Mad Dog McCree: Slippery Shoes & Sticky Floors

Erm… Spoiler warning for Mad Dog McCree .. I guess… Does that need a warning?…

If movies, T.V., and the unreliable 4-year-old-me memory are to be believed, the U.S. in the 80’s & 90’s was a haven of amusement complexes and arcade machines, which the U.K. never seemed to latch on to. As a kid growing up in the U.K. my gaming, like so many, started with home computing before moving on to SEGA consoles. Arcade machines were rarely seen out in the wild beyond a small handful sitting nervously amongst fruit machines or penny falls in seaside towns, and popping up sporadically in the foyer areas of larger cinemas. The only place I could guarantee a reasonable selection of arcade machines was at a bowling alley, so take my hand and join me back in the early 90’s as we push through the double doors and on to the garish carpet of Anytown’s bowling alley*. Past the newly opened Quasar laser tag, past the Addams Family Pinball machine, toward the arcade section, and marvel as you set eyes on a huge rear projection TV cabinet. A solitary tethered pistol in the holster, the words ‘Mad Dog McCree’ emblazoned across the top, and some grizzled prospector onscreen enticing you to part with whatever small change you had in your pocket to try and take down the outlaw.

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Somewhere Beneath the Sea: Bioshock 2

Warning! Contain Spoilers for Bioshock 2 and the DLC ‘Minerva’s Den’

The City of Rapture is easily one of my favourite game settings. That art-deco undersea metropolis not only provides a unique backdrop for some fine first-person horror, but is inexorably linked to the plot through the vision of Andrew Ryan, its in-game conceptual architect. I like this setting so much that I’ve revisited Bioshock several times in the past few years, and replayed Bioshock Infinite an equal number of times to justify replaying the ‘Burial at Sea’ DLC in order to get back to the vistas of Rapture.

However, until earlier this year, I had never completed Bioshock 2. There was a failed attempt to play it a few years ago which petered out a couple of hours in and left me generally poorly disposed to this oft overlooked child in the Bioshock Trilogy. I think there were key barriers to me wanting to pick it up again. Firstly, without the original team at the helm, I wondered just how good that sequel outing under the sea would really be, and secondly, I didn’t want to play as a Big Daddy. Sure, they make a great imposing ingame element, but the lumbering sections imitating a Daddy towards the end of the first game certainly didn’t warm me to the concept. Plus there is an undoubted emphasis on melee combat, something that I tend to avoid in first person titles, which I ultimately ignored in favour of firearms. That being said, the draw of rapture is strong, and one of the biggest plus points about leaky-corridor-simulator 2 is that there is indeed more Rapture to discover here. So, I hung up my misgivings, greased myself up, and slid in to an oversized diving suit to give it another shot.

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5 Best Switch Ports… According to Me…

Addressing the elephant in the room; yes, I’m one of those people who mostly plays their Switch in docked mode. So much, that the idea of a ‘Switch Home’ non-portable version, which started as a Twitter joke, to compliment the Switch Lite ‘portable only’ console is starting to sound pretty good. Especially if ol’Ninty offered seamless sync between Switch devices and a highly compact home … Continue reading 5 Best Switch Ports… According to Me…

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Hundstrasse Top 5 of 2020: Listmas Part 2 of 2

Having covered the best revisits of the year in my last post, it’s time for the main event… As each year draws to a close myself and every other gaming blogger (I assume) fall under some strange late-December trance and are compelled to make a list detailing their top games of the year. In an attempt to simultaneously be a little different and hide the … Continue reading Hundstrasse Top 5 of 2020: Listmas Part 2 of 2

Overwatch: POTG Luck

I’d be lying if I said that my recent interest in Overwatch wasn’t a hankering for some of the ‘Good ol’ Days’ I spent hanging around TF2 servers. In recent years, my online FPS playing has been a gentle mix of squad based co-op and the unavoidable Battle Royale invasion, but those days of chipping away or digging in against the desert backdrop of Dustbowl have never really been matched in terms of smooth and direct team based combat. Enter the super-new and latest release of “Overwatch”… erm… ok, so I’m late to the party here, but in my defence it was only a few weeks ago that there was a free Overwatch event on Switch which meant that I finally decided to try Blizzard’s class based team shooter. The hours I spent with it that week, and the subsequent attractive sale price, coerced me in to dipping in to my PayPal funds to spring for it.

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GameBoy Micro: Super-Sensible-Serious-Hardware Review

Back in August, on a day that coincidentally had the same date, albeit not the same year, of the day I was born, my wife handed me an unassuming wrapped box. Eagerly I tore off the colourful paper wrapping, hoping for Oreos, but not wanting to get too excited, to reveal the worn words ‘GameBoy Micro’. To be clear, I’m not a retro collector… more an enthusiast of retro-games… but there are a handful of items that I would like to own from that particular world and, as I’ve mentioned in the past, the GameBoy Micro has been something I’ve eBay-drooled over for some time. And here, I now had one in my hands, one of my very own.

… of course, before I go any further with this technical breakdown of the unit, I need to thank my wonderful wife for such a thoughtful gift!

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Night Trap: Awww Grrrrrrr…

Spoiler Warning: This article contains plot spoilers for the game ‘Night Trap’

Call me childish, but there’s a small part of me still smirking at playing ‘Night Trap’ on Switch; a game that Nintendo’s North American President once said would “never appear on a Nintendo System”. Even stepping away from that, it’s clear that the game wears the controversy that surrounded its original release like some robe of state and that without the original drama it’s fairly questionable that it would have received a 25th anniversary re-release. Now, I know that it’s a title that has an unquestionably vast library of opinion pieces, critical breakdowns, and impact articles already associated with its name, but now that I’ve finally experienced the game myself, something that my eight year old self would have been super jealous of having seen those futuristic FMV graphics splashed across the pages of Mean Machines Sega, it’s a good moment to throw out my own views on the controversy surrounding it and how it actually stacks up as a game.

Night Trap is one of those titles where the events surrounding it are at least as (if not more so) interesting as the game itself. Graphics are mainly comprised of live action FMV video that is cut and changes depending on your actions as a player and represents that weird time when CD based games were young. With this new physical format developers were presented with a vast amount of storage space compared to the cartridges that they may have been used to, and like all new tech, they didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it. Thus games like ‘Night Trap’ were born, and for a brief instant were going to be the direction that all games were going; real actors in live action video where the player gently influences the actions in something more like an interactive movie than a traditional game. It was released on the MegaCD (or Sega CD), Sega’s CD drive add-on for that 16-bit blast-processing fuelled monster the Mega Drive (… sigh… or Genesis), in 1992 at arguably the height of Sega’s presence in the home console market on a system that was at the time one of the more widespread CD based platforms. This relatively high level of exposure to the general public arguably led to what happened next, but the twist is that this game was originally meant for a completely different (and more primitive) technology.

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Trüberbrook: Pointing, but not Clicking

Spoiler Warning: This article contains major plot spoilers for Trüberbrook

Point-n-clicks are one of those genres that has found a home in the arms of small and indie developers. Whilst mainstream triple-A releases focus on increasing levels of action and frame-rate, the humble PnC offers gamers something at a more sedate pace which I almost completely ignored growing up only to uncover their charms when I was a little older; and there’s a lot for me to like about PnC’s give my gaming tastes. One of the reasons I enjoy classic survival horror is that feeling of exploring, unravelling and gradually unlocking an area which a good PnC encapsulates. I also enjoy a good story and that certain brand of gaming where you don’t need to have twitch reflexes to play.

It was with this thirst for a story and world to explore that I picked up Trüberbrook, a PnC adventure that drops the player in to the scuffed shoes of a Quantum Physicist, Hans Tannhauser. Arriving in the small remote German village of Trüberbrook in the 1960’s, under the unquestioned circumstance of having won a competition that he didn’t enter, Tannhauser is drawn in to the mysterious local activities of the Millennium Corporation and ends up saving our reality. The visuals, made up of hand crafted model shots, are probably the most immediate draw with its intricate diorama-like presentation and an almost claymation quality to the onscreen cast of quirky characters. Regular readers will know that ‘small town mysterious events‘ and ‘diorama-like‘ are two of my triggers to an almost instant purchase, so it seemed like I was on to a winning formula already. Continue reading “Trüberbrook: Pointing, but not Clicking”