That magical 14th of February is upon us once again and romance is in the air; even gaming romances are slowly …oh so slowly… becoming more well developed. Games that deal with the more emotional side of the human experience have been gradually improving over the past decade or so with standout efforts such as ‘Life is Strange’ and ‘To the Moon’ coming closer than ever to capturing the nature of love, relationships, and romantic discovery in game form.
… this wasn’t always the case. Back in the retro-times (let’s not get in to how far back you have to go for that) things were quite different with polygon curves and corny dialogue crammed in to a couple of hour action game being the closest gamers got to a romantic plot line. Back in the PS1 era it wasn’t uncommon for someone to go from being ‘annoyed by’ to being ‘utterly besotted’ with a game protagonist in the space of just a handful of brief cutscenes. Then there were games that made those first tentative steps at being more ‘mature’ such as the cringe inducing sexy-time QTE minigame in Fahrenheit.
For those of us that were teenagers during this era of gaming however these characters were the object of our affections, so let me take you back to the mid-90’s and let’s have a slumber party. The popcorn is hot, we’re half-way through our regulation Bacardi Breezer, and inevitably the conversation turns to our ‘Dream Resident Evil Date’, but wait?!? how do you know which of that scintillating cast will light up your eyes like S.T.A.R.S.?? Lucky for you, I have the 100% accurate, reliable, and foolproof Resident Evil date decider – just follow the flowchart below and discover your perfect Resi-Date – Click on the image for the full size version! Continue reading “Your Dream Resident Evil Date”
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?”
I’m not a regular streamer; a combined lack of time, organisation, and confidence have seen that possibility sailing away, but those few occasions a year when I find a clear evening, a suitable (often retro) game, and invite you to boil up some popcorn and join me I enjoy the experience.
One such evening cropped up some months back when I wanted to share with you all my first ever impressions of Overblood. Sadly it wasn’t to be. The problem, I lamented to my fellow co-BloggersWhoStream-architect (Kim of LaterLevels fame), was that my technical setup was a little on the janky side. That technological marvel that I use to capture PlayStation 1 gameplay couldn’t cope with the shear number of resolution shifts that Overblood thought necessary to… do whatever it was that it was trying to do. As I explained the intricate number of seemingly unconnected elements that I put in place to stream from my original PlaySation, Kim came up with the superb idea that we should reach out to all the other bloggers who stream (namedrop) out there and see how they get on with this whole streaming lark; and so this week’s event was born.
Head on over to the Master Post; I’ll be populating it this week with all the event posts! Continue reading “Duct Tape & Tights: My Retro ‘Bloggers Who Stream’ Technical Rundown”
The retro-excursion that I took last week in to the weird world of Overblood left me with a lingering thought about the game’s opening. At first glance the level of instant threat seems absurd; the protagonist wakes up and the player is immediatly faced with the prospect of seeing them freeze to death unless they manage to work out all the controls, find the auxiliary heating power supply, and the stylish (but laughably small) shiny gilet to keep warm. I could just chalk it up to poor game design, dropping the player in to instant life or death peril isn’t what we’re used to in the current age of gaming, but compared to its contemporaries, Overblood isn’t the only title of this era to pull this trick.
When I revisited the Men in Black PS1 game a little while back, I was reminded that it kicks things off in a similar way; player enters an apartment and if they don’t act quickly then a bomb, cunningly hidden in the shadows, will take out most of the buiolding and thankfully the voice acting of whoever they employed to do a Will Smith impression. Maybe these aren’t the finest examples of the ‘3D Action/Adventure’ genre for PS1, but even some of the system’s greats make similar moves. During my epic exploration of Resident Evil 2 last year, I rambled about how tough the opening of the game is; the dramatic intro leaving the player abandoned in a street, several zombies approaching them. I doubt new players would even have managed to work out what the aim button is before taking a chomping. Even though the opening of Metal Gear Solid doesn’t put the player in immediate danger, acting as a playground of sorts, it still presents what most would consider to be the core gameplay in its entirety. I’ve noted in the past that MGS has only six areas where the classic sneaky gameplay is showcased and, as the player undertakes this area unarmed and under-equipped, the ‘dock’ represents one of the trickier regions that the player has to work their way through all whilst the opening credits are still running. Continue reading “Hard Opening”
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.
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”
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…”
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for the X-Files game on PlayStation 1
*To be sung to the X-Files theme tune*
It’s Mulder and Sculllyyyyyy,
It’s Mulder and Sculllyyyyyy,
solving X-Files if they caaaannnn,
… avoiding the smookiinngg maaannnn…
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”
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
It seems that despite my best efforts, I have indeed started collecting various editions of the game of games, Resident Evil 2… something that I desperately tried to avoid, despite writing about it. That recent marathon of a challenge, entitled “I’m Having Tofu Tonight!” started the ball rolling as I wanted to sample a few of the extra toppings available in the GameCube version which turned out to be a superb release of the title, and with my appetite wet I decided to embark upon playing the bizarre N64 port of the game…
… which I plan to write about on another occasion…
To do this authentically however I needed an N64 and a copy of the game which, whilst not the most expensive collectable out there, didn’t come that cheap. My natural thrift nudged me in the direction of doing this all with as least expense as possible, so the cart I’ve ended up with is unboxed and worn; like wise I picked up an N64 without controller or screen cable, but luckily I happened to have a controller from a previous escapade and a cheap video cable was only a few pounds of British monies. So now I have a fully functional N64…
… and no idea what to do with it. Continue reading “I Have an N64 and I Don’t Know What to Do With It”
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?”