Posts Tagged ‘XBLA’

As a child I learned the hard way that I would never become a professional skateboarder. That was alright with me considering the fact that I can escape all the bumps, bruises, and the occasional broken bone or two. While I wasn’t able to skate in the real world, I was able to do it in the virtual world with the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series on the Playstation, Playstation 2, and Dreamcast. These games allowed me to do anything along with breaking a few in game body parts which was a lot of fun. Now they’re back once again.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is back! Better yet it’s all in glorious HD! Activision and Robomodo revived the classic formula and gave fans like myself a collection of the best levels from the first two games in the series. DLC will soon be on the way in the next month and will feature the best of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 (with reverts). Hopefully will see some more DLC beyond that with levels from THPS 4.

When I first fired up the game I went right to the infamous Warehouse level and the nostalgia in me hit an all time high. Immediately I rode down the ramp, jumped over the pipe, smashed through the glass, and then landed flat on my ass. That sucked! After that I picked up my broken body, jumped on the board and went at it again and scored a nice combo. Once I completed my first run, I started to get used to the controls and then started to plan out a strategy to complete the objectives. Scoring a set number of points, spelling out S-K-A-T-E, and locating the hidden DVD. This is just a small sampling of the many things I can accomplish, and now they give me a map of their locations. I like this!

I also liked the music selection. Jamming to songs like “Superman” from Goldfinger, “Bring The Noise” from Public Enemy and Anthrax, and “When Worlds Collide” from Powerman 5000 while skating through levels was a blast. Half the soundtrack is back along with the addition of some brand new tracks that all seem to fit right in with the action. I did enjoy “We The People” from Lateef The Truthspeaker and “USA” from Middle Class Rut.

Multiplayer is handled pretty well with some fun game modes. I really enjoyed the Big Head matches where my character’s head would grow to ultra enormous size and explode in confetti unless I performed tricks.I got a lot of laughs out of it watching giant headed characters performing tricks just to stay alive. I also enjoyed the score attack mode which brought in some good competition online. What pissed me off was the lack of local split screen action. C’mon guys the original game had it making it fun with friends on the couch with a few beers.

While it’s not a perfect game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD brought back plenty of memories of the past even if it’s missing some of the original skaters and split screen multiplayer. Add on to fact that there’s hours and hours of addicting gameplay once you get used to the controls making the game a must buy for old school Tony Hawk fans along with anyone looking for a fun game to play.

Developer: Activision, Robomodo
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-4 (Online Multiplayer)
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

Back in 2005, it addicted me. Seven years later, I’m back for more. PopCap Games made a sequel to the addicting puzzle game Zuma, and this time revenge is on their mind. Revenge for what? Addiction? Lost employee production at the workplace? I really don’t know, but what I do know is that our amphibian hero is back, he’s got balls, and he’s not afraid to use them.

Zuma’s Revenge continues once again on the same color ball matching puzzle adventure. Not much has changed except for the scenery. Gone are the tombs and in is the lush jungle scenery of this unique tropical island. Unfortunately, the natives don’t take to kindly to the frog coming to their home, and are plotting a scheme to eat him. Well I can’t let the natives make frog legs out of me so it looks like there is one thing left to do…bring on the puzzles!

Just like the previous game, Zuma’s Revenge plays out as a “match three” puzzle game where I would match at least three balls of one color. Once that is accomplished the balls disappear and I repeat the same action until I cleared each stage. Sounds simple right? Well that’s because it is, however Zuma is a tough game to master. Levels will get much harder leaving very little room for error. Power-ups also come into play featuring score multipliers, bombs, laser beams, tri-shots, and even flow reversal. Each of the power-ups, along with some various chain reaction combos, offer a new sense of strategy as well as helping me finish a level in one piece.

New to Zuma’s Revenge is boss battles which in a way reminds me of the old school classic Space Invaders. All I needed to do is clear the balls in the way of the boss and fire. I like the addition because it really breaks up the monotony of puzzle action. Also new is the addition of Spirit Animals which changes the dynamic of the game in terms of power-ups and other bonuses happening more frequently by earning Spirit Tokens to level them up for even more bonuses. More bonuses lead to higher scores and more tokens to spend.

Zuma’s Revenge is more than just a basic puzzle game. It’s an addiction. Every time I play I work myself into a frenzy just to get that high score or move deeper in the game. Well Popcap added some extra game modes to keep me playing for a log time. Weekly Challenges for scoring, Boss Rush which is pretty self explanatory, and Iron Frog for the hardcore Zuma players. There’s plenty to do here in Zuma’s Revenge to keep me hooked for months and years to come making the 800 Microsoft Point ($10.00) asking price well worth it.

Considering the fact that I have this game on multiple platforms, including the iPad & iPhone, I really seem to enjoy Zuma’s Revenge on Xbox Live Arcade even more. With the multitude of game modes Zuma’s Revenge has, it’s safe to assume that this game will be more than just filler between shooters and racing games. Zuma’s Revenge is hardcore within itself which makes it a game for more than just casual players. Zuma’s Revenge is awesome as well as highly addictive. This means everyone should download this game right now.

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

Why did the frog cross the road?

Thirty years later, we’re still answering that question on why a frog is crazy enough to hop through rush hour traffic and a river filled with logs and alligators all for the prize of a casual lily pad. Maybe even a female frog to share it with. Love sure makes a frog go wild now doesn’t it. Then again the same goes for humens and the classic arcade game. Just ask George Costanza from Seinfeld.

Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition, from Konami and Zombie Studios, takes the classic game I loved since the arcade and Atari 2600 days and gives it a Pac-Man Championship Edition style upgrade. I went into this game with rather low expectations thinking that the game might suck, but after a couple of hours trying out all the different game modes I started to get hooked. This game is a lot better than I thought.

Sticking to the classic formula, Frogger will have you crossing the street and raging river to the lily pad. Sure the classic gameplay is fun, but this Hyper Edition has so much more to offer. New to the game is Challenge Mode, Tile Capture, Battle Royale, Lady Frog Rescue, Paint, Twin Frogger and Frogger Freak Out. Other than the single player game the Hyper Arcade Edition features plenty of local or CPU controlled bots in mulltiplayer action. My favorites included Tile Capture with tons of frantic action and Battle Royale with some Frogger style deathmatch action. Paint is also good in single player which brings a bit of a puzzle element to the game.

Another great feature to this game is the addition of some Konami themed backgrounds including Castlevania, Contra, and Dance Dance Revolution just to name a few. Hopefully you remember the Konami Code to unlock Contra. If you don’t then you might want to click the link for the code. These themed levels really triggered the nostaglic side of me and were all fun to play. Maybe Zombie Studios can create a few more themes including Metal Gear Solid, Gyruss, or even Skate or Die.

Even after thirty years, Frogger’s simplistic gameplay still finds new ways to keep me coming back. It’s not a game that blows me away graphically, but that was never the point to begin with. Frogger Hyper Arcade Edition clearly is a game that I would recommend for fans of the classic game.

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

With the promises of fortune and fame I made my way into the darkness of the mines. As I pass through the threshold I distinctly begin to recall the tales of those before me brave enough to enter, but they never came back. Did they strike it rich, or perish in the randomness of the dark that followed. What exactly is down there? Treasure, or dare I say snakes. I hate snakes!

Spelunky, from original developer Derek Yu of Mossmouth, lets me channel my inner Indiana Jones all in search of the big score. Plenty of gold, rubies, and crystals lie in the depths below. Of course where theres riches there’s also danger. Why just today I came across a golden idol. Something is rather familiar about this trinket of great worth. I swear I’ve seen this before in Raiders of the Lost Ark along with the consequences of that huge boulder that followed, but that was Hollywood. There’s no way this would happen here in Spelunky, so I decided to swipe the idol. Why is everything shaking all of a sudden? Oh shit!

After getting ran over by that boulder I realized that death is pretty much a commonality in Spelunky. I fall off a cliff…dead. Get impaled in spikes…dead. Get hit by a few creatures…dead. Get touched by a ghost…dead. Piss off the shopkeeper…dead. Death may be common, but the real punishment was what happened after I died. I started back at the beginning in a new randomly created level. Health was also tough to come by since I needed to help a damsel in distress. Saving her got me a kiss and a point of health as a reward. I liked being the savior, but every once in a while I like to have a little “fun” with the damsel as I tossed her around, whipped her a few times, and even set off a bomb or two killing her in the process. Oops! It was an accident! I swear!

With all the hours I spent playing Spelunky the only thought that went through my head while cursing at the TV was “Holy shit! This game is hard!” I actually applaud the game’s difficulty, because it reminded me of the old days of gaming. Spelunky made me think whether that gold was worth the possibility of getting hurt. Is there treasure in that pot or another snake? Is getting one point of health from the lovely damsel worth two points of damage from the arrow trap nearby? Do I use one of my limited bombs or rope in my inventory, because I never know when the next shopkeeper will mysteriously show up. Everything is so random, and that’s what makes Spelunky a great game.

Spelunky may be a tough to master, but the game’s goal was not to punish me. Sure it might feel like that after dying hundreds of times and starting over from the beginning, but what the game is really doing is teaching me. Teaching me to not be a dumbass and consider doing the smart thing instead. If something is not really worth it than don’t do it, and save that precious health for another day. Using my brain and thinking things through, but not think too long, because that chill I now feel in the air is the ghost who’s about to kill me. Mr. Wizard, I need an exit…NOW!

Whether I’m playing the thrilling adventure, or jamming on the couch with some friends in the multiplayer mode (which is a blast to play) Spelunky is a lot of fun. There’s so much to explore and accomplish. The “risk vs. reward” concept is well done, and even the achievements are a challenge to earn. There’s an addictive quality with Spelunky that will keep me playing for a long time as I try to reach that next level or get that higher score. I highly recommend all of you out there looking for a real challenge to download this game today. It’s well worth it.

Developer: Derek Yu, Mossmouth
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-4 (Local Multiplayer)
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

GAME STATUS: Mission Accomplished! Vlad has been defeated.
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 11 out of 23 (100 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Iron Brigade click HERE.

Can you hear it?
Hear what?
That sound. The sound of silence.

The silence I speak is the final destruction of “The Broadcast.” No longer does it’s message speak of the evils it has caused. Vladimir Farnsworth and his army of Monovisions have met their end due to the hard work of myself and the Mobile Trench Brigade. No tube was safe from Frank Woodruff’s strategy and my execution of the plan. Now I can celebrate victory and finally have world peace.

As I smoke this cigar and gaze upon my gold, silver, and bronze medals of bravery, I reflect back on that epic struggle. The days aboard the USS McKinley where I customized my mech with armaments including machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers, artillery cannons, and even broadcast satellites. All of this and more was needed to destroy the monovision army of Farnsworth. Those tubes put up one hell of a battle. Sometimes they even got the best of me leaving me in a hump of broken metal. However, after a change in strategy and armaments, I put a boot in their asses because that’s the American way!

I, along with my mech, were a walking path of destruction. No tube from land, sea, or air could match my firepower along with the countless tower defense turrets that I placed in their way. Big Willie, Bertha, and even Arty were no match for my power and will for peace. Even all the little Knobs that were launched were nothing but shredded scrap from my machine guns.

Part of me still wonders about “The Broadcast.” What if we looked upon it another way as a sign of progress. What if it had multiple channels? Frank’s version was for the good of mankind. If we could’ve just changed the channel on Farnsworth, or just hit the mute button then maybe everything would’ve been alright. Oh who am I kidding! I just wanted to kick some ass. I’m glad that I volunteered for this opportunity.

SO NOW THAT THE WAR IS OVER, WHAT’S NEXT?

With the world safe once again, the need for the Mobile Trench Brigade is no longer needed. It’s been one hell of a ride, but now it’s time to retire. Besides I’ve got plenty of other tower defense games to conquer out there. Iron Brigade, consider yourself “Honorably Discharged” from my Xbox 360 Hard Drive.

Developer: Double Fine
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-4 (online)
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)

GAME STATUS: Saved Princess Daphne using both a controller and Kinect multiple times
ACHIEVEMENTS EARNED: 3 out of 12 (50 Gamerscore)

For my original review of Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade click HERE.

For what feels like the millionth time, I’ve stormed the castle, killed countless goons, avoided many traps, and stared at the face of death while constantly dying. All of this for the love of Princess Daphne who I took out on a date on June 19 all for the low price of one achievement and 30 gamerscore. What a deal! I feel so dirty now.

Ever since the release of the classic Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade, I’ve been completely addicted to Don Bluth’s animated adventure of the heroic, and yet sometimes clumsy knight, Dirk the Daring. Whether I was jumping around and slashing my arms using the Kinect, or just using the controller when I felt lazy, Dragon’s Lair never had me bored. Never has the thought crossed my mind thinking “haven’t I beat the game over a million times across multiple platforms already? It’s not like anything new is going to pop up.” Of course that’s the moment when I’m not paying attention and unfortunately die…again. Well at least the princess is rather forgiving unlike most women in this world.

With the many times I’ve played I had to come to a conclusion about how I wanted to enjoy Dragon’s Lair on XBLA. Sure it’s billed as a Kinect game, but I really enjoyed it more with the controller. The Kinect was more forgiving with how I approached the game as I jumped around and used some arm movements, yet for some reason I didn’t want to feel like a retard when playing. It just felt too gimmicky. Honestly, Dragon’s Lair was meant for the controller, and it punished me quickly for making a mistake unlike when I used the Kinect. Good thing I had unlimited continues or else this quest would be really short just like when I was at the arcades playing.

SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR PRINCESS DAPHNE?

As far as I’m concerned, the evil dragon Singe can continue to kidnap Princess Daphne all he wants, becasue I’ll continue to save her. As I stated before Dragon’s Lair never bored me at all so I plan to continue my quest to save the princess, and continue my “achievement whore” addiction by scoring some much needed achievements by dying. Now if you’ll excuse me, my quest awaits.

Publisher: Digital Leisure
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1-2
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)

When I was a kid. my parents bought the Atari 2600. A few years later they bought my brother a NES. This made some rough times for me because I had to go to his room just to play games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. I needed a system of my own so I grew up on Sega. The Master System, Genesis, and even the ill fated 32X were a part of my early years. Now I get to relive a part of my childhood and adolescense everytime Sega releases their old school classics on Xbox Live Arcade. Long Live Sega!

The latest edition of the Sega Vintage Collection brings six classic games from both the arcade and home consoles. One of the games (Monster World IV) never made it to American shores until now. There’s Alex Kidd in Miracle World which is the first game I picked up when purchased the Master Sysytem. The hard as nails Revenge of Shinobi. The old school motorcycle racer Super Hang On. Finally, three classic games from the Monster World series minus Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap. Yes, I’m not the only one in the community complaining about this one, because that game was awesome. Each of these games are emulated perfectly (Super Hang On is sadly showing it’s age), and with added achievements for that extra replay value which really suits the achievement whore in me.

Considering the fact that I’m pretty good at these games I jumped in a little to overconfidently early on only to get my ass handed to me. I realized that when you haven’t played a certain game for a long period of time (in this case many years) it takes a little time to get your bearings again. After an hour, I was just about back on track timing wise for all of these games except for Revenge of Shinobi which was still kicking my ass. All six games are still as much fun as I remembered them. However, if there was anything I wish Sega could omit it would have to be the “Paper, Rock, Scissors” boss battles in Alex Kidd, because they were just stupid and pointless.

Some people may hate it and rather have these games lay to rest, but I love the old school games. Sega’s Vintage Collections are both fun and nostalgic. Next week comes the Golden Axe and Streets of Rage games, but I’m not going to buy them due to the fact that I already have these games on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection. In the end, I would recommend this collection for all the old-school retro fans who love Sega. I found plenty of entertainment here for a long time and so should you.

Publisher: Sega
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1
Price: 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00)