Friday, January 30, 2009

Big Bang Mini

Developer: Arkedo
Publisher: Southpeak Interactive
Release Date: Jan. 21, 2009
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The only game I know of that lets you shoot fireworks at robotic pirate penguin snowmen.

0:00 Space Invaders Extreme got me on a sort of portable shoot-'em-up kick, I guess. I've heard just enough about this one to be intrigued by the premise and concerned about the controls at the same time.

0:01 "Arkedo!" says a chorus of what sound like little kids. On the title screen, fireworks go off constantly on the top screen while constellations float by on the bottom. Tutorial mode seems a logical place to start: "Learn to shoot fireworks! Then please save the world." Well, since you asked so nicely...

0:02 "Welcome to the Big Bang Mini training center! Soon, you'll find out how to light up your world with fireworks!" How soon? HOW SOON?!

0:03 Movement means dragging my ship around the touch screen with the stylus. Shooting means flicking the stylus up towards the top screen. The tutorial tells me to do it lightly, like striking a match against the touch-screen. This is a perfect analogy. "Well done! What magnificent fireworks! It's like you've been doing this all your life!" Flattery will get you everywhere, game.

0:04 Apparently firing is independent of my ship's position ... I can shoot these fireworks from wherever I want on the bottom screen, and at angles, too. Makes me wonder why the ship is there in the first place.

0:06 Ah ... the ship is there to collect the little stars that fall from the sky when I hit targets. Switching between shooting and moving is fun in the tutorial, but I can see it becoming a little hectic in a game situation. Also, when I miss targets, burning firework debris comes down and I have to dodge it. This is bad firework design, IMO.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Space Invaders Extreme

Developer: Taito
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: June 17, 2008
Systems: PSP (reviewed), DS
ESRB Rating: E

In a nutshell: Space Invaders meets Geometry Wars. Ow, my brains...

0:00 I've never been a huge fan of the original Space Invaders (I was always more of a Galaga man, myself), but I've been hearing good things about this fast-paced, portable remake. Before I even turn on the game I'm entranced by the clear plastic shell for the UMD. Wicked!

0:01 "Taito Corporation. Space Invaders 30th Anniversary. Space Invaders Extreme!" reads a sexy voice right out of the Starship Enterprise. The title screen has a large dancing invader with lines of other invaders across the top and bottom. The logo/title replaces some Es with 3s for no apparent reason. What is this, Driv3r?

0:03 I have a love/hate relationship with games, like this one, that let you preset your starting number of lives in the options screen. I always set it as high as possible, but I always feel bad about it, like I'm cheating somehow.

0:04 "Stage 1, Let's Go," reads the screen. A driving techno beat matches all the crazy, multicolored crap floating around the background. Like the original game, I've still got a little ship at the bottom of the screen, firing up at the slowly encroaching invaders. Luckily, though, the firing rate is much faster. The n-shaped shields from the original are gone, making it feel a lot more like Galaga -- a good thing.

0:05 Power-ups? Really? A blue block floats down from a destroyed invader and gives me a thick blue laser that absolutely EVISCERATES everything. Hoo yeah!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Developer: Tyler Glail
Publisher: Newgrounds
Release Date: Jan. 23, 2009
System: PC
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site

In a nutshell: But that would spoil it!

0:00 After seeing three separate recommendations for this game in as many days, I decided I had to try it out. That said, I still don't really know what the game is about, despite some rather vague explanations, so I'm going in largely blind. If you want to do the same, might I recommend hitting the "Official Web site" link before reading any further.

0:01 This minute spent on a loading screen with a creepy heartbeat and a system of arteries and veins filling up with blood to represent the loading progress.

0:02 The scene is rendered in extremely sketchy black and white. It looks like I'm a guy hold a ball drawn in chalk. Above me, a sign with an arrow pointing right. Behind me, a car crashed into a tree on fire. In front of me, inky blackness. Let's DO THIS!

0:03 As I walk, the ball of light surrounding me reveals my immediate surroundings. The credits are written in the background as I pass by. I drop the ball in a holding pedestal and four more similar pedestals light up and appear on the corners of the screen. The title appears in the middle. Hmm...

0:04 I fall to my death in the inky void a couple of times trying to figure out what to do next. Turns out I have to jump to the upper right ball-holder, pick up the ball, and walk a bit to the door. In the next room: "If you get stuck: K, R, Enter." There's a real creepy vibe to the whole thing, exacerbated by the background noise that sounds like a boiler room.

0:05 I walk up to the next door, but a message appears on the wall: "I need more light." I go grab a second and the door becomes openable. In the next room, the message "come on ... through" is written on the wall, with a wall in the middle of the words. It seems that anything not actively illuminated doesn't exist, but as soon as I get near the wall, a light source on the other side makes it corporeal and blocks my way. Hmmm...

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Love Golf!

Developer: Camelot
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: July 15, 2008
System: Wii
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Mario Golf ... minus the Mario ... plus the Wii Remote.

0:00 I don't really love golf in real life, but I did love Camelot's Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64, so I'm looking forward to this one quite a bit.

0:01 The chorus of chipper voices screaming "WE LOVE GOLF!" on the preview screen is almost worth the price of admission all on its own. What a way to start the morning.

0:02 No cut scene intro, just a title screen with the logo and the same chipper voices screaming at me about their love for golf. They need to up their meds. Seriously.

0:03 The brightly colored menu buttons make tones when I pass over them. Everyone is smiling and determined. Man, this is a happy game!

0:04 I can choose my player from Meg, Leo, Annie and Jack. Each looks no older than 14, and has a vibrant animated pose to go with their something. I go with Meg, who's very cute in her white skirt, orange shirt and white visor. Her stats? Who cares!

0:05 I think I'd better start with training before diving into a tournament. There are three courses, including the excellently named Sweet Candy Putting Forest. Let's start at the Highland Leaf Country Club, though.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, January 26, 2009

Karoshi: Suicide Salaryman

Developer: Jesse Venbrux
Publisher: Armor Games
Release Date: Unknown
System: PC
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Kill or be killed. Actually, scratch that first part.

0:00 A friend sent me the link for this one over the weekend (hi again, Mike). He thought it would be right up my alley. Based on the name alone, I think he might be right.

0:01 Pan over a low-quality, hand-drawn picture of Karoshi Corp. Inside, our blue-suited salaryman jumps over some spikes and gets to the door. A big, red "X" appears on the screen. Starting over, Karoshi jumps into the spikes. A green check mark this time. And the title. What a great, compact introduction to the concept!

0:02 "Use the arrow keys to walk and jump. Press space bar to fire your gun (you first need to find it). Press R to restart a level. Your goal in each level is to die." Simple enough. I like the ToeJam & Earl-style funk music in the background

0:03 The first level is simply to get used to the controls, it seems: Just jump right into the spikes. In the second level I have to push a safe to get up a ledge. In the third level, another safe has to sit on a switch to remove a wall of boxes. I love the big red explosion of blood when I hit the spikes.

0:04 Heh ... in Level 4 I have to position a safe above me, then use a switch to make it fall on top of me. This poor salaryman must have some crippling emotional problems.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, January 23, 2009

GTI Club+: Rally Cote D'Azur

Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: Jan. 15, 2009
System: PS3
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Argh, I missed the shortcut AGAIN!

0:00 I have no idea what the GTI Club is, nor why it should be increased by a plus sign. I do know what Cote D'Azur is, at least. Anyway, Twitter follower and Konami employee James Wong offered me a download code for the game, so I figure it's at least worth a quick spin.

0:01 The camera pans past some relatively plain and empty-looking streets as a peppy number plays over the title. Everything looks kind of basic compared to the super-detailed courses of a Gran Turismo or Midnight Club. Still, a nice, clean look.

0:03 Apparently I can hook up the PlayStation Eye to take Happy, Mocking, Sad and Angry pictures to send to opponents when, I assume, those emotions would apply. Er, no thanks. I'm gonna start with single-player, anyway.

0:04 Difficulty choices are Easy Race, Medium Race, Hard Race and Free Run. I'm a decent virtual driver, so let's go with Medium.

0:05 A vast, VAST line-up of FIVE tiny cars greets me in an abandoned parking lot. I choose a red Austin Mini Cooper because the idea of racing a Mini Cooper is just too hilarious for words. Automatic transmission please!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Skate 2

Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: EA
Release Date: Jan. 22, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The most realistic skating experience you can have lying down on a couch.

0:00 I enjoyed my hour with the demo of the original Skate so much that it almost made up for the time I spent suffering through the Wii spin-off Skate It. Hopefully this Xbox 360 sequel will bring the joy back.

0:01 The Skate 2 logo flickers on a billboard atop a half-pipe, with random skaters skating about. The bottom shows "EA|HD: HD-compatible for optimal gaming." Er, doesn't that go without saying on the Xbox 360 these days?

0:02 Logging into my EA Nation account using the on-screen keyboard is pretty annoying. Also, what's the point of blanking out my password as I enter it if anyone can see me choosing the letters very slowly?

0:03 The camera zooms down an alley to the menu on a brick wall. "Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself" plays in the background ... appropriate for a game that lets you make your own tricks.

0:04 New Career. "Hey, get up ... it's time to go," says a guard from behind a meal slot. "It's your lucky day, boy." Surprisingly, it's HD video and not pre-rendered animation. It's like the opening to some hard-bitten crime show as I pass by other prisoners, each with the name of an actor hovering below them. Out in the prison yard, they're rolling dice and lifting weights, eating ice cream and ... playing patty cake? Reminds me of "Arrested Development" a bit.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sid Meier's Pirates

Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K Games
Systems: PC (reviewed), Mac, Xbox, PSP
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2004
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Yar ... there be a simple strategy simulation off the port bow. Fire!

0:00 I've heard very good things about this game for years, and have a friend who's been trying to get me to play it for nearly as long (hi, Mike). That said, I probably wouldn't be touching it if it weren't freely available on my GameTap account.

0:01 A pirate opens a chest and finds the Firaxis logo. The 2K logo just fades in as normal. Bleh. The title appears over a cloud-covered map of the sea. The cursor becomes a ship's steering wheel during some long-ish loading.

0:03 The best thing about playing old games on my crappy computer: For once I can turn the video settings ALL THE WAY UP. *flex*

0:04 "It began with a celebration. Indebted for years to the Marquis de Motalban, a family's prosperity was soon to be restored -- carrying both their hopes and their salvation." Scenes of a 3-D family laughing and drinking at a dinner party. Then the Marquis comes with bad news: The fleet has been lost and the debt's come due. The family's property is seized by redcoats. The kid of the family tries to fight back, then runs off. "While his family was enslaved, the boy swore revenge." Ten years later, we pan over the docks, and see the now-grown boy begin his quest. I'm not sure how I feel about the silent, all-text and animation story presentation.

0:06 "Seeking passage to the new world, you inquire at a public house." A guy hands my character, a clean-cut muscular boy, a "crew sign-ups" parchment. The default name is "Incognito," which tickles me so much that I decide to use it.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Silent Hill: Homecoming

Developer: Double Helix, Foundation 9
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2008
System: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Dark, dull and incomprehensibly creepy.

0:00 While most people were scared and/or intrigued by Silent Hill 2, I was mostly bored by it when I had to review it for the college paper years back. Will this second foray into the series be more engaging? Here's hoping...

0:01 A few logos, and we go directly to a title screen. Creepy piano music and abandoned areas -- a playground, a clock tower, a beat-up car -- are shown in the background. Cut to a montage of scenes from the game. "Josh ... Josh ... don't let me fall," says a guy in an army jacket clinging to an edge. He lets him fall; then the guy wakes up in a truck. "Bad dream?" asks the trucker. Welcome to Shepherd's Glen ... echoes of the iconic "Welcome to Silent Hill" sign. "I miss your father Alex ... everyone's gone," says his mom. "We're going to Silent Hill," says Alex. "We won't be going anywhere!" says ... someone. A guy shovels dirt. Grainy video of a strangling. Josh looks demonic. "Where's ... my ... BROTHER?!" "I'm sorry, Mom." "Our sacrifices were in VAIN!" Alex falls again. "We've been gone too long." "I'll find them." W. T. F.

0:05 "On Normal difficulty, all monsters and ammo are set to default values. On Hard difficulty, the monsters are tougher, hit harder, and there is less ammo available in the world." Call me a wimp, but I go for Normal difficulty.

0:06 The sound effects are subtitled ... a nice touch. "Where's my squad? Are they here? Did they make it?" I'm in a first-person perspective, looking up from a stretcher being wheeled down a dark hallway. "Hey ... hey, talk to me. Say something. Oh God. Oh ... oh God!" I cry out to the guy wheeling me. There's screaming in the next room. I'm clearly distressed. "Hey, where are you taking me? No!!! Hey!! No!" Pretty creepy, but not exactly "scary" yet.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, January 19, 2009

Destroy All Humans! Path of the Furon

Developer: Sandblast Games
Publisher: THQ
Release Date: Dec. 1, 2008
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The world's premier human-launching simulation.

0:00 My sum total experience with this series is the hour or so I spent with the original. It was fun enough, but not fun enough to actually get me to play it more. A second player can only make it more fun, I figure, so I'm recruiting my visiting friend Bruce to help out with this.

0:01 The title appears, then the sun rises over a silhouetted Earth, viewed from space. Crypto comes down and does some James Bond-style posing in the foreground. In the background, he lifts cars, pilots a UFO, etc. "That looks like fun," Bruce says. "Have you ever played any of these games before?" I ask. "Hell, no!" is the response. Alright, on to the game.

0:02 Interesting option of the moment: Extreme Vibration. We take a look at the controls, but there are way too many buttons to remember. "Transmogrify, gotta remember that one," Bruce says.

0:03 The two-player modes are Abductorama, Brain-O-Matic and Ion Soccer. I thought we'd be able to play the main game together. Phooey. We go in alphabetical order, starting with Abduct-o-rama.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Friday, January 16, 2009

LocoRoco 2

Developer: SCEJ
Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: Feb. 10, 2009
System: PSP
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The cutest game you'll ever watch.

0:00 I played the demo of the first LocoRoco a couple of years ago, and I believe the catchy music is still in my head. I hope LocoRoco 2 is just as catchy but also a bit more involved -- I don't want another screensaver that I can kind-of-sort-of control.

0:01 A floating mass of black dreadlocks with a mouth flies around. A big, yellow LocoRoco falls in and splits into a bunch of smaller version of himself on a green field. The title "LocoRoco" lowers down from above, and a "2" shimmies in from the right. As the menu comes up, the Locos go into autoplay mode, getting shot around, pulled through gears, caught on the wind, landing and tilting a balance, etc. I could watch this all day ... but that would be boring for you guys, wouldn't it?

0:02 A black silhouette of a planet against a starry night. The music gets louder as smoke rises from the planet. A conductor leads a bunch of dreadlocks in a dark melody. A rock launches from the planet and goes zooming into space. Pan to a happy green and blue world. Zoom in to find a blue guy hammering away at a rock, then a lone LocoRoco bouncing around. "I am MuiMui, LocoRoco's friend," says another blue guy in the corner. Thanks for clearing that up!

0:04 Good thing I know the controls from last time, because no one seems very eager to explain how to tilt the world to make me roll, or how to pop it to make me jump. Controls feel a little more responsive than last time, actually. Or maybe it's my imagination.

0:06 As in the last game, collecting orange flowers makes me bigger. A tap of O splits me up into little versions, and holding O brings me back together with cries of "NOI!" SO CUTE! That said, the music isn't nearly as catchy so far.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dark Sector

Developer: Digital Extremes
Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: This game is infected with mediocrity.

0:00 I remember hearing some vague buzz about this game, but not nearly enough to buy it sight unseen. Now I'll get a chance to see it, and perhaps buy it, sight seen.

0:05 These minutes spent fiddling with the disc, trying to get the Xbox 360 to recognize it. I know this isn't the game's fault -- it's either GameFly's for sending a bad disc or Microsoft's for making a touchy system -- but I have a schedule to keep, so the clock starts ... now!

0:06 Close-up on a hand that looks like part of a statue, holding a tri-blade circular saw-thing in the pouring rain. The title appears in the foreground.

0:07 Oh, holy hell, there's a function for every face button, shoulder button, analog stick AND every direction on the d-pad. I'm never gonna keep this all straight...

0:08 The single-player option is listed on the main menu as "singlePlayer." New Game is "newGame." Man, I think I just cut myself on the EDGINESS!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crash Commando

Developer: Epos
Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: Dec. 18, 2008
System: PS3
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Rocket Launchers and Running People Over: The Game

0:00 The only thing I really know about this game is that Sony sent me a voucher code to download it. Also, I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with Crash Bandicoot.

0:01 Man, the driving military beat music over the preview screen is LOUD! I have to jump for the remote to lower the volume.

0:02 The game itself is much quieter than the preview screen, blessedly. On to the Help screen to figure out what this game is all about.

0:03 "In Crash Commando, you play as the Grunts or the Jarheads in a war that wages across various maps and game modes." OK then! There are jetpacks and vehicles and weapons and turrets and such.

0:04 There's a lot more to read about weapons and map types and game types, but let's just jump on in and figure it out as we go, OK? OK! As the Help screen says, "Let the mayhem begin!"

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, January 12, 2009

Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil

Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
Release Date: July 25, 2001
System: PlayStation 2
ESRB Rating: E

In a nutshell: Selective double jump.

0:00 I've been hearing excellent things about the Klonoa series of platformers for years, but I only purchased this one because it was $8 at GameStop. And I'm only playing it now because a Twitter friend gave it a high recommendation. I am cheap and easily influenced, apparently.

0:01 A big-eared, black and blue bunny thing with red sneakers runs down a dirt road in a green clearing as the camera pans dramatically around. A little ditty plays and he jumps, crying out "Yeah!" as he does. The title appears. Alrighty then! New game!

0:02 The game gets early bonus points for allowing me to toggle which button is "shoot" and which is "jump." Obviously X should be jump, but it's nice of them to offer the option...

0:03 Very gentle, somewhat discordant music plays in the background. It sounds a bit like someone playing on a recorder. I'm not a fan.

0:04 "Klonoa Works Presents Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil -- There's a forgotten dream. Was it a dream I can't remember, or a dream I won't remember? Have I got the dream or has the dream got me? Surely, there was a dream." The black and blue guy is falling upside-down through an inky void with some small white lights. DreamVoice: "Help... help me." Now he's fallen in the ocean on a quiet, rainy night full of clouds. "There he is," says the crew of a red biplane passing by. "Okay, okay... leave it to me!" They swing by to pick him up, but then think twice because of some witnesses on the beach. "We can't risk losing the Ring." They fly off to menace another day, I suppose.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Buzz! Master Quiz

Developer: Relentless Software
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: Sept. 23, 2008
System: PSP
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: I'm the smartest guy in this whole plane!

0:00 As a trivia nut, I was drawn to the PS2 and PS3 Buzz games. I could never get my friends to feel the same way, though. That doesn't matter for this PSP release, which I'm playing alone amidst a bunch of strangers on an airplane. What the designers intended? I doubt it.

0:01 A decent amount of loading precedes an intro movie, with blonde host Buzz sitting in a chair staring down at a PSP. Ghostly images of sports balls, musical instruments, movie props, etc. hover out of the PSP and dance around Buzz's head. Then a bomb hovers out, exploding and leaving Buzz blackened. HA! Quickly on to a simple title screen with sparse electronic music.

0:02 "Are you on your own, or do you have friends?" asks Buzz on the menu screen. Well, I DO have friends ... they're just not here. Buzz also pipes in on the options screen: "Load and savey-type stuff here!" His over-the-top voice is at least half the appeal of these games.

0:03 On to "Solo Quiz Challenge." I can choose from 10 appropriately stereotypical character types. I almost go for my old standby favorite, the Superhero, but I end up with Napoleon because, let's face it, how many games let you be Napoleon. OK, how many games that aren't in the Civilization series. "IT'S NAPOLEON," cries Buzz, apparently very excited.

0:05 "This is my show and it bears my name. This is Buzz, I am Buzz and soon you will be buzzing. Enough! Let's go!" I agree!

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Metroid Prime: Pinball

Developer: Fuse Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: Oct. 24, 2005
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: If bounty hunting doesn't work out, Samus has a fallback...
0:00 I used to love whiling away the portable pinball hours with Kirby's Pinball Land and the oft-overlooked Revenge of the 'Gator. But that was over a decade ago. Will this bring the fun times back?

0:01 The game jumps right to a title screen with a logo and some futuristic ephemera in the background. There are high scores from the old owner of this used copy. The gauntlet is thrown!

0:02 I feel bad for not having the Rumble Pak, as the Options screen suggests. The only actual gameplay options are "Single-Mission" and "Multi-Mission." I choose Multi, and then get to choose between the Pirate Frigate or the Tallon Overworld stages. I choose the Frigate because it's an awesome word. FRIGATE!

0:04 And just like that, I'm on the pseudo-3-D rendered pinball stage that goes from the bottom screen all the way to the top. A rolled-up Samus Aran is the ball here. It's a very crisp, clean, high-tech look ... nice animation too.

0:05 Somehow I activate. "Parasite purge" and a bunch of little crawly things fall down onto the table. I hit them for 1,000 points each before my ball inevitably falls between the flippers. That was quick...

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Developer: Mitchell Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: April 18, 2005
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: A flippin' great puzzle game? Or should that be "A great flippin' puzzle game"?
0:00 I was intrigued by this simple-looking puzzler when it first came out alongside the DS, but it took a drop to a ridiculous $5 used price point at GameStop to get me to actually buy it.

0:01 Right to the title screen. "View game tutorial" is the first question. "Yes" is the first answer.

0:02 "This game is controlled with a stylus. Buttons will not function." Wow, did they really have to explain that concept in so many words in the early days of the DS?

0:04 Half of the tutorial is about how to use the stylus. The other half is about how to draw lines to flip black and white tiles. Horizontal rows that all match a single color disappear. It's like Tetris meets Picross!

0:05 Interesting ... there's an "outer frame" with no tiles that I can use to extend a single line across to different areas. Not sure why I'd do that instead of just drawing two separate lines, though. Unless that's not allowed? It's not clear.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Deer Drive

Developer: SCS Software
Publisher: Mastiff
Release Date: Dec. 16, 2008
System: Wii (reviewed), PC
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: The least realistic shooting game you'll never play.

0:00 Hunting deer is very low on my "list of things I'd like to do in real life." Playing a game about hunting deer is even lower on that list. Still, I have to uphold my "you send it, I'll play it" reputation.

0:01 The preview screen has some truly awesome hair metal music. I do not have a Wii Zapper, so it looks like I'll be going gangster style with my Wii Remote on these deer, rather than the Zapper's bazooka style.

0:02 "DEER DRIVE!" screams an echoey announcer as the title logo appears over a static picture of a forest. There's no background music here. It's eerie and still. 0:03 The B button trigger is used to select all the options on the menu. Why? Because the A button is for PANSIES, that's why!

0:04 The text-based tutorial screen described the gameplay: "SHOOT AS MANY ANIMALS AS YOU CAN!" Funny, I didn't need the game to tell me that. "Angry bears will charge you and moose will run you down." Holy crap! Thanks for the warning!

0:05 "Each vital organ hit increases your Breath Control meter." I think I'm going to be ill.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer

Monday, January 5, 2009

Maximo Vs. Army of Zin

Developer: Capcom Production Studio 8
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: Jan. 20, 2004
System: PS2
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Minimum Maximo difficulty.

0:00 I absolutely loved the original Maximo: Ghosts to Glory ... until I ran out of continue coins and got stuck halfway through the LAST LEVEL! ARGH! Hopefully this one keeps the fun and challenge while losing the progress-stopping brick walls.

0:01 The title screen appears almost immediately with a bouncing, hand-drawn black army in red light advancing towards me from the background. It's cute and menacing at the same time. Creepy violin music.

0:03 The selectable difficulties are "Normal" and "Hard." Given how hard the last game was, I figure Normal will be hard enough.

0:04 A skeleton bird flies out of a red moon and over an absolutely massive CGI cut scene battle between men and skeletons. "Unholy demons," cries an armored warrior. "While I live Castle Hawkmore will never fall!" The battle done, the few remaining men gather up the dead skeleton bones. "Seal the vault behind me!" cries Mr. Armor Man. "But Lord Morrigan, you'll be trapped." No matter! He demands that his heirs guard the vault with their very lives. "It must remain sealed ... forever."

0:06 500 years later, Maximo gets attacked by a group of forest bandits. Then a distressed woman runs in and asks for help with some village-attacking monsters. Then a mechanical knight joins the party. Maximo looks past him "You're late, Grim," he says with a smile. "I always come ... in the end," says the Grim Reaper, who appears behind the skeleton and slashes him to bits. COOL! Anyway, Grim can't find Sofia's soul in the underworld. "Then she's alive?" Possibly ... Grim is mad about souls getting compressed into jewelry, for some reason, while Maximo wants to help the woman's village. The voice acting's a bit cheesy, but the animation is top-notch.

Read the full review at Crispy Gamer