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Is Pac-Man (Atari 2600) really that bad?

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Keeping with the theme of my last two articles, it’s time to tackle another poorly rated game. The arcade Pac-Man is probably one of my favorite Coin-Op games. But, the 2600 home port is something to be desired. As I’ve found with both ET 2600, and Sonic ’06, bad games aren’t really as bad as many say they are. But, we’re only half way through the bad game list. Here is my “review worst games thingy”, with the game Pac-Man: on the Atari 2600!

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The gameplay is very similar to the arcade game. But, if you’ve lived under a rock for at least 30 years, here is a recap: you eat pellets, travel around a maze and avoid ghosts. There are bigger pellets, that turn you super. This means you can eat ghosts.

But, porting an arcade game to an inferior system never ends well. In this game, Pac-Man eats wafers, the game only displays one ghost at one time so the ghosts flicker, and a poorly designed maze. But, we all expected modified graphics and level layouts. But the ghost flickering is not excusable.

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But, I can’t really complain about the game as much as other games (say ET, or the next game that I will review next week). The reason is that there is another Pac-Man game on the Atari 2600. This game is Ms Pac-Man. If you really wanted a Pac-Man game on the 2600, just go for Ms Pac-Man.

However, this is a review of Pac-Man 2600, and not Ms Pac-Man. Is this game fun? The result is similar to Sonic ’06, and ET: the games are fun, but only when reviewing, Let’s Playing, or with a friend. You wouldn’t go back to play this game, as there are better games. But, it’s still …

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Is Sonic The Hedgehog (Sonic ’06) Really That Bad?

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Last week I wrote about ET being counted as “the worst game of all time”. This week, I decided to try and tackle another game that is hated by many; Sonic ’06. Many call this “the worst Sonic game”, and “if you like it, you must be crazy”. But, is it really as bad as people say? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the story: Why did they decide to make the story this bad? I would usually try and explain the story, but this story is so putrid, so bad, that I just can’t. I have no idea who thought this story was good. This story is also so convoluted, that it would take over 9000 years to explain. If you want to see the story in it’s entirety, watch Sonic ’06 The Movie. Actually, scratch that. The story sucks, and you shouldn’t go and watch it.

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The graphics look a lot like an early PS3/360 game. But, they decided to put the anthropomorphic characters inside a “realistic” world. Most of the main animal characters (Sonic, Tails, Silver, ect) have mediocre models with poor animations. The humans are very bland, and have terrible models AND animations. So the graphics are pretty meh.

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The music is some of the best in the whole series. Seriously, even if you hate the Sonic franchise, you still need to hear the music. The world tracks and atmospheric tracks are both amazing. Just listen to the music. Please. It’s one of the main things you should own from this game.

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The gameplay is very similar to Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. There are 3 main hedgehogs that you can play as, with 3 slightly different move-sets. These are Sonic (obviously), Shadow and newcomer Silver the Hedgehog. The levels are different, so you won’t get bored.

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However, it wouldn’t

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Is ET Really the “Worst Game of All Time”?

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When browsing the internet for games to avoid, you will find many people who will say E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is the “worst game of all time“, and you should avoid at all costs. But, is the game really that bad? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the graphics. For the 2600, it is pretty good. While everything looks green, it isn’t blinding, and you wouldn’t have moaned back when it was made. I will say that I prefer the simpler graphics of other 2600 games, because they are more streamlined. But this game isn’t that bad.

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There is no music, except the title screen music that is pretty ear-grating. The sound effects are mediocre; when you walk around, it is just noise. But, the noise isn’t that bad, as it is at a pitch that isn’t deafening.

The gameplay is pretty good, especially as the game was rushed. The objective is to collect three pieces of a telephone, so ET can call home. The pieces are randomly scattered throughout pits. If you walk too much, you will run out of energy and “die?”. It’s not explained what happens when you run out of energy, ET just collapses.

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To get out a pit, ET uses it’s neck to levitate out of a hole. It makes no sense, but what did you expect? Avoid the other people, as they will steal your phone pieces. When you collect three pieces of the telephone, you have to call home when nobody is onscreen.

So, the answer to the question: Is ET really the worst game of all time? I’d say no; while the game is mildly fun, it’s not a masterpiece. But, it is not as bad as other games. (Crazy Bus anyone? What about Big Rigs?) …

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Crash Bandicoot Review

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Crash Bandicoot is counted as one of the most influential video games of the original PlayStation era. Crash had many great games during his hay-day, but the multiplatform games (that came afterwards) were mediocre. But, this article is only about the first game. Was it as good as Mario and Sonic? Let’s find out!

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Crash Bandicoot is a 3D platformer that was created back in 1996. This game was developed by Naughty Dog (they would continue developing the games until 1999). This games codename was “Sonic’s Ass Game”, meaning they wanted to make a 3D platformer to rival the 3D Sonic that was in development hell.

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Crash Bandicoot is set on 3 islands that are south-east of Australia. These islands are all owned by Dr Neo Cortex, the villan of this game. With help from Dr Nitrus Brio, he creates a Evolvo-Ray that turns animals into beasts with superhuman strengths. He wants to make a peaceful bandicoot named Crash into the leader for his army. Cortex uses a “Cortex Vortex” to put him under his control. It doesn’t work (what a surprise) and Crash escapes. Cortex decides to use a female bandicoot instead of Crash (this bandicoot is named Tawna). Crash has to save her.

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We all know how this story goes. Care to sing along? “Princess Peachy is captured, Mario save her! Same with the Crash, just bash Cortex!” (not the best song ever, but sums up my reaction to the story). This is very similar to Mario and Sonic. An evil scientist capturing animals is Dr EggButNik, and saving a female character (in this case a female bandicoot) is Mario. Could have been a little more subtle, but oh well.

Instead of starting with gameplay (that will be left to the end, as I’ve got a lot to say), let’s start …

Top Gear Rally Review

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Where do I start with this game? It is such a strange combination of good and bad, that it is interesting to play. But, is this game good, or worse than mouldy bread that you left in your bread bin? Let’s find out!

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Let’s start with the plot. There is none. Didn’t expect that, did you? You did? Anyway, this is just a racing game, where you race against other drivers. That’s it. The full plot. Nothing wrong with it though, as a racing game doesn’t need to be about saving a princess.

The game play is the same as every other racing game; drive around a track, and overtake other players. We all know how a racing game works.

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The graphics are mediocre. If you compare it to other 3D games on the N64, it isn’t anything special, and it is worse than other games. However, if you compare it to 2D games, this game looks amazing. But, this was for the N64. So, they aren’t great graphics, but they are much better than other games (on older systems) that came before it.

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The controls are also mediocre. They control fine, but there is one problem; they are exaggerated massively. By this, I mean that if it you are playing the game, a slight tap of the analogue stick will send you in a 360 degrees turn.

However, the controls make the game very fun to play. It makes it hilarious to go and spin off the tracks. Yes, this is bad design, but you cannot help laughing at the results.

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The music is really good, and can rival some of the best video game music.  You would listen to these tracks in your spare time.

One problem with the game is with it’s name; why relate it to …

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Sonic Eraser Review

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Didn’t expect this obscure game, did you? Sonic Eraser is a game that was exclusively for the MegaNet service. However, this game seems to be more of a cheap tie-in game, and doesn’t live up to the quality of the original trilogy. Also, this game makes a great game for Valentines Day (that’s actually a lie; don’t give your Sega fangirl wife this game, because there are better games than this). So, in this article, I will review Sonic Eraser.

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The first thing to point out is the game is in Japanese. But, it is also in English. The instructions/How to play screen is in Japanese, and there isn’t an option to turn it to English. But for the UI, some of it is in English (like text that says “1 Player” and “2 Player”).

There is no story for this game (as far as I can tell). I can’t read all of the Japanese text, so I cannot be sure about this. With all I know about Hiragana, and a mix of Google Translate, the pages in the title book include the controls, the gameplay and the credits, but no story.

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The gameplay is a mix between Tetris and Columns. You can’t rotate the blocks, you can only change the order of them, and move them left and right. When they land, they are affected by gravity. This is a nice change from other games, but it’s nothing revolutionary.

The graphics in this game are alright. It uses some sprites from the main games, but the new graphics (like the new UI or the blocks). I wouldn’t say it looks as good and vibrant as Sonic 1 or Sonic 2, but it doesn’t look terrible like Sonic 3D: Flickies Island. They hold up, only for the …

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Castlevania – Symphony of the Night Review

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I did not expect this game to be so fun. Castlevania – Symphony of the Night is one of the best games for the PS1. And the PS1 is home to some of the greatest games of all time! So, without further ado, here is my Castlevania review!

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Let’s start with the plot; this game begins after the previous game. Four years later, Richter has gone missing. So, Alucard travels to the castle. Inside, he meets Dracula’s servant (his name is Death), who wants him to stop his quest, and wants him to destroy the castle. Death strips Alucard of his weapons. So, you are on a quest to find Richter.

The story is pretty good. I expected something less complicated, but the story complements the game nicely. Could the story have been improved? Only if they had recapped what happened in the previous game. It is a lot like most RPGs; you have to play the previous games to understand the story. But, it is still fun, even if you don’t pay attention to the story.

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The music is amazing. These tracks are songs that you may listen to while working on other projects, or in the background of YouTube videos. They are really well composed, and as a result, they sound amazing to the ear. Even if you don’t like Castlevania, you should still go and check out the soundtrack.

Graphics-wise, this game looks beautiful. This is especially important, as the PS1 had a lower resolution than the rest of the consoles. So, this game really shows off what the PS1 can do. And, just for that reason alone, it makes this game superior to many other PS1 games. The graphics are a mix between 2D and 3D; the main part of the game is 2D, while some …

Best of 2014 Quick Picks

With 2014 firmly closed, here are our quick picks for the best games of the year!

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@LucasMadWorld:  “I’ll have to go with Little Big Planet 3. It took a while to get used to the new features, but the objectives system was good…I liked the new characters, the graphics were very good, and I liked how you could import LBP1 stuff into it.”

@Sprodigy:  “Wolfenstein:  The New Order really surprised me.  Hangs right up there with Half-Life 2 as one of the best FPS’ of all-time in my opinion.”

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@MNEPodcast:  “Telltale’s Walking Dead Season 2

@RazielKane:  “Dragon Age: Inquistion – epic, immersive story”

@VidyaBum:  “For me, easily Shovel Knight. A breath of fresh air in a year mired by some crappy AAA disappointments.”

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Underrated Retro Store:  “Probably Mario Kart 8 for Cassie, and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire for Tom!”

@NES_Dudes:  “(Michael) I’m going to have to go with Mario Kart 8. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had playing a newer game in years.”

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@DignifiedBeard:  “Super Smash Bros. for WiiU: 8-player, online play that works, best multiplayer, Amiibo, trophies, & limitless fun.”

 

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Sonic The Hedgehog Review (MegaDrive)

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Now that I have talked about the Beta of Sonic 1, I can review the actual game! So, yes, Sonic The Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive; this is an awesome game. I own the game multiple times. However, this review will only incorporate the Megadrive version. No ports will be used, as some are different (cough cough Sonic Genesis for the GBA, I’m looking at you).

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Let’s talk about the story first; Dr Robotnik (or Eggman as the Japanese version states) is taking little woodland creatures and shoving them into evil robots. He wants to take over the world, and is turning everything into factories. This is bad, and only Sonic The Hedgehog can stop him. The story is pretty good, especially when, at the time, platformers only had stories about princesses in the wrong castle.

Let’s talk about the controls and physics first; these are amazing! The physics are really good, especially when you are running around loops, or jumping over hazards. The controls complement the physics perfectly. With these two things, you get a game with some of the best gameplay elements ever. It is really good, and words cannot describe how the game plays.

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The graphics are either vibrant, like in Green Hill Zone, or dark and mysterious (like Scrap Brain Zone Acts 1 & 2). The graphics complement the game very well, and only a few times was I moaning about the graphics looking out of place (this was mainly Marble Zone, where it looks strange. I’m not sure what it is, but it looks really strange).

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The music is amazing. It enhances the game a lot, and you get music that could compare to the SNES music. However, some sound effects may get rid of one of the sound channels. This is annoying; I …

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Mega Man 2 Review

I’ve been looking forward to reviewing Megaman 2 for a while. While the first game was mediocre, this sequel was one of the best games in the series. And this series has had many great games! (Though they still couldn’t get the box art right!)

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Let’s start with the two games that are named Megaman 2 (also known as Rockman 2 in Japan). You have the original NES version of Megaman 2, and you’ve also got Megaman: the Wily Wars. These games are both the same, the only exception is that the Megadrive game is a 16 bit compilation, while Megaman 2 is the original. Since they are nearly identical, I will be reviewing & playing both of the games in this one review.

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The story takes place after the original Megaman game. Dr Wily has built a new fortress, and a new army of robot henchmen. Defeat him. The story isn’t “Attack of the Mutant Penguins”, but what is? But, in all seriousness, the story is pretty good for an NES game. I can’t really complain.

The physics are pretty good. They are quite similar to Mario and Sonic games, but they aren’t as good. The jumping is very strange. You get used it after a while, though you can still notice the poor jumping physics while playing. Overall, not great physics, but not as bad as Super Mario Land for the GameBoy.

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Graphic-wise, this game is amazing for both an NES game, and a Megadrive game. The NES version has retro graphics that fit with the whole game style. The Genesis port has updated graphics, though it still has that Megaman style. Overall, very impressive graphics.

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The music in this game complements the gameplay nicely. Sadly, you don’t really listen to it while playing, as you are really …