genre, but it's plays nice for what it is. I could argue about the often frustrating context sensitive buttons (there was one embarrassing instance where I kept alerting guards due to a nearby switch on the wall when I just wanted to search some bodies for ammunition) and the rather finicky aiming system (you flick the right stick to toggle automatic lock-on to enemies, but it's rather sensitive and rather cumbersome, especially when you want to aim somewhere more specific like when they've got hostages), but, really, it's a licensed video game. It ain't perfect, but it does the job adequately.

Other missions include driving levels, hacking levels and interrogation sequences. Driving offers as much surprises as you'd expect. Hacking is surprisingly common and involves some sort of abstract mini-game to decrypt a hard drive or locate a heat source or some cobblers like that. They take a long time to get properly challenging (when they give you one minute to crack four layers of code protection), and they're never especially engaging - they feel more like padding between the "real" missions. I know the show had parts that relied on the tech people to perform their technical wizardry for the action guys to save the day, but when you imagine a 24 video game, you don't really imagine "aw yeah, I'd totally love to play as this guy who sits on my ass staring at a screen and deciphering incomprehensible data!"

But then you can interrogate people! Sometimes it's just a comparatively tame mission like getting a terrorist punk to spill the beans, other times you've got to prevent a crazy citizen from shooting the mayor in the face. It's like an interactive movie scene! You've got a wavering bar that shows the perp's "cooperation level," and your objective is to hassle him for info in either an abusive, calming or neutral tone so the bar enters the coloured area. There's no possible way you can make that sound intriguing in writing, but in execution you've got Jack Bauer shouting at the perp and the guy going "I AIN'T TELLIN' YOU NOTHIN'" and then you pull a gun on him and he shits his pants and it's actually quite engaging. There's not enough of these parts, for my liking.

Outside of that unique little mode, there's not much in 24: The Game that you couldn't find, probably better, in other games. Even for a fan it can be a bumpy ride - some of the missions are especially tedious, either due to wonky controls, sheer malicious design or unexpected glitches. Still, playing the game for the engaging story alone is well worth it (did I say that?), and seeing all the trademark 24 features included in the game is just really, really neato. It's no perfect game, but I got a good few hours of fun out of it.

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Completion: Finished. Haven't unlocked all extras.


Further reading: For help regarding the Madsen Attacked mission glitch, see here.

Bomberman Hardball

RATING: n/a

WHEN: July 2008

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: Check out the Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine Place!

Bomberman Kart

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Jun 2007

An interesting take on the kart game genre, but not exactly worthy of being mildly rare.


As flawed as it was, Bomberman Fantasy Race was an interesting beast. The fact it actually tinkered ever so slightly with the basic racing mascot genre is good enough on it's own, never mind that it changed the whole tournament thing in favour of "GET BETTER OR YOU'RE GOIN' NOWHERE BOY" style gameplay. Of course, by "get better" it meant "get luck on your side or you'll never get those Time Stops." C'est la vie.

Bomberman Kart, unreleased in America and obvious in the title, ditches that beast riding for your basic automobiles. You've got five racers who play no different from each other (and one secret!), five selectable karts with different attributes (two secret, one being more or less a game breaker if you don't flub too much), and a total of twelve grands prix. Yes, twelve! Mario took until Mario Kart DS to get more than four, so that's pretty astonishing. However, there are only sixteen courses, plus reversed versions of all of them. How does this work?

Simple. Repeat courses.

And somehow, it works so, so well. It adds vague lasting appeal! Once you've conquered the four cups in Mario Kart, you're left to go through them the same way over and over. Not Bomberman Kart. It mixes them up. Plus it has four extra grands prix that randomise the courses, upping the count in each from four, up to the last at thirty two! Of course, playing four courses can take fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, so anything more tends to get rather draining, and I still haven't finished the thirty two course one because it just gets very, very dull.

This isn't mentioning that there's more to the game than tournaments! There's time trial (which is of no interest to me), a multi-player battle mode, Speed Race which is an obstacle course of some kind, and Challenge Mode. Challenge Mode is clearly the highlight of these extras, more or less being Mario Kart DS' Mission Mode before that game was even out. Such games as stopping as close to the edge as possible, avoiding the homing missiles 'til the end of the course, and answering maths questions by hitting the right item box, while also facing a time limit. They're surprisingly good fun!

And there's also a traditional Bomberman mode. Pretty barebones; there's no Louies or arenas that aren't green and grey, but it's a pleasant little extra, and actually makes sense.

The problem with the game?

Well, not so much a problem as an irregularity; it's a pretty well-rounded package, with plenty of modes and plenty of opportunities for multi-player. The problem, quite simply, lies in the controls. You see, despite featuring cutesy characters blowing each other up with bombs and shark missiles, the controls are very... "realistic." Of course, I don't drive or know about anything regarding the sport (aside from once you're a driver you're legally obligated to criticize every other poor sod on the road), hence the quotation marks, but I see no other reason why the cars would turn very, very stiffly, and practically requiring braking and drifting for anything bendier than 25 degrees. And drifting is a confusing pain. Do you tap brake, hold drift, and then hit the accelerator before you're at the right angle? Or do you hold brake, tap drift and then slam the accelerator once you're back on the right path? The game never says, and considering it's an essential to making progress, it's hard to forgive. Of course, the enemies never worry about this; they just streak through every tight angle like a shoelace. None the less, it doesn't ruin the game like Fantasy Race's item demanding, it just requires a bit of mastering, if just to lessen the troubles it causes rather than outright quash it.

Another problem is that the CPU only use items when it can harm you; they will refuse to use a boost unless they'll knock you down in the process, and they will hold onto the first-place reaching shark missiles until you're there. It can be a pain when they swipe it before you, but a single attack will knock them for a loop and make them drop it, so it's not a lost cause.

The game is relatively rare, but I was lucky and got it for 5, thanks to the auctioneer misspelling the name. It's a decent little game that's an interesting change from so many games that feel so alike, but it's not without faults. The long levels can become a drag, and the CPU never really poses much of a threat unless you deliberately seek it by using a low-quality kart, but for a company that don't exactly participate much in the genre, it's a pretty decent venture. At the end of the day, though, Fantasy Race feels the better game, even with it's broken second half, primarily due to being that more unique. Combine the two and it'd be super, but I can't imagine Hudson going back to racing titles for a while.

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Completion: No.


Further reading: Check out the Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine Place!

Bomberman Land 2

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2011

NOTES: Japanese version.

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: Check out the Totally Bombastic Bomberman Shrine Place!

Crash Bandicoot: Action Pack

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

Don't see why it needs two racing games, but not a bad bundle.


[no review]

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Completion: See individual games.


Further reading: Contains Crash Nitro Kart, Crash Tag Team Racing, and Crash Twinsanity.

Crash Nitro Kart

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

NOTES: Part of Crash Bandicoot: Action Pack.

Crash Team Racing bored me enough, why make a game that's exactly the same?


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Crash Tag Team Racing

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

NOTES: Part of Crash Bandicoot: Action Pack.

The only Crash racing game I like!


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Crash Twinsanity

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

NOTES: Part of Crash Bandicoot: Action Pack.

Different, but still pretty awesome.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: First impressions.

Drakengard

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

Further proof that I can't be non-critical of anything of Square's that isn't 3D World Runner.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: First impressions.

FIFA Football 2003

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Do not want.


Unless the game includes a NotSuk-FX Chip or something, I refuse to play this because the GameCube version was terrible enough.

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Completion: No.


Further reading: Hey, look at that, I had the GameCube version too.

From Russia With Love

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Wonky and wobbly and unremarkable.


[NEW!] Developers have been trying their damndest to recreate the success of Rare's Goldeneye, dabbling in other genres, dragging in Pierece Brosnan and even reusing the Goldeneye name for something else entirely. Eventually someone decided to blame the lack of Sean Connery on the other games' downfalls.
So, yeah, the main appeal of this game is that it's based on an old 007 flick instead of a new one, and ropes in Sean Connery to voice Bond again, complete with a polygonal recreation of his likeness back in the '60s. It was a neat gimmick, though it's kind of diluted by how Sean Connery doesn't really give a stirring performance. Most of his charm lies in his facial expressions, and letting a 3D model do that in his place just isn't a patch on the real deal.

The game is played in third-person and involves running around, shooting dudes, using gadgets and struggling with context-sensitive commands in the name of completing objectives. And there's driving missions. It's the same bog-standard formula that so many licensed games use, and there's nothing particularly special about this instance. You can use gadgets such as the remote-controlled Q-Copter and even the jetpack from Thunderball with built-in missiles and machine guns, but to be frank, the game never feels very comfortable to play.

There's very little indication that James is being hurt, and thanks to the dodgy camera, it's very hard to get a good look at your surroundings to see either the enemies or objects vital to the level's progress. Even after buying ammo capacity upgrades, it feels like ammunition is burned through at a frightening rate, and it often feels pointless using guns because a melee attack is an instant-kill. There are context-sensitive controls to tip over tables for cover, to activate switches or climb onto elevated surfaces, but James has a hard time responding to the controls at all, forcing you to scoot him around and hammer the X Button in hopes of him finally doing what he's told. It's even more of a headache when you need to hold the button.

Thematically, the game probably has a slightly closer feel to the films than the ol' Goldeneye game, but it doesn't really add a lot to the game. It's cute to hear Sean Connery's voice in a video game, but the license doesn't improve the game in any great regard, especially since it's so cumbersome to begin with. If you absolutely need to play a licensed third-person-shooter, there are plenty of better options out there; 24: The Game, although clunky in its own regard, was a much more engaging and entertaining experience than this.

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Completion: No.

Grand Theft Auto III

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Childish glee!


[no review]

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Completion: Finished the story.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Apr 2008?

Childish glee, now with less memorable maps!


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Half-Life

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Apr 2010

Old-style raw FPS. Good times.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Haven: Call of the King

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

Can't exactly judge due to only seeing incomprehensible movie scenes mostly (that remind me of Willow strangely), but it controls smoothly!


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: I blogged about it a bit.

Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Sep 2008

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Mar 2008

Cute.


[NEW!] A 2D platformer with 3D graphics. Klonoa has only two abilities - jumping (and hovering) and shooting air bullets to pick up enemies and items, or throw what he's carrying. It's an outrageously simple system, and what I admire is just how much the game gets out of the concept. While most enemies are just projectiles or used to get a double-jump, some enemies you pick up have special properties - some explode on a timer, some absorb other enemies on collision, et cetera, and it's really fun and intriguing to see how the game tests your thinking skills to use them to overcome new challenges. Objects in the background and foreground can also be interacted with by hurling objects at them, which makes for some cute challenges.

There are snowboard levels as well. They're pretty fun. There's obviously not as much puzzle-solving to them, but they're fun, fast-paced changes of pace, and they're often home to some of the quirkiest music tracks in the game.

The graphics are truly beautiful and whimsical, and some of the areas are actually very stunning. The very surreal, "out-there" landscapes add a lot to the dream motif of the Klonoa games, and it adds so much character to the game rather than generic ol' cookie-cutter landscapes you see in a lot of 3D platformers. Likewise, the mixture of music gives the game a more intriguing persona - some of the more fast-paced levels can have funky jazz or just frantic plinkity-plonk, but a lot of the stages are home to very soothing, dream-like ambiant-esque tracks, which I dare say steal the show.

There's a pleasant difficulty curve, though the game takes a while before it gets particularly tough, and even then it's nothing a bit of patience (and prior experience with the likes of The Lost Levels) can't solve. The game begins with levels very friendly for kids, and then slowly alleviates into more of a challenge. I like it. It is a short game, though - skipping through all the movie scenes, I finished the game in a mere three or four hours. Mind you, doing that did leave me with no idea what was going on, but what else is new. There are collectibles in every stage that I guess would add replay value if I knew what they did.

Back when this was released, it was rare to see any 2D platformers at all on a console, so Klonoa 2 is not only satisfactory in that department, it's worth checking out for any fan of puzzle-platformers.

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Completion: Finished. Need all collectibles.

La Pucelle: Tactics

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

Difficult, but enjoyable.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2008

Meh.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

Hardass arcade romp.


[NEW!] It's like Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, except you're not just getting murdered in the X and Y axes - you're getting murdered in the Z-axis as well!
Maximo is a 3D platformer with a old-school arcade-style design - nothing's ever truly randomised in the game, but there are so many tricks, traps and total dick moves that it captures the hostile environment of Capcom's old arcade platformers very well. It's brutal, it's punishing and it's certainly frustrating, but it's the kind of difficulty that forces you to step up to your A-game, rather than just say that the game's being an asshole. There's no denying the game is an asshole, but what are you gonna do about it?

That said, there a number of quirks you need to get used to. Namely, the camera. It does the job fine for ordinary linear stages, but once the level structure starts getting very vertical or requires some precision jumping, depth perception can become tricky to estimate. The only camera control in the game is centring the camera behind Maximo, and all too often you end up having to point it away from the next platform just to see how far away it is. It's nothing completely and utterly gamebreaking, but it does make the later stages a bit more frustrating than they really should be. Given how the controller's right stick goes entirely unused, it seems like an odd thing to ignore.

In keeping with the game's oldschool hard-ass roots does end up making the game rather inaccessible at times. The only time you can save for free is after completing a world; if you want to save at any other time, it costs 100 coins. As if that wasn't enough, when you lose all your lifes, you forfeit one Death Coin to continue; too many Game Overs and the cost rises, requiring more Death Coins per continue. Although it's a natural staple of video gaming for the player to make a few mistakes before getting used to how the game works, this system seems to encourage players to know what to spend their money on and when, and to be a total perfectionist when it comes to completing levels right from the get-go.

Beneath the wobbly controls and punishing save system is an entertaining, very challenge arcade-inspired game to really sink your teeth into. There's a lot of instant-death pits and there's so many ways for the enemies to beat you to a pulp, but that only makes it much more satisfying to complete.
if I have one gripe with the arcade-style inspiration, it's the boss fights. Although mildly difficult, they're slow-going pattern-driven affairs that lack the intensity of facing a large group of enemies. The final boss isn't very challenging, but I give it kudos for using an interesting gimmick.

Part of what makes the game so charming are the graphics - it's an early PS2 game, but the graphics hold a lot of personality and character. A lot of the fun of progressing is just seeing what kind of amusingly-animated enemies you're pitted against. The sword-wielding skeletons are probably among my favourite video game enemies, if just for the way they waddle towards you. The music isn't quite as memorable, since every piece of music in the game is a remix of the iconic Ghosts'n Goblins theme. Every piece of music in the game. Needless to say, it gets tiresome rather quickly, and slightly dilutes the sensation of making progress - every level sounds alike!

It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I found the game an enjoyable experience. It doesn't allow for much in the way of replay value unless you're a hardcore 100% nut-buster, but if you want something a little different from most other 3D platformers, it's a fun little romp.

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Completion: Finished. Need 100%.

Maximo vs. Army of Zin

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Sep 2008

A different specimen from the last one.


[NEW!] The sequel drops much of the arcade inspirations of the first game and aims to streamline the core gameplay. The awkward world huds are dropped; Maximo controls more smoothly and has a plethora of new combat abilities; and most importantly, you you don't have to pay a dime to save anytime you want on the world map.

There's a slightly more involved story this time around, though there's no way in a text-based medium that I can stress that "slightly" enough. An army of mechanical clockwork beasts, the Zin, are harrassing the land, having been sealed in a vault several hundred years ago. Maximo gets a chance to interact with more characters than just Grim and the one-dimensional sorceresses, though the story is still pretty minimal. At times it feels like it's going to be a bigger, more indepth story than it appears, but nah, it's still the usual 3D platformer antics that just happens to establish a bit more character interaction this time around. Oh well!

In refining the gameplay and making itself more accessible, the style of gameplay changes from an arcade survive-a-thon to a more combat-orientated adventure. Maximo has a sword, a hammer and a shield, and can buy new techniques along the way - a large part of combat is about chaining attacks together: the bigger the combo, the better and more bountiful goodies will be dropped after defeating enemies. You can also control Grim for brief periods to do some serious damage, though even after shelling out big bucks for all his metre upgrades, you don't get much time to use him.

It does broaden the appeal of the game and make it more accessible, but I admit the shift from arcade-style death-fest to combat game didn't quite capture my interest the same way the first one did. I think the difference is that the first game wore its arcade inspiration on its sleeve - fending off baddies and surviving perilous landscapes went hand in hand. Army of Zin seems to make them feel disconnected - you've got the dangerous platforming bits and then they make you clobber waves of enemies for a while. The two components don't seem to blend as comfortably, and it ends up feeling like chunks of Devil May Cry are wedged into the game for all the combat segments.

It's still a very fine game, and although I miss the kind of 'raw' vibe of the first game, it does benefit from being streamlined and all the awkward bits removed.

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Completion: Finished. Need 100%.

Mega Man X7

RATING: 2/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

Worse than X5? Not really. Just ludicrously flawed.


Mega Man X7 isn't what I'd consider the worst in the series, but I can't imagine it being among anyone's favourites.

The main problem I find is that it entered the 3D realm while dragging a list of what hindered the 2D games with it. The rescuable Reploids? They're in, now with a habit of appearing before you have time to save them. Having to accomplish a certain task before you can play as a character? Yep, you have to rescue fifty Reploids before you can play as X, which is just plain ridiculous. And the cluttered level designs of X6? Check, now in 3D format!

A problem arises as a new playable character, Axl, who acts as the cocky, naive kid of the crew. His gimmick is that he can transform into certain enemies if he hits them with a charged blast, gaining their abilities. If he could have simply gained their weapon ala Mega Man Zero 4, it could've been handy as his pistol is pretty crap, but it means you just turn into an enemy with a terrible move and have to wait a certain time before you can revert to normal. Throw in the fact his hovering ability is incredibly touchy (instead of being activated by a second push like Zero's double jump, you have to hold the jump button, and you can't use it when jumping off a wall), and I never used Axl again once X was available.

An additional annoyance from the three characters is that it's only now that they decided to make power-ups character-specific. As in, if Zero gets a Heart Tank, it'll only effect his life bar and not Axl's. This is good in one way, as each character acts as a separate health bar, but it also means that you simply can't use one character throughout the whole game if you ever think of touching the others. It also means that X is amazingly shitty when you first get him, and since fifty of the Reploids have already been saved, there aren't many left to power him up with. As Reploids now carry Heart Tanks and Weapon Metre Upgrades. And you can't choose who gets them because you don't what they give you until you rescue them. Improving over a predecessor is so overrated!

Obligatory nags that I shoehorn into the bottom of reviews include the fact X's Giga Crush is mapped to the camera buttons, meaning the only time I use it is unintentionally; the game further complicates the definition of a Maverick (in some cases it sounds like the enemies are being struck by a disease, and sometimes it's more a decision they made); there's some really terrible level obstacles, such as a stone monkey head with spikes on one side that hurts you no matter where you touch it, and little towers that emit waves that knock you down, but it's difficult to tell where exactly the waves end; and finally, Tornado Tonion sounds like a bad stereotype.

So I managed to give a review full of nothing but negativities, and I still give it a 5/10. Ultimately, it's not that bad, but I'd certainly prefer be playing X2 again.

And I had nowhere else to say it, but the badass voice actors of Zero, Red and Signas sound way out of place compared to everybody elses' really half-hearted dialogue.

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Completion: On Normal.


Further reading: Some thoughts after finishing the game.

Mega Man X8

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Apr 2007

A little polish goes a long way.


Believe it or not, that Mega Man X7 review up there? Barely scratches the surface. I didn't have the space to mention the shoddy presentation, the loading times, the fact Alia needs confirmation for every goddamned thing (saving being most annoying, which also brings up another loading screen), or other such nags that are small but all lump together as a blocky, porridge-like layer of blegh.

X8, on the other hand, is like a breath of fresh air. Side-scrolling only (with the exception of the Ride Chaser stages), no Reploids to rescue, all the characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, and simply everything that X7 didn't have. Axl is actually a great character now! Amusingly, X8 is almost like X3 in terms of what it introduced, except better: Vile returns, although it's still completely pointless, he's got a cool voice; each stage has two rooms where you just fight off enemies and are rewarded with money metals; Zero has been playable for a while, but I guess you can count that as offering a different play style from X, which is what all the characters are like; and taking a wild stretch, different kinds of ride armour equals each stage having their own gimmick of sorts. I'm pulling at straws here.

What I'm trying to say is that X8 is a very good game. It's not perfect, as there are still a lot of frustrating level designs, and there are a lot of cheap deaths in levels like the Troia Base until you can get the upgrade that removes the recoil from damage, but even through my countless deaths and how much time I spent in the intermissions before I heard of the infinite metals glitch, I enjoyed the game a lot, and if this is indeed the last in the X series, it certainly went out with a bang.

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Completion: On Easy and Normal.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Metal Slug 3

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

Makes me appreciate the game more. Plus it actually has extras!


[no review]

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Completion: 100% as far as I'm aware.

Midnight Club

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Haven't played.


If the screenshot means anything, this game is about ploughing your way through gridlock traffic like a genocidal madman. If that's true, I can't help but wonder if the 3 I got for selling this was worth it.

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Completion: No.

Oni

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Realm of the Dead

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Apr 2007

Had potential to be interesting at least, but it should've stayed where it came from.


Realm of the Dead was one of those "buy it while you're interested" games, as if I went home without it my interest would fade, so I gave in and bought it for 10, making it the most expensive game I'd bought so far.

The game starts off decently enough, with a fitting camera and the enemies being ridiculously easy but suitable for a first world. And then the camera gives you a terrible birds eye view, the enemies become obnoxiously cheap, and it becomes a chore to play the game. If anything good came of it, it's that I can steal ideas from the character designs.

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Completion: On Normal as Hiro.


Further reading: Oh, look, I wrote stuff about it.

The Red Star

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Sep 2008

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

The Sims

RATING: 1/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Interesting, but would probably work better as an expansion pack. Another one.


The Sims is one of those guilty pleasures where I enjoy playing it and seeing just how dysfunctional a family can be, but it can get dull and repetitive very quickly. It may be advertised as wacky and outrageous, but it takes a long time before you can do that sort of stuff, and in that time you could go out and wet yourself or set fire to a neighbour's house in reality, and more! Therefore, in the time it takes for you to do wacky stuff, you may as well just lead your regular life.

This PS2 version adds more restrictions to the matter by giving you a story of sorts with goals to achieve to give you more selection of goods to buy. You begin by moving out of your mother's house by showing your independence (cooking a meal and fixing a TV), and then into a friend's house where you prove your worthiness by cleaning it up and becoming a coast guard, and I imagine true independence follows shortly after. While this is an interesting twist compared to the original version simply being a sandbox of sorts, it means you have to go through all this rigmarole before you can do what you want, basically. For example, the first family I always make in The Sims is the Ass family, the man of the house being a Mr. Bad. They're assholes, see. But here, since I could only make one character in a family, this meant it was pretty boring because there was no one to be an ass to, and I actually made him socialise with people in hopes they would be a housemate or his lover or something. I spent an in-game week trying to get him some company or a better job, but I simply didn't have the patience.

In addition, there are 2-Player games of both the competitive and co-operative kind, and since they're just short little distractions, are relatively decent. And there's a traditional PC-style neighbourhood mode, which plays like the originals except it's with the horrendously clunky PS2 controller. And there's probably more but I played for two hours and was frequently asking myself why.

So yeah, it's interesting the additions they made, but it still doesn't necessarily make the game any fun.

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Completion: No.

SSX Tricky

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Taito Legends 2

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2008

An arcade compilation that isn't composed of three-quarters ass? Colour me shocked!


[no review]

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Completion: See individual games.


Further reading: Contains a whole bunch of games, but for now, check out Dungeon Magic, Elevator Acton 2 and Nastar.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Haven't played, do not aim to.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Tokobot Plus: Mysteries of the Karakuri

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Nov 2007

Way too slow to be enjoyable.


[no review]

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Completion: No.


Further reading: I wrote some first impressions.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Seriously clunky. I'd rather go with Metal Gear Solid.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

Haven't played.


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

RATING: n/a

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

don't know how to do anything aside from an Ollie. =(


[no review]

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Completion: No.

Transformers

RATING: 3/4

WHEN: Jan 2008

Soul crushingly difficult and awkward controls at times, yet I'm loving it. Oh, the joys of blind faith!


Transformers is one of those things that you wonder just how it could be made into a game while still maintaining the feel of the source material's fiction. The NES games were pretty bog-standard shooter platformers, which kind of eschewed the whole teamwork thing of the Autobots. I've always thought a beat-em-up along the lines of Captain America and the Avengers would work good, the shooter segments forcing you into vehicle mode, maybe transforming for special attacks and so on. But, well, there goes any of the strategy employed in the shows. With my limited knowledge of G.I. Joe, it's pretty obvious it's about gung-ho anti-terrorist organisations screaming catchphrases and firing lasers from UZIs, so that works well in a video game. Transformers is the same, except it's about a whole race that are at war, with quite a number not being so fussed on it and a lot of "why are we still fighting this war" monologues going on. At least in the comics. And that's what makes Transformers that little more appealing to me. These aren't warrior robots built to kill; they're robots that had to adapt to their merciless and murderous enemies, but some adapted better than others. It's like they're human! But robots! That turn into BMWs!

The whole tangent's a bit moot, as the game's a 3D action game, almost like a third-person-view Halo, except good. Your three characters all excel in different categories, such as Prime's chunky powerful frame and Hot Shot's agility, and you explore ludicrously vast areas. Of course your objectives are to find the Decepticon in charge of the place and sort them out with some face pummelling, while exploring the scenery of temples, caverns, barren snow lands and more.

This is easily where the game truly shines: The utter vastness of each stage. The first level, set in the jungle, takes you up a small cliff, across a river, over a temple, over a waterfall and then up to the peak of the mountains, wherein the mission ends with a fight against Cyclonus. However, upon returning, you're given free reign to explore the level beyond that route, allowing you find abandoned human villages, barren islands, crevices that lead to the river and more. Some levels - the starship, namely - don't have quite the interest in exploring them, due to their sometimes samey nature and lack of hidden goodies, but the starship has a great mix-up there. In that level you're searching for Starscream, but when you find him he blows up the cliff the ship is on and renders it jutting out of the ice vertically. This flips the whole level 90 degrees and forces you to make your way back to the top, now using doors as floors, decorations as precarious ledges and more. It's simple, yet it works so well. Of course, exploring the levels also works because it nabs you Data-Cons, which unlock goodies like production artwork, Public Service Announcements and music, and also Mini-Cons.

Mini-Cons, in a nutshell, grant you extra powers when equipped, and you can have one to each shoulder button. They range from giving you shields, extra firepower or enhanced attacks, or the more interesting tricks such as reviving you from the dead, doubling you jump height and even allowing you to glide! Mixing and matching them is a little clunky due to the slow menus and the method that prevents you from hogging all the best ones without the expense of your health and other matters, so I generally just give each character different Mini-Cons to define them and leave it at that.

Even on Easy, the enemies will have no difficulty turning you into mince meat, especially once the grey ninja guys show up and can practically walk through your explosive blasts, and especially when they're invisible. You're given plenty of firepower and shield usage to hold your own, but you really need to play the game at least slightly strategically to get anywhere, even if it just means jumping past enemies with the shield on and running for the save point and then allowing yourself to be killed so you can revive with full health. Since you can always take a break to explore the areas, find more bonus items and so on, the game never got truly frustrating for me. Not to mention that since there's no "best" character or Mini-Con arrangement, you can happily go nuts with new ways to try out the situation until you find one that works. Unlike Bomberman Fantasy Race, where even with the best equipment you're still at a severe luck-impaired disadvantage.

I'm probably just incredibly biased because I kind of live and breathe the franchise (well, no probably about it), but I found the game to be pretty awesome. Sure, to have more characters, multi-player and more stages would be nice, but as it is it's pretty awesome for realistic standards. I say check it out.

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Completion: On Easy and Normal.


Further reading: One of many games I played in 2009

WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It!

RATING: 0/4

WHEN: Mar 2007

NOTES: First game.

More playable than FIFA, but that's about it.


Just like my rant towards football games (see the GameCube review of FIFA 2003), why would you play this when you can wrestle for reals? Sure, wrestling is different from football because one of them involves pile drivers and headlocks and intentional pain, but if you're that desperate to have a wrestling match for yourself, why not? That way you could at least spice up your move set instead of inflicting pains in a whopping two ways: A generic attack or a grab move that decides randomly what it'll do next. And I can't even have fun with the create-a-character mode because it absolutely pales in comparison to that one N64 version I once played. I thought sequels were supposed to improve things?

So in summary, I'm not a fan of wrestling games unless they involve Mike Haggar. And I can't even create him because there are only three body types, none of which are badass enough for him.

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Completion: No.