Galerians is considered a bit of a hidden game for Sony's first Playstation. The game was released in 1999 in Japan, and the following year in Western markets. It was developed by Polygon Magic, published by ASCII Entertainment, and carries the Crave logo for distribution. It seems to have been hidden as a result of the game's late timing on the system, coming just as the hype for Playstation 2 was in full gear. It's also a game that does little to advance the survival horror design formula, other than giving you a different story and weapons that fit the story.
Continue reading Spooky Plays: Galerians
Certainly, I can't be the only one on this site who gets a little jealous when they read slakur's articles and hear about his weekly nights of gaming with friends. As I've mentioned before, I don't have a lot of friends who game and even fewer that actually collect games. However, over the last few weeks, a buddy of mine has been coming over to the house on Thursday nights to game. We have a great deal of fun playing some of the new games I've purchased (some of which I'm playing for the first time) and pulling games off the shelf that maybe he or I have never tried out. The best part of the night is that he always has a plastic grocery bag in his hand when I open the front door to my house and I feel like a kid at Christmas eagerly awaiting to see what goodies are in that bag. Our game nights are definitely making my wishlist increase and my bank account lessen.
This past Thursday, we had another great night of gaming and played such awesome titles as: Castlevania: Bloodlines (Genesis), Soldier Blade (TG16), Air Zonk (TG16), The Combatribes (SNES), and Choplifter III (SNES). As is always the case, we played a few stinkers as well and that night the list included The Tick (Genesis) and Tail of the Sun (PSX). However, out of all of the games we played, none of them surprised us more than Mobile Light Force for the original Playstation.
Continue reading Banana's Rotten Reviews: Mobile Light Force
I have been excited about the release of Tales of Xillia 2 since I played and reviewed the first one a few months ago (http://www.rfgeneration.c...-Tales-of-Xillia-2755.php). I greatly enjoyed the main characters and writing of the original game and thought that the plot took plenty of nice turns that were not as predictable as an RPG veteran would expect.
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Tales of Xillia 2
Welcome back to a world of horror and fright. You may remember last year when I did a review of a game (Thief: The Dark Project [http://www.rfgeneration.c...The-Dark-Project-2639.php]) that many would not consider when pondering their options to step into a good atmosphere that sends chills down your spine and squeals up your throat. The real "horror" came from the masterpiece's years spent in "Development Hell" where its focus was changed about a half dozen times. In contrast to a jumbled mess of juxtaposed design and experimentation that somehow worked brilliantly, this year I bring you D. Just "D." The letter "D." No more. No less. "D."
Continue reading Spooky Plays: D
The international success of the first Crash Bandicoot allowed Naughty Dog to get started on a sequel, and most of the team members remained intact for this transition. This let them build on the ideas from the first game and polish up problems, while adding new ideas. Sadly this created quite a few new problems. Despite all these new issues, Crash 2 was more successful than the first game, making it the best selling Western developed game in Japan when it was released. However, its international sales caused the game to fall a bit short of its predecessor in total sales.
Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
This month's Together Retro game club pick over at http://Racketboy.com was Zoop. Now let me guess -- you've heard of Zoop, but never played it. You vaguely remember a magazine ad for it, but aren't really sure what it is. Am I right? Probably. That's generally how it went. Zoop was a puzzle game released in 1995 and it was ported to just about every platform available at the time. It made its way to SNES, Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear, PC, Mac, Saturn, Atari Jaguar and the PlayStation in an honest-to-goodness attempt at being the next Tetris. Indeed it was even marketing as "America's Largest Killer of Time!"
Perhaps what's more interesting about the game's place in history is that it was designed by a team called Hookstone. Though that name may not ring a bell, most of the members of Hookstone went on to form Mobius Entertainment, who you probably know better as Rockstar Leeds. That's right, the same team responsible for bringing Manhunt and the Grand Theft Auto series to the PSP had its humble beginnings in a simple puzzle game.
Originally my plan was to play the Game Boy version, but I found it to be a bad idea. You see Zoop is all about a little triangle that's inside a big square. And all these multi-colored shapes are attempting to get in the square. But the triangle can turn into each color, and then take out like colored rows. Maybe you see where I'm going with this? Yeah, a game where color is important just isn't going to work so well on a monochrome system. So I soon decided that I'd pick up the PlayStation port instead. Some of my fellow Racketboy forum members actually played and enjoyed the GB port. Well, more power to them. Personally it just confused my eyes.
The PlayStation version was very good. At least I assume it would be just as good as any of the other console ports at the time (Jaguar, Saturn, etc.). The controls were responsive, the colors were vibrant and thanks to the newly implemented CD technology, the music was really great. I personally wasn't great at the game. In fact that's my high score in the picture up above there. But what was really nice about playing this month is that so many members got really into the game. It's really fun to go back and play a game with a bunch of people even though it's not handing out achievements or syncing trophies.
Truthfully, I lost interest in the game about halfway into the month. But in fairness, it was my birthday this month which means I got a lot of new games and all of them were begging for my attention. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't come back to this one. In fact Zoop certainly has a certain appeal to it. That kind of timeless replayability that makes games like Dr. Mario or Tetris so addicting. If you haven't played Zoop yet, you've really got no excuse. I guarantee you own one of the systems it's available for.
When Star Wars: Dark Forces was announced as March's game of the month for the Together Retro game club at http://Racketboy.com, I wasn't quite sure how to feel. On the one hand, I was excited at the prospect of trying out a game I had never had any experience with. Certainly it had attained its Greatest Hits package because enough people liked it. Right? And plus, I was back into the swing of seriously collecting PS1 games again. So it was a great excuse to snatch this one up. But on the other hand, I'm really not a Star Wars fan. I mean, I saw the original trilogy growing up. I certainly was aware of the license. But I was never all that into it either. So I've always avoided games based on it.
Upon first firing it up, I felt a bit of relief. The truth is that I don't have all that much experience with first person shooters. I did enjoy Wolfenstein 3D and Doom during the golden age of freeware. I loved the GBA Duke Nukem sequel. But for the most part my experience with the genre was limited. So imagine my comfort when I realized that Dark Forces was cut from the same mold as Doom.
It should certainly be distinguished that Dark Forces is not quite a Doom-clone either. I mean obviously it borrows at least something from such an influential game, but it also adds a lot as well. The most impressive addition being the ability to freely look up and down, thus adding an extra layer of importance to the 3D environment.
The first few levels impressed me immensely. Even without being a Star Wars fan, there was a lot to enjoy here. The absolute high point for me with this game was the level design. Each level was amazingly well thought out and featured various puzzles or gimmicks that made them stand out. Whether it was dealing with the absence of light until getting a power generator running, or navigating through multi-level platformed mazes in a sewer, the game offered incredible levels to explore and enjoy.
Unfortunately there was one major drawback to the game that completely derailed my progress: the lack of ability to save anywhere. You see, in Dark Forces you can only save your game after you beat a level. This might be fine in a game like Doom where you can shoot your way through a level in no time. But whereas Dark Forces concentrated so heavily on mission-based levels with puzzles and mazes and other various objectives, this really hurt things. At least for me.
After spending about an hour and a half making my way through a maze-like level one evening, it got to a point where I simply had to go to bed. So that was it. I had to just hit the power switch and lose ninety minutes of progress. The slightest thought of powering up my console to replay that same ninety minutes over again just enraged me. Especially if I wasn't able to complete the level before having some other real world thing to deal with. There was no way, man. No way.
So honestly much of the month was spent with that mindset. I'd pick up Dark Forces with the intention of making some more progress. But then I'd look at the clock and figure I best just play something else instead. I figured I just didn't have the time to devote to a single level like that. Considering many (probably more recent) games of this nature my let you save your progress as you go, I'd probably do better with them. Y'know making my way through a game in baby steps.
But that got me to thinking a bit about the whole concept. I mean, is it wrong to want your game to be so flexible? I couldn't help but think back to Resident Evil with its infuriating typerwriter ribbon save system. Now certainly I don't look back on Resident Evil with any disdain, but I will say that I was thrilled that saving was a far more easy and constant prospect by the time Resident Evil 4 was released. I'm also somewhat reminded of the save-state debate that's developed since the dawn of easily attainable ROM's via the internet. While we old timers might look down on the youngin's for "cheating" by using save-states, how many of us actually have time to handle all of our day-to-day adult responsibilities and keep replaying the same dungeon over and over again? (I'm looking at you Ice Palace).
I know I've gone off on a bit of tangent here. But I guess it's nice to know that even if I didn't get a chance to really get as much gameplay enjoyment out of Dark Forces as I may have wished, at least it caused me to do some thinking.
Some of you may instantly recognize the title of this post, others of you may be curiously scratching your heads. If you don't recognize the quote, those are the immortal words uttered by the in-game announcer at the start of every race in the very first Ridge Racer game for the Sony Playstation, one of the system's ten launch titles and one of its best known racers. Many things can and have been written about the Ridge Racer series of games published by Namco, but they are interesting for this blog because five of the eleven games in the series have been in a console launch lineup. The launch titles were:
This five part series of blog entries will look at each launch title in the Ridge Racer series and what, if anything, they did to showcase the new capabilities of each system.
Ridge Racer - Sony Playstation
The Playstation's U.S. launch in September of 1995 featured only one game that had also been released when the system premiered in Japan the prior December: Ridge Racer. In fact, Ridge Racer was the only launch game featured in all three major game markets (JPN/NA/EUR ). It seemed clear from the start that Sony was banking on Namco's arcade hit to help sell systems.
In the U.S., Ridge Racer was one of two racing games that new console buyers could choose from when entering their favorite game or electronics store on that Saturday morning in September. The other, ESPN Extreme Games, featured an assortment of X-Games events such as street luge and mountain biking. Only Ridge Racer provided a traditional automobile racing game. So, new buyers looking to take the arcade racing experience home were faced with little choice but to buy it on launch day. As it turns out, they couldn't have done much better: Ridge Racer is an absolute gem of a racing game that accomplished many technical feats fifteen years ago and holds up well to this day.
Arcades in the U.S. were still doing quite well in 1994 and 1995, and though the focus for many players had shifted from fighting games to racing games, there was a lot to choose from in coin-ops around the country in the mid-90s. Increasingly, the best arcade games were seeing high profile ports for home consoles. During the period of time that the Saturn, Playstation, and N64 were released (between May 1995 and September 1996) each console had a racing game associated with it, a game that promised to push the limits of the console. For Nintendo, that game was Cruisn' USA (though the game didn't make the N64 launch). For Sega, the game was Daytona USA. For Sony, it was Ridge Racer.
At the time, I was a die-hard Sega fan and insanely jealous of my friends who were able to enjoy their copies of Daytona USA at home. Sure, the Daytona USA port didn't look arcade perfect, but it seemed close and impressed me nonetheless. When I couldn't play on a friends' Saturn, I would still frequently pump quarters into the Daytona USA arcade machine as my home racing was limited to Virtua Racing for the Genesis for several more years (an excellent game in its own right). By the time I finally joined the 32-bit generation and picked up a Playstation in late 1996 (skipping the Saturn altogether!), I was anticipating the release of new racing games for the PS1 (most notably Gran Turismo) and passed on picking up Ridge Racer. I'd had my fill of racing with Daytona and Crusin' and decided to pick up games for other genres in the interim.
So, I only recently acquired the classic PS1 launch game, and now wish I had done so a decade ago.
Early PS1 games didn't feature many of the icons on the back indicating compatibility with memory cards, number of discs, etc.
As a launch title, the game is significant for several reasons:
The graphics. There's no denying that an important draw for purchasers on launch day is graphics horsepower. The graphics put out in the PS1 port of Ridge Racer are simply better than they were for the Saturn port of Daytona USA. The polygons are less blocky, the sense of speed is faster, and the scenery is more diverse. There are usually more things happening on the screen at any given time, and aside from the poorly designed menus, the interface is quite polished. Daytona may have been better in the arcades, but if these racing games were meant to show off what the system could do, Ridge Racer was an early harbinger of the doom of the Saturn. Ridge Racer's graphics are bright, pop in is quite good for a first-gen title, and the scale of the landscape surrounding the courses is impressive.
It allowed you to choose your own music. Once the game was loaded and a race started, you could swap out the Ridge Racer CD for your own favorite disc. The game would then randomly select tracks on your CD to play while you raced and navigated menus. Since Daytona USA was a frequent point of comparison at the time this game came out, I should note that I also prefer Ridge Racers original music over Daaaaay-tohhhhhhh-nah's ( especially given the "classic" nature of the latter's songs). That said, nothing beats choosing your own musical selection. In playing the game again for this post, I chose the era-appropriate Beck album "Mellow Gold." Hearing track 11 playing over the credits was a sweet bit of randomness. In an age where CD sales were really catching on, this was a nice way for the Playstation to showcase its versatility.
Place this in the CD drive to make Ridge Racer unplayable.
It featured a mini-game with a generous reward during the only loading screen. Popping Ridge Racer into a console usually meant a few resets until all the enemies in this one screen version of Galaxian were cleared. Clearing all the enemies in the limited time granted you access to three times the number of cars that would be available otherwise. Not only did you have more options, but many of these were better cars. Furthermore, the game only loads once at the very beginning, a welcome change from the frequent and frustrating waits experienced by owners of many other CD-based consoles at the time. The fact that the loading screen is a game itself was icing.
The game featured a hefty amount of unlocakbles. There were certainly games with unlockables in the previous generations, but Ridge Racer was one of the first CD-based games to offer multiple versions of tracks to unlock, cars that could be won, and other goodies for the devoted player to discover. The ease of saving data on a memory card (times, unlocked tracks, etc.) meant that you could take these unlocked items with you, one of the key selling points for Sony's console.
The back of the manual provided alternate cover art.
Taken as a package, it is easy to see why Sony pushed for Ridge Racer to see a release in every major region on launch day. Better racing games would eventually come, but compared to racers on other consoles that preceded Ridge Racer, Sony clearly had the upper hand and could better capitalize on the ongoing arcade craze. The game is far from perfect; it is single player, some of the drifting feels too loose, the various tracks are all variations of one main track, the announcer voice is annoying, and the difficulty ramps up considerably in later stages. However, the game is still worth playing today despite these weaknesses, if only to appreciate how different it was compared to what had come before. The game would go on to see huge sales and win numerous awards in the next year. It would also become Sony's first pack-in game.
Ridge Racer spawned over 10 sequels. We will revisit some of those games in future installments.
Next Up: an "end game"
I wanted to make this blog when the work had been completed but it is taking much longer than expected. As some of you have noticed the PlayStation database has changed somewhat significantly.
A very special thanks is owed to Jason Dvorak (aka dangerboy) over at Game-Rave.com for allowing RFGeneration the use of his information. To help in keeping our(aka your) collection tool the most comprehensive AND accurate on the internet.(If not the most we are quickly closing the gap anyways )
The bulk of the changes came in the form of variations. Though there have also been quite a few new titles added also.
When this project started we had roughly 1750 titles in the PS database. As of this blog we are just over 1900 entries and should easily eclipse 2000 and possibly even 2100.
In the same vein as the NES and 2600 updates everyone might want to check to make sure that their online collection matches their real world games. There are still some more changes to come. I will post further updates here so that everyone can easily check specific titles.
Welcome to Random Lists, this is an articles I'll do on occasion just for fun because I enjoy making lists. Today's list is my Top 9 canceled games, what does it take to get on the list? The title must have been offically announced in some capacity, the title must either have been anticipated, hyped, or just had a cool primise. Without further delay, here is my list of the top 9 canceled games...
Continue reading Random Lists #1: Top 9 Cancelled Games
Happy Birthday PS3! That's right, two years ago today the PLAYSTATION 3 was released here in the states, being the second region to get the behemoth known as the PLAYSTATION 3. At the time it was the BIGGEST, BADDEST, MOST POWERFUL console to date, and well, two out of the three of those descriptors still fit. Depending on how you look at it, those descriptors can have either a positive or negative connotation associated with them.
Let's look back shall we? Well, in 2006 Sony had far and beyond the largest ego of the three developers. A cocky arrogance, so to speak. The PlayStation 2 sold like hotcakes, so obviously the PS3 would sell like hotcakes as well, right? Never mind the price differential. I know inflation occurs, but damn, you paid a premium if you bought a PS3 at launch. So, looking back, is it that surprising that the PS3 hasn't sold so well? I wouldn't think so, but I certainly didn't expect it to be as piss poor as it's been. Maybe it was branding the PLAYSTATION 3 as PLAYSTATION 3. ALL CAPS IS GREAT!!!!L0Lz0r. Seriously, why? Was it arrogance? I don't know for sure, but I am certainly inclined to believe it was.
Grand Theft Auto IV was supposed to get people to buy a PS3. To a certain extent it did, but then it dropped off like your grandmother's fine china falls off the table when your two year old son gets a hold of it. Truth be told, the massive releases haven't really had the intended effect that Sony was hoping for. It's sort of sad, don't these companies learn from history? I remember some other company being an arrogant ass and in the process watched it's market share drop from first to third over two console generations. I guess these companies just don't like to read up on history.
Of course, perhaps the future will be better for Sony. I know that I really want LittleBigPlanet, and half of Japan really wants Final Fantasy XIII. Perhaps the PS3 will be a late bloomer. Time shall tell, but in the the past things haven't been so rosy for the poor PLAYSTATION 3. After all, The PLAYSTATION 3 is now referred to as the PlayStation 3. Did the marketers get tired of holding down shift or did Sony realize their arrogance? Who knows, but it does make you wonder.
So, 2 years down, how many more to follow? Clearly the 4 year cycle should be blown to nothingness, I hope. I honestly think the PlayStation 3 will have a rosier future. It really is a powerful, powerful system, and in time production costs will hit a sweet spot where the mass public can afford it. There are good games for the PlayStation 3, and someday maybe a lot of people will be fortunate enough to play them. Sony really, really needs to knock the socks off of the gaming public. Clearly non casual gamers feel at time disenfranchised with the current market leader, why not capitalize on that? Find a sweet spot to sell the console at. Promote the third party tie-in ratio. Push the value of the console. Stop running esoteric and crazy commercials. Sell and advertise what people want. I think Sony will be able to pull it off, and in the future you might just see Sony be somewhere rosier than they currently are. Time shall tell.
Two years down, more to follow. What's your take on the PlayStation 3? What has the past and future held for the console in your opinion? What must they do in the present? Are they doomed to third place? Have the mighty fallen again? Time shall certainly tell.
November 15, 1996 (12 years ago): Tomb Raider is released.
Consoles: Originally Sega Saturn, then Sony PlayStation, MS-DOS, and later others.
It was 12 years ago. Lara Croft, later hailed as the most recognizable female video game character, became known to public, and conquered hearts of millions (in part due to the game designers fooling around and enlarging Lara's breasts to 150% size, and then deciding to leave it that way). She could be seen on magazine covers, computer backgrounds, posters, and even TV. People fell in love with her... All in all, she was a female Indiana Jones (only with Harrison Ford replaced by a hot acrobatic babe).
The plot (just like the plot of almost any game in the series) was not anything particularly amazing - Lara finds an ancient artefact, realizes that there are more, but before she can find them all, someone evil uses the artefact's power and turns himself/herself into a mutant/dragon/spider/etc. for Lara to deal with. Also, at some point during any story, Lara absolutely must be stripped of all her weapons (not clothes) so that she can has fun recovering them while defenseless (a recurring story element).
What really attracted people (besides the protagonist herself) was the gameplay. A combination of traditional platform action (similar to Prince of Persia), cutting edge 3D graphics, the revolutionary third-person camera, gun action, and simple but clever puzzles is what made Tomb Raider famous (and, by extension, what raised PlayStation's popularity in its early years). The series continued with the hit TR2, improved graphics for TR3, and while TR: The Last Revelation brought the Egypt locations back, TR: Chronicles and Angel of Darkness disappointed many fans, and some feared that the series may be dead. It was not until recently when Core Design handed over control to Crystal Dynamics, which resulted in the true revival of Lara in TR: Legend, a remake of the original called TR: Anniversary, and the new title, TR: Underworld, about to be released (three days left).
Anyway, celebrate this day by playing the games from the series. I myself have many fun memories. Remember, in the second game, how Lara had to outswim a shark deep underwater? Or how in the third game she had to infiltrate Area 51? How about pig-tailed 16-year-old Lara running around a really creepy Irish village in Chronicles?
If you are going to play the Saturn or the PlayStation version, remember that you can only save using "save crystals". And if you are going to run the DOS version, you'll need to do a few tricks first (Windows XP and Vista will not cooperate). For any help running the game, as well as awesome walkthroughs, visit Stella's awesome site (I owe her a lot):
People have been sneering at the price of the PS3. They say it is expensive. You know, this statement is correct. However, I find it troubling that many of these people that say the Playstation 3 is overly expensive have no problem laying down the money for Microsoft's 360. I find such actions humorous. Let's analyze what I perceive as the true costs of these two systems, in terms of what they have to offer and what hidden costs lie with the system. Perhaps, we'll be enlightened after this discussion. Perhaps you'll be enraged. Chances are though that my arguments are pretty decent, and perhaps it will make take a second look at which system you ultimately end up purchasing.
Continue reading PS3 or 360? Why not Make an Informed Decision?
Let me blog for once.
During the 32-bit era some of Irem's best shmups were ported onto the PSX and Saturn in two different collections. Depending where you go it's either a hit or a partly miss.
Pack One: R-Types (PSX):
Released in the US thanks to ASCII Entertainment (later became known as Agetec), R-Types is perfect port of R-Type and R-Type II on one disc. R-Types comes with a nice intro video, a Museum mode, and of course both games. Shmup fans and arcade fans in general will love the collection because the gameplay is still hard and fun after all these years.
For $10-$20, it is worth it.
Pack Two: Arcade Gears: Image Fight & X-Multiply (PSX + Saturn):
Note: Playstation version looks just like the Saturn cover except it has the Playstation logo on it.
Released only in Japan and in Asian counties (Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), Arcade Gears was Xing's line of retro arcade games that was published in the late 90s. Xing didn't develop any games, they just ported other company's games to mostly the Saturn and some on the Playstation (like Tatio's Gun Frontier, Capcom's Three Wonders, etc.). Image Fight and X-Multiply were two great Irem shmups that were released after R-Type. While these games didn't get the same fanfare as R-Type, they're still fun and hard like R-Type. Image Fight is a vertical shmup where the first five stages are a simulation. Do well in those stages you can go to the final three stages. X-Multiply is more similar to R-Type but it tends to focus a lot more on organic backgrounds and enemy designs (like Konami's Salamander/LifeForce).
Anyway, about the ports. Both the Playstaion and Saturn ports were mostly good except for some few faws. In both versions when playing X-Multiply you have to move the status menu (which tells the score, lives, etc.) by using the L/R buttons in order to see the whole screen. The original arcade game didn't have this problem at all. You can't change button configurations in the Saturn version (only in PSX version). In both versions, when playing Image Fight it appears that the bullets move a little too fast (compared to the arcade version). On the PSX port, when playing Image Fight in TATE mode (true Vertical mode by flipping your TV on its side, aka true Arcade screen mode) you'll sometimes get graphical glitches.
Funny thing because unlike R-Type where the menus look nice, Image Fight & X-Multiply's menus look really rushed. Of course when does having pretty menus mean anything (never)? If you want to get Image Fight & X-Multiply it's going to cost you a good bit of money. The Saturn version goes for $70-$100 and it's more common than the PSX version (but the weird thing is that the PSX version is cheaper, around $60-$80).
The Saturn version was only released in Japan while the PSX version was released in both Japan and in Asian countries.
Image courtesy of Playstation.com
I've been a big fan of the Yakuza series since back in the Playstation 2 days. If you've never heard of them, the games put you mostly in the shoes of Kazuma "Kaz" Kiryu as he deals with the trials and tribulations of being a leader in the Tojo Clan of gangsters. Like the Persona series, Yakuza, while localized for American audiences, is baked in Japanese culture. The gameplay, contrary to popular belief is nothing like Grand Theft Auto but more like Shenmue only a thousand times more exciting and fluid. The series has spanned the Playstation 2 through the Playstation 4, and even has a few PSP titles that never made it out of Japan. I feel like I have to stress that for as much as I adore this series, it is certainly not for everyone. Only the first game has English voice acting so if you don't like reading subtitles, see you later! The brawler-style combat engine is not updated enough from game to game so many people have understandably criticized it for becoming stale. The graphics, while colorful and detailed, always feel a little bit dated. If you don't like long cutscenes you also might want to pass. They're not in the same league as the Metal Gear Solid series, but they're certainly in the realm of "put down your controller and watch for a while."
Continue reading Yakuza 5