Archive for April 2010

Learning What Your Memory is Clogged Up With

April 24, 2010

Sampla!

I present to you a wonderful way to pass the time.  At least for those of us who appreciate the finer points of the bleeps and bloops that make up video game music.  It’s just a quick quiz that place MIDI samples of classic video game tunes from all eras.  I’ve played it a few times and gotten several of the same songs over and over again, but it appears that people can contribute to the quiz so hopefully time will remedy that.  The MIDI is also kinda disappointing as well, it makes some songs (especially the Michael Jackson Moonwalker song) hard to identify at first.

The highest score I’ve achieved 3010 but the top 5 spots all have 4500 which seems to be the limit. You can play the game here.  Play the game, contribute some songs and have fun.  If this thing gets bigger it can truly be great.

Where’s Your Curly Mustache?

April 21, 2010

The long rumored Marvel Vs Capcom 3 was announced yesterday morning.  This is something I’ve been waiting for on for quite some time.

There was a specific time in my life where all I can remember playing was fighting games.  This time fell right into the era of the Dreamcast, which is why most of the games I owned (or ever wanted to own) were fighting games.  I can remember after school rolling up to the local arcade about 6 deep with friends ready to throw down in the original Marvel Vs Capcom.  It wasn’t til a few months after Marvel Vs Capcom 2 came out that our arcade got a machine for the newest edition of the crazy fighter.  It was a good time, mostly because we were all of the same sucky skill level and no one was dominating.  I quickly marked my calendar for the home release on the Dreamcast, and when the day cam I made the long trip to Electronics Boutique to purchase the game.  It took some getting used to but I finally got my friends into playing the with Dreamcast controller, eventually maxing out the in-game clock at 99:99:99.

But back to Marvel Vs Capcom 3, only a short teaser has been released so far.  It does reveal a few things, like initial characters being those everyone would expect and it will be 3-d on a 2-d plan like Street Fighter 4.  They also revealed some character art like the one pictured above (which features one of the most butt-ugly Hulks I’ve ever seen).  And that’s about it, that’s all we know as of now.  The game is reportedly supposed to be out around this time next year and that seems like an awfully long time.

I can only hope that they can re-capture the magic the 1st two games had, especially for me and my friends.  While we don’t play the game anymore, their eyes still light up when mentioning either game and old rivalries come back to life.  I’m sure they would love to throw down in a new great game the same as I.

Missed Classics: Vampire’s Bane

April 14, 2010

I never owned any of the classic Castlevania games from the 8 and 16-bit era.  The first one in the series I owned was Symphony of the Night and it’s probably why it’s my favorite to this day.  Castlevania was always a game that my cousin owned, along with Mike Tyson’s Punchout and Skate or Die.  In my mind as a child these were games that my cousin owned and that I would never own.  I played Mario and Mega Man games,  not Castlevania games and thus I never owned one.  I can’t rationalize this train of thought because I played the original Castlevania at his house and liked it, I just knew I would never have it.  Which I think contributes to the quasi-mystical effect the old Konami grey-striped boxes have on me today.

The only semi-Castlevania game I owned pre-Symphony was a Tiger Electronics version of Simon’s Quest on a wrist watch and it was terrible.  I wanted that thing so bad though,  I think it had a lot to do with how cool I think “Simon’s Quest” is as a name.  It just has a nice sound to it, those two words go well together

It was exactly like this one, they even have it advertised on the same page

So back to the game this post is about, Super Castlevania IV.  I first played Super Castlevania IV shortly after discovering emulation in my early teens.  It was an exciting time full of danger and exploration.  The biggest first impression the game left on me was how much I loved that first level song.  All the music was great in this game and really captured the mood and atmosphere you would expect from a game about hunting and killing Dracula. I can also remember thinking this was not the best game to be playing with a keyboard, as my gamepad from the PC didn’t work at the time.  I logged it deep within the recesses of my brain as a game to come back to and I continually did to check emulators on new computers I would get as hand-me-downs from my parents (along with Yoshi’s Island and Chrono Trigger).  I never got to far in the game back then, probably not past the second stage.

Now flash forward 10 years and I try to operate on a more legitimate level now and avoid the seedy piracy sites scoured across the internet.  Super Castlevania IV was the 1st game I purchased on the Wii’s Virtual Console and I still go back and try to beat it now 3 years later.  I can get to the rotating room stage and that’s where my skills crap out, but man what a great game.  The feeling of precise control that was lost on me with the NES games (and a keyboard) makes it so I never get too frustrated when I die repeatedly.  One thing I haven’t grown out of since my childhood is my love for gloom and doom settings, and this game (along with Demon’s Crest) has my favorite of that type of atmosphere out of all the SNES games I’ve played.

I have made it my current mission to beat the game in the near future.  My Wii is currently at my girlfriend’s apartment so I don’t have the access to do that whenever I wish, but it will get done.  After that perhaps I’ll get Rondo of Blood and see what all the hub bub about that game is.  The 9 dollars it is on Virtual Console is way more appealing than the 100+ that it’s going for on ebay.

Hopefully this will be a post can be continued further, kinda like a blog mini-series.  With the advent of downloadable old games and the 2 pawn shops that recently opened up in my area that carry old games, I’ve found many that I love and never played or heard of as a child.

Until next time kids!

Seeing it Through to the End

April 12, 2010

I’m stuck.  I’ve been playing the end of Darksiders here lately and I’ve hit a familiar road block.  I was actually wondering if anyone else has hit a stumbling block like this.  The scenario is this: seeing a series of puzzles that fall into each other like dominoes, knowing exactly what to do but not being able to muster up the willingness to go through the tedium.

There should be a word for this because it’s not the 1st time I have encountered this feeling.  I can remember it taking me years to be The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask because I didn’t one to do the quest where you had to gather all the items for the Gibdo’s in the well.  Since all your consumable items where taken away when you restarted it just became an exercise in redundancy.  I could get all the items, I have them before, why do I have to get them again for this one part.

Despite these feelings I still thought Majora’s Mask was a great game and I’m really liking Darksiders also.  I think I just need to take a break from it again.  Maybe not  a few years long break like with Zelda,  just a few weeks so I can start again fresh.

A Fine Meal

April 5, 2010

During one of my recent trips to the pawn shop for some old game rummaging,  I found this old gem.

That lady looks awfully familiar

I picked this up for my girlfriend (Double Dragon II and Clash at Demon Head for myself) because it’s her favorite game from her childhood.  I had never really played the game, and have scant few memories of it.  I do remember it being one of the 2 games in the Brendals Super NES kiosk (the other being Super Metroid) and I remember seeing ads for it in gaming magazines at the time showing a screen with a giant baby.

So I popped it in to give it a whirl before she got to my house and I have to say, it is a fun little charming game.  The whole idea is to rescue the survivors in the neighbor from all sorts of  horror movie monsters including the title characters, zombies.  You do this using a wide assortment of weapons including silverware, soda cans, crucifixes, and a rocket launcher.  Using certain weapons on certain enemies is the key to success.  From what I can tell by the cover, there are 55 levels of monster killing carnage to get through and the best I could get to was level 11.  I did fight that giant baby I saw in the ads oh so many years ago though.

I would like to say my girlfriend played it like a pro, being that it was her favorite game of her childhood but she didn’t get any further than I did.  I think this was one of those games that she enjoyed playing until she died and that being it and she was happy with that.  I’ve had games like that too, where I would play them just for the first few levels, die once and let it be.  Battletoads was one of those games for me, that damn hover bike stage was just too hard.

I didn’t really have too much to say about the game, other than it was pretty good.  She had wanted me to write this, so this is for you babe.

This the man I wanted to grow up to be

Vengeance Complete

April 3, 2010

I finally finished God of War III last night despite my wearying illness.

I gotta say that I didn’t care much for God of War III from the very beginning (except for the graphics of course).  This was not the epic follow up to the bloody thrill ride God of War II was.  Maybe it’s because I couldn’t make any sense of the story. Maybe it’s because I spent 70% of my time in caves.  Whatever the reason, it simply didn’t turn out to be as well made of a product than it’s predecessors.  That’s a sad fact because this game, with the PS3’s power behind it, had all the potential to make me and many others bow in it’s epic glory.

The combat still held up quite well however and I loved the addition of the L1 + O grab to bring yourself closer to enemies as it really sped up the flow of everything.  While the moment to moment combat was great the boss fights always left something to be desired.  Maybe it’s because there were so many of them and they weren’t very hard (I think I beat Hercules in about 5 minutes) that they just didn’t have that much of an impact.

Despite all the mediocrity I found in the game I powered through to the end and after wondering through the dark for 10 minutes after I defeated Zeus, I was completely lost.  I have no idea what happened or why.  Was Athena evil?  What was the point of Pandora? Is Kratos still alive?  I have no idea whatsoever.  All I know is hope saved the day and that’s cheesy as hell.  I kinda wish I had used 60 bucks on Final Fantasy XIII instead but we can’t change that now.

Don't look at me like that Kratos, we're still cool.

Yes despite their fumbling final outing, I still regard the God of War series as one of quality and am anxious to see what other mythologies Santa Monica Studios can journey through in the future.

Conviction

April 2, 2010

I’ve never played a Splinter Cell game, or even a Tom Clancy game for that matter.  Scratch that, I did play the original Rainbow Six on the Nintendo 64 at a friends house once and hated it.  I remember being excited about the first Splinter Cell after reading about it in Gamepro and seeing on Gamespot TV (although it was probably Extended Play by that time).  I really enjoyed the Metal Gear Solid games but understood this would be an altogether different stealth game and was ready for the challenge.  I never did play the game because I can remember one of my good friends renting it and us playing back at my house.  I can remember initially really liking tha game based solely on the graphics (it had incredible lighting for it’s time) but was immediately turned off when the controller was put in my hand. I just felt that the controls where way to cumbersome and complex especially for me, a high school graduate who didn’t have time to learn such frivolous things but had plenty time to drink liquor.

So needless to say this game was not on my radar at all, not until last year at E3 where Ubisoft showed the newly revamped version of the game to the public.  I think the immediate connection I made upon seeing was the movie Taken which I had seen not too long before that.  And I loved the objectives and Sam’s memories being projected onto the walls and areas around him rather being a HUD element.  It’s definitely an interesting looking game.

I waited a while to download the demo purely for space reasons.  I’ve mentioned before that I still have a 20 gig and it’s almost full, but I finally decided to suck it up and take the 1.1 gig demo in the chin.  I had forgotten that the complex controls of the first game is what had turned me off in the first place but was brought right back to that feeling when I saw the loading screen and it’s controller layout.  “Wow, every button does 5 things” my pharmaceutical addled mind said (remember, I’ve been sick) and it was wrong each button does 1 thing but it was still pretty daunting.  But those types of screens always intimidate me a little and in practice their never that bad and the same can be said of this game.  After only about 10 minutes I was marking and executing with ease, switching weapons like a pro, and putting on those radar goggles like I had a damn pair of my own.

I throughly enjoyed my experience with the demo and am intrigued to know about Sam’s daughter and the circumstances around her death. So as a marketing tool for Ubisoft this demo did exactly what they wanted it to, swayed the doubters and (from what I can tell) reinforced the beliefs of long time fans that this game will be worth checking out.  Which I will, providing that I have the money at the time, I still can’t even afford Final Fantasy XII but hopefully all these financial drains will have faded by the time this game comes out.

Also this game has caught my attention lately.  The combination of GTA4 in a wild west setting seems to awesome for me to pass up so I’ll have to add this to the long list of must purchases.