Posts Tagged ‘XBLA’

For a few years I’ve been hearing about this game called Retro City Rampage. When I read about the game and took a look at the screenshots the first thought that popped into my head was “So this is what the Grand Theft Auto games would look like if they were on the NES.” Being the Grand Theft Auto fan that I am, I was rather intrigued with what Retro City Rampage had to offer. I couldn’t wait to play this game. It took a few years and a lot of patience, but it has finally arrived on Xbox Live Arcade. After about an hour of amusing gameplay I came to the conclusion that Retro City Rampage may have some elements of a Grand Theft Auto game, but GTA it is not! It’s actually much better than that.

PROS:

Grand Theft Auto Elements
While Retro City Rampage is not a complete GTA clone it does however have some elements of a typical GTA game. Jacking vehicles, the law meter, and the fun ability of causing absolute mayhem. The world of Theftropolis basically looks like what the early Grand Theft Auto games looked and played like before going the three dimensional route GTA 3. The top down perspective is a nostalgic blast from the past plus a lot of fun to explore. I took my character (simply named “Player”) and traveled the city streets scouting out locations and enjoying the old school 8-bit scenery as well as rampaging through the streets in my car running over helpless pedestrians.

Tons Of Video Game and Pop Culture References
Retro City Rampage is a hodgepodge of various video game and pop culture references mixed into one exciting game. While exploring the city of Theftropolis I came across some great references including Back To The Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Legend of Zelda, Saved By The Bell, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Meat Boy, Pitfall, and so much more. These references I mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg of what Retro City Rampage has to offer. One moment found myself donning a sword and shield like Link and walked through the streets bashing random civilians and trimming down bushes.

Over The Top Humor
The laughs are by the dozens, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the all the mayhem I was causing here in Theftropolis. Keep in the mind that the game is in fact one big comedic parody. While I was getting chased by the cops I passed by a sewer, and all of a sudden the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jumped out and chased me. I then pulled out my pistol and took them out, while on the run, netting me an achievement and five Gamerscore in the process. Priceless. Jumping on the heads of civilians while killing them and scoring points ala Super Mario Bros. Very funny. I even found a “Hot Coffee” (a reference to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) shop during my travels which drew a chuckle out of me. While causing mayhem I couldn’t help but laugh at all the over the top references and humorous things I could do, and the best part is that the game’s unique humor will never get old.

CONS:

Difficulty Spikes
Anyone remember that pain in the ass level on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game on the NES with the electrical seaweed. Well it’s back once again. When I saw the level I said “Oh shit. Not again!” Well that’s only one of quite a few difficulty spikes that take place during the main campaign. At times I felt that some of the missions I participated in were rather easy or just right, but every so often I have to do a mission where I’ll end up dying a lot. I think that maybe a better idea would’ve been to ramp things up slowly in the difficulty curve instead of shocking players at points.

No Checkpoints During Longer Missions
Some of the missions in Retro City Rampage can be quite long having multiple parts to complete. Well what do you think happens if you unfortunately die during that mission? Well…you start over. Ok, most retro games had this which at times was very frustrating so it should be no surprise to me that it would be in this game. Maybe I’ve become too accustomed to checkpoints in the more modern games. Well, it’s time for me to start memorizing once again so that I don’t accrue a ton of deaths.

IN CONCLUSION

For all the years I’ve had to wait, Retro City Rampage was worth it and then some. It feels nostalgic, and it has some moments of Grand Theft Auto, but it’s so much more. It’s a parody with tons of references along with some of the punishments that some retro games had. Even the options screen has some retro options in on screen presentation. The most important aspect is that Retro City Rampage is a fun and entertaining game with tons of missions and challenges that will keep the average player busy for hours. I will suggest downloading the demo first before making the purchase, because if you don’t understand the references then your going to have trouble enjoying the game.

Developer: VBlank Entertainment
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

Advertisements

GAME STATUS: Defeated Zhaka Mu and discovered the secret of the island.
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 16 out of 20 (320 Gamerscore)

For my original review on Zuma’s Revenge click HERE.

After washing up on a mysterious island it was up to my ball heaving frog to find out it’s dirty secret. After more than 60 levels that ranged from too easy to near frustration it became known to me that my frog was no longer alone. Of course that’s what the island natives told me. Ms. Zuma was my reward! A female companion, or maybe it’s PopCap Games revealing the next Zuma adventure along the lines of Ms. Pac-Man and Ms. Splosion Man. A female frog with balls coming out of her mouth solving color based puzzles. Did that sound right? Oh who cares…moving on.

Zuma’s Revenge was a big step up compared to the original game even though I was doing more of the same. Matching colored balls while avoiding the end of the line. Ok, so it sounds like your typical puzzle game, but Zuma’s Revenge is more involving than just solving a particular puzzle. The game had fun and challenging boss fights, using earned tokens to raise the levels of four different spirit animals, and a few unlockable game modes beyond the original adventure that hooked me in and made me want to keep playing just to see what comes up next.

Unlike most other puzzle games that I have played Zuma’s Revenge had an addiction factor that kept me playing. Factors that included achieving that high score, weekly challenges, and finding a way to get that last token or two on each level for the spirit animals. Of course there’s also the achievements for me to earn as well. No other puzzle game has been able to hook me in better than Zuma’s Revenge and that’s saying something. This addiction goes even further than my Xbox 360, because I also have this game on my iPhone and iPad.

WHAT OTHER SECRETS DOES THIS ISLAND HOLD?

Iron Frog, Boss Rush, Weekly Challenges, and the last four achievements to unlock. There’s still so much to do. It’s pretty obvious that my addiction to Zuma’s Revenge means that this game is staying put. The island has drew me in, and it will take more than finding my female frog companion to unlock all it’s secrets. The fog may have been lifted, but it’s time to venture further into the island. Time to play more Zuma’s Revenge.

Developer: PopCap Games
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

So my experience with The Walking Dead has mainly been with the television series on AMC. I know that the series is based on the comic book series, but I really don’t read comics. As for zombies, well my experience with them dates back to when I was a young zombie slayer through my ever expanding imagination from reading books and watching movies. Yes, I had cool parents who let me watch Rated “R” movies. Currently, I get my zombie fix from the first two seasons of the television series on Blu-ray, but when I learned that The Walking Dead (based on the comic books) was coming to Xbox 360 I really got excited. Then there was the part where I found out that there were five episodes with one releasing each month. I thought that sucked, because I’m sure the anticipation to see what happens next drove everyone crazy. Well I decided to wait until all five episodes were available so I can just play them all without the agonizing wait in between. Well let me tell you that the long wait was worth every minute.

PROS:

Lee Everett
From a convicted felon to a near father figure for young Clementine, my experience playing as main protagonist Lee Everett was amazing. Probably the best character I’ve ever played due to the fact that all his actions and decisions were based on my choices. Like a choose your own adventure book, I helped shape what Lee would eventually become, and I’m quite satisfied with the results whether I wanted to be somewhat of a good man or a complete asshole and not give a shit. This is the zombie apocalypse by the way. Making friends, along with trusting others, can be a little tough especially considering that I’m taking care of a little girl who just wants to get back to her family.

For Clementine
Other than Lee, Clementine plays such a key role in the actions I chose to partake in. She may be a little girl that I’m protecting, but when you think about it she can also be quite impressionable. Killing the “Walkers” or even certain people can come at a price especially if Clementine is around when it happens. For example: I took a hammer and beat the former babysitter’s head in a few times and Clementine watched in horror as it happened. The screen said that she will remember it. This sort of had me second guessing about how I choose to kill, because I surely didn’t want to scar her for life. Then again it is the zombie apocalypse right? For me it was all about keeping Clementine alive, and I did just that through my adventure.

The Story And Overall Atmosphere
I really liked the point and click style of storytelling that Telltale Games uses. Coming from some of their previous games I played including Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures and Sam and Max Save the World, The Walking Dead was more of a shock to me. I never thought I’d see Telltale make a game on a more “mature” angle, but they pulled it off perfectly. Sure the graphics may resemble something on the lines of a Saturday morning cartoon, but the game’s theme is far from it especially with moments where I blew a cop’s head off with a shotgun, and watching Walkers devour people piece by piece. The best part is that Telltale Games kept to the series’ dark-sided roots. I also liked how they incorporated new characters to the series like they were always there as well as seeing a few regulars along for the ride including Hershel Greene and Glenn.

Decisions, Decisions
What makes this game so unique is the tough decisions I had to make. Who do I choose to align myself with? This determines how characters reacted to me. The most important decision was the tough choice deciding on who lives and who dies? That decision alone shapes the overall course of the game. I always wondered whether I was making the right choices, because I could really feel the weight of the decision and the pain that Lee Everett suffers through. Later on, when an episode ends, I get to see a board with the overall community’s decisions just to see if other people agreed with me. Now I wonder what happens if I went in the other direction. I smell replay value.

CONS:

Easy Achievements
I’m really disappointed with the overall easiness of earning achievements in this game. Just completing each episode gave me all the available achievements. Sure the achievement whore in me is quite happy as I add another game to the completion list, but I what I really wanted was some sort of extra challenge on some of the achievements making that “Achievement Unlocked” tone more worthy of attaining. Hopefully Telltale Games works on that for Season 2.

The Long Wait For Season 2
I now understand the anticipation that gamers had when anxiously awaiting new episodes every month. I waited for five months just to get all the episodes, and now I have to wait even longer for the next season to come along just to see where the story goes next. I feel your pain everyone, because waiting sucks.

IN CONCLUSION

Sure it’s a point and click game, but The Walking Dead feels like it’s so much more. Left 4 Dead it is not. The Walking Dead is a game filled with amazing storytelling, character development, intense drama, and tough decision making. Basically what this boils down to is an amazing experience that should not be missed by anyone. I enjoyed my time with this game and I plan on revisiting the drama and horror again and again. The Walking Dead is a definite must buy for any fan of the series whether it’s the comic books or the television series. Maybe it’s time for me to read those comic books as well.

Developer: Telltale Games
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 2000 Microsoft Points ($25.00)

Call me a sucker for everything retro. When I heard that Midway Arcade Origins was coming to Xbox 360 I knew that I had to get it. Of course every time they offered a compilation of old school classics I ended up buying it no matter what console I had at the time, and Midway‘s retro offerings have been whored out on all of them to date. Sure nothing has changed since the time when I played most of these games back in the ’80s and early ’90s except for the fact is that this time there’s achievements. Challenge accepted! Now where do I insert the virtual tokens?

PROS:

More Than 30 Classic Games
Actually there are 31 games which solidifies the more than 30 games message in the advertising. Some of the games I really enjoyed including Smash TV, Total Carnage, Defender, Sinistar, Joust, Arch Rivals, Rampage, and more. Of course there’s some games in this collection that I wish would just die. Yes, I’m talking to you Pit Fighter and Spy Hunter 2. Overall this compilation of old school classics is quite enjoyable giving me some nostalgic memories of days gone by. This collection also has multiple ways of playing with Free Play where I can keep entering virtual quarters and play as long as I want, and Score Attack which only gives me a set number of lives. Score Attack is also the only way to unlock each game’s achievement.

CONS:

Terrible Controls
For a collection of games that have been faithfully emulated you would think a tweak or two in the control department would help. Sadly, that is not the case here. The main problems show up on titles that used trackball and steering wheel controls. The analog stick is the only alternative, but on games like Championship Sprint and even Marble Madness it can prove to be quite a pain in the ass to control. I’ve also noticed a slight hiccup issue with the analog controls in Smash TV. I don’t get it. The controls work great on the XBLA version. Why not on this one?

No Online Multiplayer
Multiplayer is included with Midway Arcade Origins in the form of couch multiplayer, but I think this collection would be even better with some form of online multiplayer. The games that were available on Xbox Live Arcade, before their delisting, had online multiplayer making for some fun. Sadly, the only online functionality this set has is online leaderboards. Maybe the thought of being number one on the leaderboards is enough for some people since the days of these games was achieving a high score. Then there are games like Rampage, Arch Rivals, and others that are much better with some competition both online and on the couch.

Missing Games
While Midway Arcade Origins features an eclectic collection of games there are a few titles that have been omitted. Where’s NARC? It’s on all the other collections, but not here. Why? How about Pigskin 621 A.D.? Arch Rivals is here, why not this one? Primal Rage? Hydro Thunder? I could go on and on. Some people out there on the internet message boards have even mentioned the Mortal Kombat games. I guess they haven’t noticed yet, but those games are in one “Kollection” on Xbox Live Arcade. Hopefully WB Games has plans on a follow up down the road, because there are so many titles for at least another release.

IN CONCLUSION

Midway Arcade Origins clearly fills the need for retro gamers like myself with a nice compilation of classic titles, but the control issues on some games along with the omission of other titles sort of hurts it. Some of these games are fun for a long time, but there are others that have aged so badly that I’ll just play to earn the achievement and then steer clear of them forever. This is a collection for serious retro gaming fans. Everyone else (especially those born after the early ’90s) should give it at least a rental just to see what gaming was like in the early days.

Developer: WB Games
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-2 (local multiplayer)
Price: $29.99

GAME STATUS: Made my last stand against the Shadows
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 23 OUT OF 30 (255 Gamerscore)

For my original review on Deadlight click HERE.

The Shadows, The New Law, The Ratman. These are just a few of my encounters that took place in the streets of Seattle in 1986. A city filled with the undead and a select few trying to survive against all odds. The New Law however had other plans and Randall Wayne wanted no part of it. Everyday was a battle for survival and the hope to find his family only to find out that Randall killed his wife and daughter a while back so that they wouldn’t join the ranks of the undead. I think I’ll file this as one of those M. Night Shyamalan plot twists.

Deadlight was a game that reminded me a lot of Limbo. There was plenty of platforming that sometimes drove me batshit crazy when I died…a lot. The jumping mechanics were not completely solid as I would miss the spot to jump to by just a hair and die. That sucked, but then again Deadlight classifies itself as one of those trial and error games so I stuck with it no matter how frustrated I got especially during the Ratman act where your doing tons of jumps, avoiding wall saws, and solving puzzles using a slingshot just so he can tell you to find his son.

As for the weapons, well I have to say that they’re somewhat useful. The fire axe is very trusty when your in a grind, but the guns on the other hand are only as good as when ammo is nearby. Clearing a horde of zombies may not work so well either, because Deadlight is not a game about killing. It’s more about survival or lack thereof at the end when I made my last stand helping my final survivor escape.

WELL I MADE MY FINAL STAND. IS THERE RESURRECTION IN MY IMMEDIATE FUTURE?

Other than the handheld games, serial killer IDs, and diary entries to collect I don’t see another playthrough at all. Deadlight was a fun game while it lasted, but the plot won’t surprise me anymore. The Rat levels drove me crazy enough in that Limbo sort of sense. Plus there were times where I would fall through the ground and run through the air in a game crashing glitch. With all that said I’ll let Randall Wayne’s final stand be known as heroic, and let Deadlight rest in peace deleted from my hard drive.

Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

Seattle. July 4, 1986. 185 days after the infection. The zombie apocalypse is well underway. Every day becomes a battle for survival against insurmountable odds. Do I continue on with my search for hope, or just put a bullet in my head and end the misery? Wait a minute! How many of these apocalyptic nightmare games have I been a part of? Way too many I suppose, but who cares. Bring on the zombies! Now where was I? Oh yeah, I’m struggling to survive to hopefully one day reunite with my family.

With no cure for the infection and no hope in sight, Randall Wayne goes on his endless search for hope. His urge to find his family is his only motivation for survival against the “shadows.” That’s the term used for the dark, red eyed menace that populate the streets of Seattle and are ready to ravage my corpse if I fail. The shadows are everywhere. Just when I think that the rotted mound of flesh on the ground is just another dead body it will end up being the one coming after me. The shadows aren’t the only problem in town. There’s also a faction called “The New Law” that seems to have their own agenda as well.

Deadlight, from Tequila Works, brings me back to a rather familiar territory…zombies. Sure it’s another apocalypse, but this time things feel a little different than what I’ve went through many times before. Most of the time it’s me putting round after round into the heads of the undead leaving them in a bloody mess. Deadlight is a little different as it’s more about surviving. There is the occasional weapon here and there which allow me to dish out some zombie justice, but ammo is limited and stamina becomes an issue. Sometimes it’s better to run from the danger rather than face it head on.

Playing as a 2D/3D side scrolling platformer, Deadlight channels memories of when I played the trial and error nightmare of Limbo especially when I reached the second act featuring a character known as “The Rat.” Running and jumping was more important than shooting and melee attacks as I reached for new heights. Sometimes I failed a jump or twos which led me to my death as I was impaled by spikes, but after a while I got the mechanics down making the game a tad easier while still dying here and there. At least when I died I would revive at the last checkpoint due to my ability of the unlimited continue.

The zombified shadows reminded me of walkers in The Walking Dead which is quite creepy. I never knew if a person was alive or undead as I walked past them. Then the chill set in as they got up and started to chase me down. Good thing these shadows are rather dumb as I would solve a random puzzle here and there to do things like electrify them, cause them to fall to their deaths from a deep hole in the ground, and even drop a heavy object or two on them. Watching the shadows die was pretty satisfying and even drew a chuckle from me. As for The New Law? Well that’s a challenge in itself especially when they have a chopper and they’re shooting at me.

Unique visuals reminiscent of Shadow Complex, graphic novel presentation, tough as hell platforming, plenty of collectibles to find, easy to earn achievements based on popular ’80s songs, and a few plot twists that had me saying “What the fuck!” Deadlight clearly is a game that is far from perfect, but it does have just enough to keep me interested in the 2-3 hours that it takes to beat the game.

Developer: Tequila Works
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

GAME STATUS: Completed and won on multiple game modes
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 8 out of 12 (90 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition click HERE.

I crossed through rush hour traffic. I braved the raging rivers. I survived diving turtles, crocs, otters, and snakes. I even got foggy style with some female frogs as I took them to my lily pad across the river. Frogger is classic and fun, but will the Hyper Arcade Edition join Pac-Man Championship Edition as an awesome remake? Well here’s my post thoughts.

In the early going, I was impressed with the new version of the classic Frogger. Zombie Studios brought the classic gameplay (which I loved) and upgraded the look even going as far as creating theme options based on Konami classics Castlevania, Contra, and Dance Dance Revolution. These new themes were nice to play for a game or two, but lost their luster after that as I moved back to the original look. The music selection was pretty good with some electronic and dubstep beats giving me an extra hop to my step as I rocked my way to the lily pads.

As for the other gameplay modes. Well just like the classic themes they only hold their value for just a few games and become completely forgettable later. Games modes like Battle Royale, Paint, and Tile Capture get really boring after awhile. I did assign bots for some sort of challen ge, but I got none. It became too easy. What would’ve made this better would be some sort of online multiplayer which would keep anyone playing for an extra week or two. Couch multiplayer and bot play can only do so much.

DO I CONTINUE TO RISK BECOMING POSSIBLE ROADKILL?

Frogger was a lot of fun in my earlier gaming days, but now it doesn’t feel quite the same to me. Don’t get me wrong I’ll still play the classic arcade game (which I still have on my hard drive), but the Pac-Man Championship Edition style makeover was not really needed. It’s just one Frogger version too many yet I have four versions of Pac-Man on my hard drive. Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition was fun while it lasted, but it’s not a game that’s going to stay on my hard drive. Consider this frog retired and the game deleted.

Developer: Konami, Zombie Studios
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-4 (Local Multiplayer)
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)