Category Archives: Review

Review: Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!!! (PlayStation Vita)

I’m not the first to say this – and to be honest, I was CERTAIN that I would disagree – but Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!!! (Blobs from here on in) may well be the best of PlayStation Vita’s stellar launch line-up… And it’s a PSN title, priced at just AU$11.95.

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Review: Capcom vs SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 (Dreamcast)

In the late 90s, fighting game crossovers were all the rage. In fact, for a few years into the 00s, crossover titles were fairly common, at least in the Capcom stable. To some degree, there has been a bit of a resurgence at present, what with Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, and the upcoming Street Fighter vs Tekken, but nothing can compare to the number of titles released ten years ago…

 

And this? This was one of them. Released only on arcade and Dreamcast originally, Capcom vs SNK: Millenium Fight 2000 (developed by Capcom) – to my knowledge, at least – came and went somewhat quietly.Then again, I wasn’t an avid fan of either Capcom or SNK at the time, so perhaps I just missed it.

With characters from Capcom titles (Street Fighter) battling characters from SNK (King of Fighters), players could select a team of one to four characters from multiple streams (weighted depending on overall strength), and could select fighting rules according to “grooves” (either an SNK groove based on KoF ’94 – ’98 or a Capcom groove based on SF Alpha). Yes – it was overcomplicated, and I’m sure my lazy explanation above did  nothing to help you, but it doesn’t matter. None of the finer details meant anything to me, at least.  I simply choose a couple of characters, and fought valiantly (I like the odd fighting game, but I’m no pro). Continue reading

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Review: Syndicate (Jaguar)

Syndicate, released in 1993 by Bullfrog, was a kind of action-strategy set in a sci-fi universe, and was fairly well received by game critics at the time. In the game, the world is run by a number of competing corporations (syndicates), and it’s your particular company’s goal to take control. As such, you take on missions in the various regions of the world (countries to you and me), and deploy a team of four operatives to achieve a set goal.

The main game utilises an isometric view, and you can direct your team either individually, or as a whole, depending on how you think the mission is best tackled. The game plays itself out in real-time as you navigate your team around the city streets looking for your target.

The beauty, though, lay in the detail – not only could you choose which operatives to send out (from a list), but you could also choose what equipment each individual took on the mission, or even what cybernetic enhancements each individual had applied (to make them faster, more accurate, etc.). On top of this, you could invest some of your earnings into researching various technologies (primarily weapons and cybernetic enhancements), which injects a kind of RPG quality into the title. Continue reading

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Review: Rez (Dreamcast)

Early this Millennium, legendary Japanese video game designer/producer Testsuya Mizuguchi had a dream to create a game that tapped into the idea of synaesthesia – essentially a scientific term referring to the experience of differing sensations to what should be expected (e.g., “seeing” sounds – this is a VERY loose description of the phenomenon). Rez was the result.

Essentially an on-rails shooter, you control a computer avatar in cyberspace, shooting down foes to eventually take down the enemy AI. It’s a beautiful-looking game, everything is “drawn” in polygons, giving the title a very retro, kind of Tron-style feel. The interesting gameplay element that has been included here is a method by which you “tag” enemies before you take them down (so shooting is somewhat more detached or passive).

The music that accompanies the game involves some sublime electronic beats, which are supplemented by your actions within the game. Everything you do, every foe you tag, every bullet you fire and target you hit will cause the game to produce a sound – which ingeniously synchronises with the in-game music. In this way, Mizuguchi somewhat achieves his goal for synaesthesia. In fact, he also created a … ahem … vibrating peripheral to go along with the title. Essentially just a vibrating box that players could put in their pocket or… wherever… so they could feel the game as much as they heard and saw it.

OK – it only works to a degree, and it can be argued that it’s more synchronicity than synaesthesia, but still, it can be fairly mind-blowing when it all comes together… Continue reading

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Review: Tetris (Game Boy)

Tetris. A game that has likely been ported and adapted and reimagined so many times it’s beyond ridiculous, but there’s always one version that most gamers remember fondly – the one packed in for free with the original Game Boy. In fact, even Alexey Pajitnov, who CREATED Tetris in 1984, said that the Game Boy version was his favourite, mentioning that it was very close to his orginal version… Quite the praise.
If you’ve never played Tetris before – welcome to Planet Earth! Essentially a simple puzzle game, the player guides various shapes down a 2D pit, and tries to fit them together at the bottom. If the player can complete a line without any breaks, that line will disappear, and the player is awarded points. The game ends when the pieces pile up to the top of the pit.
One of the most memorable things about this game (apart from how deceptively simple EVERYTHING is – from the graphics to the gameplay) is the title song. Linked below for your enjoyment. Continue reading

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