John Romero’s Sigil: Iconic or Demonic?

Growing up, I played Doom… but I never really played Doom. Does that make sense? Am I making sense right now? Let me qualify that; I was too young to play Doom, I mean, of course I was too young for the violence, but the point is that I was also too young for what is effectively fast paced first-person dungeon crawling. The labyrinthine like quality to levels loaded with secrets were lost on me as I jabbed in IDDQD and IDKFA to activate god-mode, all weapons, and keys just to shoot monsters. As a result I tended to get bored pretty quickly; I’d missed the point.

I don’t know if YouTube’s algorithms extend to delving in to your childhood, but for some reason recently I’ve been recommended many videos that outline the subtleties of Doom in the form of decino’s breakdowns of different game elements (it’s like they’re trying to show me what I missed out on). Picking apart the code itself I’ve been learning about monster, powerup, weapon behaviour and, armed with this insight, decided to pick up the recent Switch port of the original game (now that many of the initial problems have been patched) to finally experience the game as it should have been played. Over the week that followed I ploughed through the original three episodes, and the fourth episode (Thy Flesh Consumed) that was added in at version 1.666; ‘The Ultimate Doom’. It turned out to be one of the better four pounds that I’ve ever spent on a game and in its current state I have no problems recommending it (aside from an annoying bug where the game freezes if you put the system in to sleep) as a solid port. Blasting through the legions of hell I found a new appreciation for ID’s classic, how they’d managed to produce something so visually impressive on the limited PC hardware of the early 90’s, the thought that had gone into the various ingame elements, but most of all how the level design brings the entire game together. Continue reading “John Romero’s Sigil: Iconic or Demonic?”

OverBlood: UnderBlood

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Riverhillsoft? They’re famous for… erm… porting the original Prince of Persia to the Mega CD.

Overblood. I’m just going to let that hang in the air for a moment.

Overblood

How or why anyone thought this would be a suitable title for this game… or any game… I’ve no idea. It is literally meaningless, but like the game it game itself, it’s best not to overanalyse.

Overblood (even typing it makes me feel weird) is a game by long forgotten developer Riverhillsoft that, kind of, falls in to the category of early survival horror for the PlayStation 1 as made famous by Capcom. I first heard of the game in my early teens; shortly after first experiencing Resident Evil 2, my uncle mentioned this “‘similar’ game called Overblood where you wake up in a lab, freezing to death”. I think it was this ‘similarity’ that kept the name locked in to my brain for all these years and eventually led me to pick it up on an eBay whim a couple of months ago. A few days later a battered copy of this long forgotten title turned up. An eerie green hued character adorning the box-art, alongisde the title in stark font, and tagline “A 3D Sci-Fi Adventure”. I popped in the disk and was met with a fast-cut intro montage featuring Reboot style animation and a host of sci-fi staples such as warning klaxons, unconvincing monsters, and characters with shocked expressions. Continue reading “OverBlood: UnderBlood”

Resident Evil: Code Veronica … X.. Complete…

Spoiler Warning: Lots of spoilers for Resident Evil: Code Veronica are here! 

After digging out my PS2 games from my Mom’s attic earlier this year, I found myself revisiting a few of my favourites; Silent Hill 2, SSX3, … and finally Resident Evil: Code Veronica, before giving up sometime around June having scrambled through about half of the game. I decided to head back to that save file last week in an effort to clear some of the backlog playings that I have on the go, or more accurately before I felt like I could legitimately start file #2 of Resident Evil Outbreak.

RE:CV (X Complete; seriously Capcom, what is it with you and editions??) is an oddball of a game in the franchise and deserves a little backstory introduction, so settle back whilst I recline in my wing-back armchair and tell you the tale:

RE:CV has it’s origins way back with the original Resident Evil. Not only released for the PS1, the S.T.A.R.S. team’s first incident riddled adventure was also a bit of a standout title for Sega’s flailing Saturn. Seeing the reception of its sequel, Sega (like Nintendo) must’ve been straight on to the phone to Capcom asking for a Saturn port of Claire & Leon’s funtime zombie shooty-shooty. Unlike Nintendo however, Capcom concluded that the Saturn just didn’t have enough bits, or megs, or ram or whatever to handle RE2 and the idea was scuppered. Sega didn’t stop the conversation there however, they convinced Capcom to develop the direct sequel to RE2 for the yet to be released Sega console, the Dreamcast; a game that would become Code: Veronica. The only problem was that Sony also wanted an RE2 sequel on their system (and let’s not forget that by this time RE4 and Zero were already being developed for Nintendo; Capcom really spread themselves around). Capcom agreed, and an in-development spin-off title called “Last Escape” gained the ‘3’ to become part of the numbered games in the series and the third to be released on PS1 under the title Resident Evil 3: Nemesis in the west. Played in this context, these games seem to make much more sense with RE3 feeling lite on plot, but heavy on “here’s more of that Resident Evil that you like”, and RE:CV opening with a direct continuation of the plot from RE2. Continue reading “Resident Evil: Code Veronica … X.. Complete…”

X-Files on Playstation: Dang! That’s a lot of Photos of the Inside of a Warehouse

Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for the X-Files game on PlayStation 1

*To be sung to the X-Files theme tune*
doodileeedoodilidooooooo
It’s Mulder and Sculllyyyyyy, 
doodileeedoodilidooooooo
It’s Mulder and Sculllyyyyyy, 
doodileeedoodilidooooooo
solving X-Files if they caaaannnn,
doodileeedoodilidooooooo
… avoiding the smookiinngg maaannnn… 
*…etc*

For at least some of this year we’ve been trying to re-watch the entirety of the X-Files. I’m not much of a binge watcher, so it’s been a drawn out process. We ran out of steam a few months ago somewhere in the Robert Patrick era…

… if you ever watch these then you need to pay special attention to he runs; arms flailing wildly. I imagine the director was continually yelling for him to run ‘less like the T-1000’: “More human, less robot Robert – yes! that’s it, wave those arms around!!”… Continue reading “X-Files on Playstation: Dang! That’s a lot of Photos of the Inside of a Warehouse”

Resident Evil 2 on N64: Malevolent Tenant

Yes, it’s another Resident Evil 2 post.. and yes, this one is also super-geeky, but I think this is a really interesting port for so many reasons so just giraffe with me on this one ,ok? It’s no secret that 2019 has been my year of Resident Evil 2 revisiting. From my pre-remake stream, exploration of the re-imagined Raccoon Police Department, through to my marathon … Continue reading Resident Evil 2 on N64: Malevolent Tenant

Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf: Where are the Sharks?

During my recent confession disguised as a review, I admitted that I actually had a bit of a soft spot for golf games; not in a kind of ‘let’s simulate the heck out of this down to the brand of spikes in Ralph Grundleson’s special golf shoes’, but more of a casual arcade-ey soft-spot for the precise layout of the course and seeing that virtual ball sail towards the horizon from a perfectly executed QTE. I also mentioned that some of this unexpected leaning was likely down to playing Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf on Atari ST … SHARK ATTACK!!…

… and I’m going to be upfront with my biggest criticism of the game- hold on to your hats because it’s a doozy. No game … NO!… GAME!… should feature the words ‘Shark Attack!’ right these in bright letters on the boxart if they don’t contain at least one shark. Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf does not feature any sharks… and yet SHARK ATTACK is right there on the box, and no, I’m sorry to all you golfing a-fish-a-nandos, Greg Norman is not a shark. He is an Australian gentleman who likes to play golf. As an eight year old child this was one of my biggest gaming disappointments. I’ve waited a long time to set the record straight there. 

The whole thing got me feeling a bit nostalgic for ol’ GN’s:UG so I decided to emulate the heck out of it in an attempt to see what it is about the game that I must have at least been slightly intrigued by (yes, I could have dug out the actual ST and played… but no, I don’t have that kind of lounge space or time to spare at the moment). Continue reading “Greg Norman’s Ultimate Golf: Where are the Sharks?”

Golf Story: Frosty Log

If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll know that I’ve been looking for games where it doesn’t necessarily matter if you suddenly have to putt the controller down and you can absorb just as easily in tiny slices as well as a great big drive for completion. A little birdie told me that, being essentially turn-based affairs, golf games are a pretty on-par choice that ticks these boxes. Having said that, I’m a fair-way off being considered a golf fan, to the point that I would be considered pretty green when it comes to the rules and nuance of the game. It just so happens that Golf Story had been on my radar for a while; the hook (or draw) here being that it’s all framed in the context of a 16-bit RPG – stroke of genius if you ask me – with the protagonist being introduced as a child cultivating dreams of reaching the top.-Spin on a few years and he’s a young man returning to the game, so determined to chip away at his once boyhood goal that he’s moved house and has been forced to bunk -er… ‘sleep’ close to the golf course whilst those ideas of fame he has to Mull… I … Gan…

…no… no, it’s no use, I can’t do it anymore! Your entire helping of golf puns is in that first paragraph… enjoy…  Continue reading “Golf Story: Frosty Log”

Bendy and the Ink Machine: Creepy Controls

Spoiler Warning: Oh yes, there are spoilers for ‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ here!… erm… be warned? 

‘Bendy and the Ink Machine’ (BatIM?… does that work?) isn’t a game that was really on my radar. I guess I recognised the box art, but really couldn’t have told you anything about it, so it was an unexpected surprise when I was given it as a birthday present last week for Switch. Turning the box over in my hands a quick glance at the back suggested that it was totally my thing; 1930’s cartoon inspired, distinctive art style, slightly steampunk horror… sign me up! At that point I was also unaware that BatIM is actually the fever-dream product of TheMeatly, not that I’m a regular follower, but I’m certainly aware of their existence. After a few evenings of play I’ve now completed it and I’m left with mixed feelings about the experience. Continue reading “Bendy and the Ink Machine: Creepy Controls”

Super Hot VR: There’s a Screen Strapped to Your Face

… you’re frozen to the spot… 

A bullet hovers, stationary, abruptly halted along that incomplete vector from barrel to your face. It’s barely a foot from its intended destination. Without moving your head you allow your knees to bend. The very act of crouching seems to gently turn the crank on the passage of time and the bullet slowly proceeds forward. You continue to crouch, but can’t resist letting your eyes follow the projectile as it sails over your head. This is a game played out long-form over fractions of seconds. 

Super Hot is a game that’s been on my radar for a long time; novel time disrupting mechanics often interest me and the concept of Super Hot, an FPS where time only moves when you do, was a serenade to that bit of my brain. Unfortunately I’ve also got a superficial part to my personality and I’m entirely guilty in this case of judging a book my its cover; in short, that angular stark red on white aesthetic turned me off the whole idea of even trying the game. It’s just not something I found appealing and each time I browsed the store page I couldn’t ever quite get past the initial nose-screwing-up to hit the buy button.

My evenings recently however have involved much furniture shuffling as I’ve had a spree of VR gaming. During various internet delvings to find out which VR title I should jump in to next, I consistently saw high praise for the VR version of Super Hot, so I took a deep breath and set aside my visual preferences to give it a shot. Continue reading “Super Hot VR: There’s a Screen Strapped to Your Face”

Backbone Prologue: Prash Tranda

The neon from the Jazz bar’s sign snagged itself on the falling sheets of rain, a red haze draped across the sidewalk engulfing every unaware stranger. Their dark formless shapes illuminated for a second in the shimmering sheet left a momentary after-image of each of those faces on my retinas; happy, lost, cunning, malicious. I pulled my raincoat closer around my neck, but my fur had already wicked the water into my shirt and barely five minutes after leaving the office I was drenched through. The cheap red tie I’d picked up at the five-and-dime would already be bleeding into the white of my shirt… my new shirt… an investment I’d made to gloss over the cracks of public opinion on private investigators. That’s two bucks I’d never see again. 

Wardrobe misery aside, I had a job to do. Somewhere in these formless shapes was my mark and I was going to find him. Tonight. I didn’t have much choice, the only reason the super hadn’t already kicked me out and changed the locks was because I didn’t have anything worth selling.  Continue reading “Backbone Prologue: Prash Tranda”