By now you’ve noticed that there hasn’t been any new activity since last Monday, there is a very simple explanation, I decided that last week was a great week to get sick and feel what it was like to be dead…okay I wasn’t really dead but I certainly felt like I was on a few occasions. As a result, not only were there no posts, there were no games being played in preparation for this week either,…
Probably only older gamer’s are gonna get that title but I don’t care, I think it’s funny. Moving on from bad comedy though, Gauntlet is most likely nestled in the hearts of most gamer’s old enough to remember the original four player arcade cabinet, the announcer pointing out the obvious that you needed food badly, or that you were about to die, and thankfully, WB Games has recreated the feel of the old arcade while still managing to make it their own.The first thing you’ll notice is a much more defined story, with the combatants being transported into the Gauntlet by a mysterious wizard (who also doubles as the announcer), who brings the four in as entertainment.
The game starts off right after being transported by being tested, forcing you to try out each character and their moves to help you decide which one you really want to play as…FYI, the Wizard is hard as hell to play as, just saying. Once the opening trials are over you’re dropped into essentially a lobby of sorts, with a merchant there to sell you gear you really don’t need and fifteen doors leading to various levels within the Gauntlet. Now on the surface you might think fifteen levels is impressive for a game, might even think it would make the game longer, it doesn’t, beginning to end I finished it in seven hours and even then I was taking my time, it can be finished sooner and unless there is some planned DLC which there probably is since it’s a Warner Bros. game, that’s about all you’re gonna get out of it. Moving along though it’s time to break things down a bit.
Graphics: No lie, it looks amazing, Gauntlet got the visual update it needed in a huge way. Everything is well polished and while the old 8-bit look was great in its time, and even still fun to go back to, having the newer 3D look to it really helped push the game and grab it a little bigger audience than just the nostalgic crowd.
Story: Unfortunately they tried to give too much story to the game, don’t get me wrong in this day and age story is essential in many instances…after all, why are these four heroes here in this Gauntlet, the problem was that the story made little sense in the grand scheme of things. Gauntlet has always been a hack and slash game, so all it really needed was an intro and that’s about it, but the narrator was always there to try to push a little more story here and there when it wasn’t actually needed.
Gameplay: The Wizard is haaaaard! Okay enough of that, for the most part the game controls pretty well though it took forever for me to completely understand the purpose of the magic vials since they weren’t used in the same manner as the original game, instead being the driving force behind the new special moves. Really though the thing that bothered me was the way Death was handled, he popped up in a couple of specific levels but definitely didn’t have a real part to play which was really unfortunate since it was a big part of the original games.
Sound: As the title of the post eludes, the classic lines are all there as well as a few new one-liners and that alone made it all the sweeter. Nostalgia aside though, the game sounds great, the sound effects, even the voice over work in general is really good and aside from bringing back fond memories also making it stand out on its own.
Replay Value: Moderately low here, only because it’s so short though I will concede that the real fun is most likely in the multiplayer, the single player is too short and there isn’t much reason to go back in afterwards.
Final Word: 4/5
It’s great, it brings back fond memories of not only Gauntlet in general but of classic, top down, dungeon crawlers. The downside is the bolted on story, the lack of Death as a real element of the game, and the fact that it’s so short but I’m willing to cut it some slack on the story part otherwise the score would be a little lower.
Actually the short break this week is because I’ll be uprooting myself and moving, and I can honestly say it’s the scariest thing I’ve done since going on a roller coaster but I’m looking forward to it…my room looks all empty and hollow but either way it’ll all be worth it. On that note though, this week is going to be too hectic to actually write anything of actual substance so it is much easier…
This one is gonna seem a little strange, mostly because if you never watched the Red Green show then you more than likely never would have even heard of the movie. For all intents and purposes, this could easily be considered a “road” movie since the basic premise is to go from Possum Lake in Canada, down to Minnesota for a duct tape competition to win enough money to save Possum Lodge from an…
With the release of the new Civilization game around the corner, it seemed appropriate to talk about one of my favorite installations of the series, and since it’s pretty old, it easily qualifies for the Retro Box…plus we haven’t visited it in a while so we’re long overdue.
By now, most people know of or have played at least one of the Civ games, it’s the kind of game that invades the…
Fair warning, Tripping the Rift is not now, nor ever was intended for children, it’s the crudest and most vulgar animated show since Fritz the Cat. Moving on however, the show was crude in every way possible, the movie ramps it up tenfold and doesn’t quit, I mean even the DVD case has a giant “For adult audiences only” logo on it right over one of the main characters. Even talking about the plot…
Lately Square-Enix has finally gotten a hint or two that re-mastering some of their classic Final Fantasy games would be a good idea. I know some people are against it because it is essentially repackaging our childhood and selling it back to us at today’s prices but when you consider the FF offerings of late, re-buying some of the classics doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, and to be fair they aren’t just straight ports of their original incarnations…well not all of them anyway, many of them have gotten much needed facelifts. Now before getting in to things it’s somewhat important to note that Final Fantasy IV was originally released as Final Fantasy II in the US and Europe since at the time, neither FFII or FFIII had been released outside of Japan however since the two have been released in somewhat more recent years, such as on the Nintendo DS and PSP systems, the game has been given its proper numbered title through each subsequent release.
One final note before I break things down, normally I’m vehemently against comparing a game to either its original version on a system that’s 20+ years old, or a game that was released much later than the one being talked about. Another thing I personally try to avoid is comparing it to newer games of a different genre. Finally, there will most likely be some comparisons like the ones I mentioned but they are not made to say how much better or worse the game is, merely to point out the differences and point out my personal preferences…and with that, on with the brutalization.
Graphics: I am gonna start off by saying that I’ve always preferred the original 16-bit look of the Final Fantasy games, especially when they have been remade into 3D versions of themselves. This doesn’t looks bad, but for the most part, from a visual standpoint, this is essentially a port from the DS version of the game and it does not hold up well on larger screens. Most of the textures look and feel stretched and the overall look of the characters is very blocky. Now granted it looked this way on the DS but it wasn’t as noticeable on the smaller screen, blow it up to a 27” screen and it looks like an Indie game at best. One final note is that there are some graphical glitches at times, pixels in odd places and never consistent to the point where you could pass it off on the video card or monitor causing the problem.
Story: Fortunately this wasn’t screwed around with, the story is just as good now as it was then and it revolves around one of my favorite storylines. The short version is that King Baron was replaced, unbeknownst to everyone somehow, and wants the crystals scattered around the planet for his own evil plans. Cecil, the Dark Knight and captain of the Red Wing airships, carries out this plan but has a conflict of conscience when he attacks a group of wizards that refuse to put up a fight. From here, after being relieved of his duties, Cecil embarks on a quest of both inner cleansing and world salvation…heavy stuff indeed, but right in line with what you could expect from early Squaresoft games.
Gameplay: Much like its original incarnation the game plays very much the same, The ATB (Active Time Battle) system was introduced with this particular title and it’s used fairly consistently throughout the FF series since then, the battle is smooth and simple to understand, and of course there is the standard level grinding at some points.
Sound: If you’ve been following along with the blog for a while then you know how important sound is to me, specifically music, and this was made with the legendary Nobuo Uematsu driving the score, as he did through many of the early FF games. The music, and the sound in general are all top notch and thankfully that wasn’t messed with either. The big change in the sound area though is the fact that some of the cut scenes were voiced, which was a holdover from the DS release and while the voice acting wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t necessary either.
Replay Value: Very low, it’s an RPG, a heavy, story driven RPG so there isn’t a lot of reason to come back to it once it’s finished unless you really love it.
Final Word: 4/5
I was really happy to see this come back on Steam, though I still believe it looked far superior in its original presentation as far as the graphics are concerned, that being said though, absolutely no regrets about picking it up again either.
I had meant to talk about this last week…I think, or the week before, but I got behind so I’m talking about it now…obviously. Monty Python is something that will go down as one of the great comedy groups of any era, it’s bizarre, it’s off the wall, but also right on the nose in some cases and the Holy Grail movie is seen, to me at least, as one of their finer achievements…at least when it comes…
So as somewhat promised today is the official North American release of the second Theatrhythm game, a name that I still contend is one of the craziest I’ve seen in ever but that’s not why I’m here today…or tomorrow, names mean little to me when there is a game to play, I just want to be entertained and this one satisfies that need very well. I won’t lie, from the second I heard they were coming out with a sequel I was all ready to pre-order it, the collector’s edition no less…but that should come as no surprise, enough stalling for time and space, let’s get into things.
Graphics: As far as I can tell, visually it’s the same game, it looks no better or worse than its original counterpart and in this case I’ll accept that since it looked great the first time, granted the caricatures have an odd style to them but it isn’t horrible to look at and yet still manages to feel like it couldn’t be done in any other way as well.
Story: Like before there isn’t technically a story in here, but it does have Quest Medleys which are either short, medium, or long quests made up of Chaos Maps, similar in a sense to the previous game only this time around there is an actual map and instead of just doing three random songs you follow and choose a path with the ultimate goal of fighting the boss at the end of a dungeon. All of this gets you crystals and other items that help unlock more characters and songs.
Gameplay: The actual meat of the game, the gameplay itself, is exactly as before with a few exceptions, the most notable is that once you get through the initial tutorial, all of the songs are unlocked…sort of, it’s more like they are available and you unlock them by getting more and more Rhythmia, you’re not forced to go through the three types of songs either, you can pick and choose which ones to do with the exception of the quest songs, those are laid out on their path and while you get an idea of what they are, ultimately you go where the path takes you. Out of all of this though, to me, the best part is the fact that this isn’t just the numbered series of Final Fantasy games, it includes games like Crystal Chronicles, Type-0, both Dissidia games, and of course my personal favorite, Mystic Quest…even Advent Children gets a spot on the list too.
Sound: Obviously this one is going to be important and thankfully it’s spot on, then again it is all of the music in its original form…yes that means there is some classic NES sound in there too but that’s alright, it’s how it was originally and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Replay Value: Like the first game, it’s essentially Guitar Hero with Final Fantasy songs so naturally the replay value is pretty high up there.
Final Word: 5/5
Let’s be honest, there was no chance I wasn’t going to love this one just as much if not more than the original, I doubt there will be another one for a good long while, there isn’t much more they can do especially if they end up throwing in all the music across all the games, the next one we see will most likely be after a few more Final Fantasy games come out.
So two things going on, first of which…tomorrow Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy Curtain Call comes out tomorrow, though thanks to Square-Enix and Digital River shipping genius I got my copy Saturday and while I’ve played a bit of it, I want to get a little more into it before I give it the review treatment which will be shortly, possibly tomorrow if time permits.
The other and more important bit of…