I Know That Feel

Writing that post the other day about the Sega Genesis titles got me feeling rather nostalgic. I’ve written about nostalgia recently, along with dedicating a significant portion of last week’s podcast to the topic. Regardless of whether or not nostalgia worked well or not is besides the point. What the point is, is that I ended up searching for a particular PS3 title that could sate my desire to play some Sega games. My brother-in-law picked up a copy of said title a few years ago, and I did play it a bit back then, but realized that I hadn’t really dug deep enough into it. I wanted a copy of my own. The game? Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.

A collection of almost 50 games, this package was worth it’s original asking price (whatever that may have been), but the $18 I paid for a copy at Gamestop yesterday was even better. Not only does the collection have many of the games I listed in my recent post, it has other titles that I still enjoy but didn’t include. I thought I’d make a list of the games for those of you who are curious, with a small amount of commentary:

  1. Alex Kidd
  2. Alien Storm
  3. Alien Syndrome
  4. Altered Beast (+ arcade version)
  5. Beyond Oasis (on my list)
  6. Bonanza Bros.
  7. Columns
  8. Comix Zone
  9. Congo Bongo
  10. Decap Attack
  11. Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  12. Dynamite Headdy
  13. Ecco the Dolphin
  14. Ecco: Tides of Time
  15. ESWAT
  16. Fantasy Zone
  17. Fatal Labyrinth (on my list)
  18. Flicky
  19. Gain Ground
  20. Golden Axe (on my list)
  21. Golden Axe 2
  22. Golden Axe 3
  23. Golden Axe Warrior
  24. Kid Chameleon (on my list)
  25. Phantasy Star
  26. Phantasy Star II
  27. Phantasy Star III (on my list)
  28. Phantasy Star IV (on my list)
  29. Ristar
  30. Shining Force (on my list)
  31. Shining Force II (on my list)
  32. Shining in the Darkness
  33. Shinobi (arcade)
  34. Shinobi III
  35. Sonic the Hedgehog
  36. Sonic 2
  37. Sonic 3 (on my list)
  38. Sonic & Knuckles (on my list)
  39. Sonic 3D Blast
  40. Sonic Spinball
  41. Space Harrier
  42. Streets of Rage
  43. Streets of Rage 2 (on my list)
  44. Streets of Rage 3
  45. Super Thunder Blade
  46. Vectorman
  47. Vectorman 2
  48. Zaxxon

There are a lot of good games here, but then there’s a lot of crap too. Some of the games that made this collection I can’t help but ask, why? Others make sense and I owned most of them at one point or another. I have a lot of fond memories of many of the titles, but the ones I absolutely adore made it on to my other list. Last night I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, but I was in the mood for some puzzle-game action, so I played Mean Bean Machine and Columns. The former was a lot harder than I remembered, the latter was still super easy, to the point that I just shut it off because I was at level 50 and didn’t think I’d lose any time soon. I also fired up the first Phantasy Star game because I had never played it before, and it was on of those games that I just don’t see myself ever playing. It is a conversion of a Master System (8-bit) title, so it’s really dated and I just couldn’t handle it. Phantasy Star II (another that I hadn’t played) felt a bit better, but was still annoying. Having played IV the most, and it being the best of the series made the others fall flat. I still need to dive into some of these other games, but now that I own them all, there’s time.

That’s it for today. Been a busy day, I still have podcast editing to do, and I wanted to meet the deadline (which is fast approaching). I have something planned for tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll get it posted earlier in the day. Until then.

#segagenesis #blaugust #retrogaming

Sega Genesis: 25 Favorites

I was doing my usual rounds of the interwebz today and ran across this article on Polygon. The author wrote the post a few days ago (on the 14th) and was talking about the 25th anniversary of the Sega Genesis console’s release in North America. He posed the question, “what games did you love the most?” He did mention some of my favorites, but skipped over many that I thought were awesome games. As a result, I decided that since it was a milestone anniversary, and the Genesis was my favorite console of that era, I’d make a list of 25 of my favorite titles. That list follows in no particular order:

1. Shining Force

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The Shining Force games were absolutely my all-time favorite series on the Genesis. I’ve spoken about them before at length, but they seriously ate up a huge amount of gaming hours in my early gaming career. If memory serves, I didn’t own this title first, I simply rented it. That was rectified later on. The game still haunts me, and I still love playing it (though these days it’s through emulation on my phone), and I really wish some kickstarter would give us another title in the series.

2. Shining Force II

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You knew this was coming. I ended up with a copy of this game before I owned the original, and I played this one more times than I can count. It didn’t do too much to change up the formula established in the first game, but it added a new story and all new characters (plus more hidden gems). I loved trying to make sub-optimal groups to add to the level of challenge, just to say I could do it. For a rather linear game, I still managed to find ways to keep it fresh, and would still play it right now if I had a Genesis sitting in front of me. If you haven’t played either game, do yourself a favor. The games really stand the test of time and are very playable today.

3. Phantasy Star III

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I never played the original Phantasy Star as it was released only on the Master System (8-bit precursor to the Genesis), and I didn’t really even discover the series until the fourth title released. Later, I picked up a copy of this game, and at first I was not impressed. The battle screen was a step-backwards, the animations therein as well, and some of the menus felt rather archaic. However, where PS3 shined was in its storyline, and the choices you could make throughout. It was really the first game of its kind that I had ever played, in that at points in the story you can choose one of two options, which determines the next generation of the family that you get to play. This happens two times during the campaign, which meant there were multiple endings dependent on your choices. I know that I only played through once, but the concept is rather innovative for its era and that’s why it’s included in this list.

4. Phantasy Star IV

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Phantasy Star IV was the first game in the series I played, and I instantly fell in love. The Sci-Fi meets High Fantasy world was dynamic and interesting. The combat was more detailed, actually showing animations of what your characters were doing. You were stuck with certain characters during portions of the game, but each time you gained a new ally, the combat mechanics would change. Another really awesome feature was the fact that you could use certain abilities that would combo together to make even better effects, and thought that’s been done elsewhere (Chrono Trigger comes to mind) it was the first time I had seen it. Overall the storyline was more limited in that there was really only one ending, it was still an altogether more pleasing package. It’s a shame we haven’t seen a newer iteration of this series.

5. Sonic the Hedgehog 3

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I played ever single Sonic game on the Genesis, and they all had their charm and individual features that made them great. The reason I chose to put the 3rd iteration here is because it was the first time you could play as someone besides Sonic. In the first game, Sonic rolled solo. In the sequel, Tails was introduced as his companion, though you couldn’t play as him. In this game, you could finally choose to play as Tails, or even have a friend play along side you. That feature alone sold me on this being my favorite title in the series (at the time). Everyone knows Sonic, so I don’t need to go into it further.

6. Sonic & Knuckles

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Sonic & Knuckles introduced a new character to the fray, Knuckles. Otherwise, the game stuck to the tried and true formula the series was known for. What was more interesting than the game itself was the cartridge itself. Pictured above, the game had a flip-top, which exposed circuitry similar to the receiving end inside the console itself. This allowed you to plug in any of the previous Sonic titles, adding new features to them (mainly being able to play through the old games with Knuckles, but also adding Tails to the S&K base game). As an added easter egg, nearly any other cartridge that was plugged in could be used to access sonic levels not available otherwise. The mini-games are collectively known as “Blue Sphere” in some newer Sonic collection. I though this was simply the coolest thing ever when I was a kid.

7. Desert Strike

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The Strike Series started with this gem (followed by Jungle Strike, and later Urban Strike). This wasn’t a Genesis exclusive, but that’s where I played it first, so it makes this list. It was an isometric flight/combat sim where you would be given mission parameters that included rescuing P.O.W.’s, blowing up enemy artillery, and dog fighting with other aircraft. Ground forces would also attack, down to the actual foot soldiers. It had a very simple approach, but was a ton of fun and I’d be hard pressed to turn down a newer updated version of the game. Man I could make a kickstarter remake wishlist from this post.

8. TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist

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Around the time this game released TMNT was all the rage. I was susceptible to its charms, having watched the cartoon, played many iterations of the games (including the original Arcade Classic), and even eaten the cereal (anyone else remember that?). Most people will look back on that era and think of TMNT: Turtles in Time, which was the SNES classic and counterpart to this game. For whatever reason, Turtles in Time didn’t make it to the Genesis, and instead we were presented with The Hyperstone Heist. This was simply the best TMNT game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played most of them. I still rank it higher than Turtles in Time, but that’s mainly due to bias. I can admit that the SNES TMNT games were equally good now, but my 12 (ish) year old self would disagree. It was really the first TMNT title I can say ranks up there with the original arcade machine.

9. Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts

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The successor to Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins (Arcade, NES), Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts was a punishing platformer. I’ve spoke about it before when reveling in nostalgia. The boss pictured above is so iconic in my mind that this deviant art makes me yearn for the game. With a simple concept, a fantasy setting, and fun gameplay, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s counterpart on the SNES was called Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts, but from what I understand, outside of concept they are completely different games. This was one of the first titles I picked up for the Genesis, and I played it throughout the system’s life. Can I add this to the indie-remake-wishlist too?

10. Aladdin

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Another heated debate probably occurred during those years when this classic platforming title (obviously based on the same-era Disney animated movie) released two separate versions for the Genesis and SNES. Of course I lean towards the Genesis version due to bias, but I did actually play the game on both systems, so from what I remember it was a smidge better. Apparently that argument resurfaced on Kotaku not that long ago. Looking at the poll results, most people agreed that the Sega version was superior, but I’m sure both had their moments. I remember the game being fairly easy, but the animation was really well done and the music and character pulled it all together. Consider me a fan, despite not being the Disney-loving sort.

11. Mutant League Football

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The closest thing to a remake that’s occurred with this fantastic sports title is the Blood Bowl series, based on a rule variant for the Warhammer tabletop game. I’ve seen that one in action, and it’s really not the same. I want a real remake of this game, using a current football (Madden) game engine. It was basically that, a Madden variant that included Orcs, Undead, and other Mutants that played real football, with a twist. Audibles could be called at the line that would cause the bomb to explode, where you would purposely throw an interception just to injure the other team. Fields sometimes had traps or pitfalls or other obstacles. It basically took the game of Football (which I already love) and made it more interesting, and comical.

12. General Chaos

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General Chaos was such an odd-ball game during the console years. EA released the title, and it was a Genesis exclusive. It was a 5v5 slugfest, centered around different classes whom  you could switch between on the fly. There was a tactical map during the campaign, and each battle moved you closer to taking your enemy’s city. General Chaos and General Havoc had been at this for years, apparently. The battlefields were tiny, but had differing environments, places to take cover, and hindrances (like the water patch pictured). Of course the real replay value came in versus mode where you could duke it out with a friend. One of the game’s original creators actually tried to Kickstart the sequel, but was unsuccessful. A shame.

13. Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition

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We all know that Street Fighter had a metric fuck-ton of iterations. The original Arcade classic, the SNES port, Turbo, Super, Champion Edition. The game never came to the Genesis until this Special Champion Edition, which allowed you to play as the 4 bosses of the original game: M.Bison, Vega, Sagat and Balrog. My love for Street Fighter was founded in this era, but not really solidified until the Alpha series (though Marvel vs. Capcom is my favorite fighting game series of all time). You all know the game, nuff said.

14. Golden Axe

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If you aren’t old enough to have played this game in the arcade, I feel for you. Truly a classic side-scrolling beat-em-up, that was set in a Conan the Barbarian type world. The story line was rather flat, but didn’t really matter. The magic system took some time to learn. The levels were linear and the badguys pretty generic, but overall this game deserves a spot on this list, not only because of the nostalgia factor, but because the series continued on and stayed true the entire time. Games are still being made that fit this mold (Dragon’s Crown is a great example) with some added features. Having a friend along added to the fun.

15. Streets of Rage II

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The Streets of Rage series is very similar to Golden Axe (there were quite a few different titles that adhered to this formula) but is in a contemporary setting. I played 1-3, but the second game of the series always sat the best with me. It was more polished, prettier to look at and instead of having one generic special attack, each of the four playable characters had their own. I should also add that the original game only had 3 characters, so the fourth was an additional feature. Really, if you’ve played on of these games you’ve played them all, but this one was my favorite.

16. Earthworm Jim

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EJ wasn’t a Genesis exclusive, but it single handedly reinvigorated the platformer genre for me. I had a period of time where those were king, but by ’94 when this title released I was in full-on RPG mode. It had a level of satire in a kid’s game that wasn’t common in the era. When I say kid’s game, I mean a game that would be rated “E” these days, and catered towards a younger audience. The satire wasn’t apparent until I was older, but a good example of it is that the damsel in distress whom Jim is trying to rescue is called “Princess What’s-her-name.” A great way to make some commentary about how the damsels in these games were basically throwaway characters. Overall, I appreciated the game’s wacky take on the genre.

17. Fatal Labyrinth

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Outside of Angband, this would have been one of my earliest Rogue-like experiences. It is basically a graphical representation of that game, but I didn’t know it existed until a few years ago. I played it in “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection,” which was a compilation disc for the PS3/Xbox 360. I know that I would have dumped a lot of time into this had I owned it back in the day, but I still played it quite a bit in the comp. It’s turn based, and levels are randomly generated. Death isn’t permanent though, as there are checkpoints every 5th level (out of 30 total levels) where you will return if you die. I never beat it, but it’s still a good example of an early Rogue-like (and still looks very similar to some games I have been playing more recently).

18. Kid Chameleon

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I never owned this game, just rented it multiple times (enough to beat it). It was basically Mario Brothers in a darker world. Your character would go through a series of levels with a bunch of platforming, secrets to find, and combat. The gimmick here was a number of masks that could be found that either helped you get beyond particular obstacles, or be more effective at killing enemies. This reminds me of the power ups found in Super Mario Bros 3, though they were more varied in KC. Outside of that, it was standard platformer faire.

19. Landstalker

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Landstalker came out of nowhere. I don’t remember reading about it or any of my friends telling me about it either. All I remember is seeing it, being interested enough in it to make the purchase, and then loving/hating it over the years. I loved the game because it was different. It had RPG elements. It had puzzle and platform elements. It had an interesting story. I hated it because as you can see in the above picture, it was an isometric game with platforming that could be rather frustrating. I did eventually beat it, and I even re-purchased it on the Virtual Console when I had a Wii years later. I’d play it again. I think it would play better with a revamped-for-modern-consoles version.

20. Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World

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M&M2 was the first of the series to be ported to the Genesis. The 3rd iteration was also ported, but this is the only one I played (and the only M&M game I played outside of the Heroes series, and the newest M&M X). The game was deep, way deeper than my young mind could understand. I loved the fact that you could build an entire group of adventurers from scratch, and I distinctly remember having an obsession with the ninja class. The game looked just as it does in the picture above, and had a bunch of menus with very little action, but I still had a lot of fun with it. I know I never came close to beating the game, I’d always end up dying fairly early. Most of you probably played the computer version and can attest to its unforgiving nature. Still a great title and one I have fond memories of.

21. Road Rash

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I absolutely adored the Road Rash series, and played the shit out of it. It started off exclusively on the Genesis, but was later ported to other systems. Further iterations in the series usually started on the Genesis as well, but also were ported around. The series died eventually, but there is a spiritual successor on Steam Early Access called Road Redemption now. I’m looking forward to getting my nostalgic fix there. Anyway, the game centered around illegal street racing on motorcycles, where you would face off against a variety of opponents. Getting to the finish line would require you to dodge traffic, knock other racers off their bikes with varying weapons, and avoid the police (sometimes also smashing them off their bikes). It was a lot of fun, as were most of the sequels that I tried.

22. Spider-Man & Venom: Maximum Carnage

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In the early 90’s I was a huge comic book fan, and most of the time that revolved around Spider-Man. Maximum Carnage was a crossover series that told a drawn out tale of how Spider-Man, Venom and many other characters from the Marvel Universe faced off against Carnage and a slew of Super-Villains. The game itself followed the standard side-scrolling beat-em-up formula of Golden Axe and like titles, but was cool just because of the story content. That’s really all I got. If you took away the source material, it might have fallen flat.

23. Tyrants: Fight Through Time

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Tyrants (Mega Lo Mania outside of NA) was one of my first forays into the God-simulator/RTS genre. Honestly, this isn’t the type of game that would appeal to everyone, and it’s a rather obscure title. I still fondly remember playing through this game quite a few times, and it was different every time. I really don’t want to make more word spam for it, so here’s a video instead:

24. Sword of Vermillion

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Sword of Vermilion was another rather weird hybrid RPG. The game normally looked like the isometric view on the left, while you were in towns or normal battles. When you left town, you would go to a Might and Magic style screen, where the dungeon crawl would commence. Later once you made it to boss battles, the view would change to the side-scroller format, pictured at right. I don’t remember the story being thought-provoking, but it was suitable enough. I spent a lot of time with this title, and it’s one of the few on this list that I could care less if I ever played again. I just thought that the combination of different mechanics was a novel idea.

25. Beyond Oasis

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For the final game on the list, a neat little title called Beyond Oasis. This was Sega’s answer to The Legend of Zelda series. It had nearly every mechanic, and played so similarly that you could say it’s a direct copy. But the storyline is centered on Prince Ali, in a more Arabian Nights type setting, and graphically it’s a bit different in terms of style. I loved the game, and even played the next game Legend of Oasis on the Sega Saturn. I know you all have played a Zelda style game, so no further commentary needed.

So there you have it. 25 games for 25 years. I’m sure I missed some killer titles in there, but these were some of my all-time favorites back in the day. What are some of your favorite Genesis titles?

#blaugust #list #sega #genesis

The Terrible 15

Recently some bloggers (myself included) have been sharing lists of games that they felt impacted them in some way, or were simply “the best.” But what about the worst? Sure, there have been many awesome games throughout the years, but there have been just as many terrible ones, and I thought we could expand upon the discussion. I didn’t really set any rules for myself as far as a time limit or particular genre or platform, but I did require that the games listed be ones that I played. Unfortunately, when I was young and couldn’t afford a new game that readily, some of these titles were added via garage sales or swap meets or used game stores (before chains existed), were bought on a whim, and were judged only by the title or cover art. As such, some were horrific flops, and yet I still poured hours into some of them for lack of anything better to do.  Obviously you can’t put an arbitrary number on a list like this, because there are far more than 15 terrible games that have been made over the years, but these are ones I could think of, and I figured 15 was as good a number as any. With all that said, on to the list:

Last Battle (1989 – Sega Genesis)

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This was the second game I ever owned for the Genesis. The system came packed with Altered Beast, and I beat that game the day I got it. I guilted my Dad into taking me back to the store to buy another game the next day, and this is the one I settled on. Man was that a mistake. If I recall correctly, I ended up beating it eventually, but it sat on the shelf for a long time before that day came. This game was ruthlessly difficult… there were no save points, the controls were wonky (as were hit boxes) so half the time your own twitchiness would get you killed. The bosses were ridiculous. Overall the story and gameplay were lacking. And yet, I spent hours trying to beat it. When I finally did, I never played it again, and I sold this game along with my Genesis and all other titles to buy my original Playstation.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 – NES)

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I, like everyone else at the time, was a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles. I had the toys, I had clothes, I had books, sheets, towels, you name it, I was into it. I played the game in the arcade (which has seen ports on more recent consoles), I was all about TMNT. So naturally when I saw this game and I already owned the system, I needed to own it. What a HUGE disappointment. Not only was this not the arcade game I was expecting (That was rectified later with the “sequel” which was more or less the arcade port), it was a poorly executed nightmare. You had a weird overland map and then sidescrolling bits, you could control any of the turtles but only one at a time, and if they died they were “captured” and only available for “rescue” during later portions. Pictured above, is an underwater level where you had to defuse some bombs, and that pink stuff is like electrified plant matter that will kill you right quick. The most frustrating game, I never beat this one, and would never play it again.

Dick Tracy (1990 – NES)

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A similarly made game, Dick Tracy had an overland map and then individual levels where you had to find clues to figure out who committed a particular crime, and then finally chase that guy down and arrest him. I never beat this game either, as it also had a frustrating difficulty curve, and when games don’t have save points it gets old doing all of the early content over and over. The map part of this game was a little more interesting at least, reminiscent of the original GTA, but the side-scrolling platformer part was where the irritations came along. Sad, because this was around the time of the movie with Warren Beatty, and I remember the movie being pretty cool, so the game seemed like a no-brainer. Yuck.

Yo! Noid (1990 – NES)

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It goes without saying that pairing pizza and video games is a solid idea. Gamers don’t want to stop playing games to prepare a meal (and at the time our mom’s were doing it for us anyway), so ordering pizza is a great way to game right up until stuffing your face. However, pairing a marketing tool (The Noid) and a video game seems to fall flat. Particularly when the game is actually designed to be something completely different, and then some sprites are shuffled around and you have a pizza mascot performing in ways that are not congruent with fun, gaming, or being an annoying mascot. This like so many other platformers of the day is testament to why there doesn’t need to be a video game about everything. Just some things.

Kabuki: Quantum Fighter (1991 – NES)

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This is one of those swap meet/garage sale/used game store finds. The name alone is weird enough, and then the story gets even weirder. You’re a guy that is digitized and sent into a computer world… in which you become a Kabuki Warrior, which presumably you were not beforehand. Aside from using your long red hair as a weapon, you also get some gadgets along the way. It’s basically Ninja Gaiden with a shitty storyline and even shittier gameplay. I do recall spending some time with this game, but am not sure if I actually completed it. Not that it really matters, as I this list is full of titles I would gladly watch burn.

Alien Storm (1991 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh games where aliens invade Earth, why are you in such an over abundance? This is another beat-em-up style game, arcadey and all, but with such a generic shitty storyline and mediocre gameplay that I couldn’t be bothered with it beyond an hour or two. It was a rental, and I remember it clearly enough to put it on this list, but not clearly enough to warrant any further commentary.

Ecco the Dolphin (1993 – Sega Genesis)

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The Genesis was still in its hey day when this game released, and this was one of those titles that was critically acclaimed from day one. I remember gaming magazines I subscribed to having huge articles dedicated to this game, and I didn’t get it. I still don’t. Why would I want to play as a dolphin, learn its language and communicate with other sea creatures? Why would I want to go through level upon level of swimming around, as only a dolphin can? I didn’t play this game when it released, it was a few years later, and when I did finally give it a try, I was still mystified. Why this was such a sought after and raved about game is beyond me.

Comix Zone (1995 – Sega Genesis)

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Oh man how I wanted this game when it was being advertised. The next gen consoles had already released but I was still sitting at home with my Genesis (probably playing a Shining Force or Phantasy Star game). I was heavy into comic books at the time, and playing as a dude who gets sucked into a comic book was right up my alley. I didn’t end up playing this game until years later (I can’t remember if it was on virtual console or what), and I don’t know if the time gap messed it up for me, or if it was just a really bad game. I think it’s more of the latter, because I can still go back and play games from that time period and enjoy myself, so this is not something we can consider “timeless.” This game was entirely too hard (and from what I have read, too short) and not at all engaging. All of the typical side-scrolling tropes are there, it’s just dressed up like a comic, and things are drawn here and there by an “artist.” Overall it’s a cool concept that fell flat, for me at least.

Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft (1996 – Playstation)

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I’m a D&D fan. I’ve played more games than I can count that are based on the various rulesets. I’ve played the pen and paper game. I’ve been a DM. I also enjoy fighting games, and so a marriage of the pair sounds great right? Yeah, until you play this game. I never bought this pile of shit, but I did rent it and recall spending a weekend playing it with my neighbor Pete. He and I spent a lot of time gaming together when we were in high school, and we would take turns staying over at each other’s houses playing games that we would acquire though various means. This was a weekend of disappointment. Knowing me, I picked the game and then had to hear about it from him the whole time. So this game had the makings of something cool, like a predecessor to Soul Calibur, but it just fell flat in all ways shapes and forms. Clunky gameplay, a lack of decent combos, and pretty terrible graphics all made for a wonderful time. Go me.

Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997 – Playstation)

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Another fighting game related disaster, the Mythologies sub-set of the Mortal Kombat franchise was meant to be a series. Thankfully they didn’t continue on beyond this garbage. Sub-zero, one of the main characters in the fighting games, is now depicted before the tournament and has to go about doing stuff. To be honest I don’t remember the storyline at all. What I do remember is the horrific gameplay. A side scrolling “action” game, it used similar controls to the fighting series, except now you were expected to confront multiple enemies and go through side-scrolling tropes. This didn’t work out so well, and the series was abandoned. But that would stop the series from branching out in other horrible ways.

M.A.X. 2 (1998 – PC)

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During the hey day of computer gaming for me, the late 90s saw a huge amount of RTS games. I’ve already mentioned Starcraft as being my favorite of all time, but there were many others I played, looking for something else that would suffice. This game, was a sequel, and that means a couple of things. One, the original game was successful enough that a sequel was deemed a worthy investment, and two, that there was enough area for improvement on the original that a sequel was also warranted.  I see no indication for either of these though processes. The game had shitty graphics even for the time. Your red blobs vs. my green blobs. The interface (as you can see above) was clunky and took up too much of the screen. I remember there being a level of depth here that maybe I could have appreciated given different circumstances, but I tried this game a few different times and just couldn’t get into it. I think this was a bargain bin purchase, but either way it was not worthy of my time, or yours.

Hard Corps: Uprising (2011 – PS3)

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A Contra or Metal-Slug clone, this side scrolling Shmup is testament to the fact that pretty graphics and a penchant for days gone by does not a good game make. Sure it’s like playing an old school Nintendo game in a new suit, but it’s still the same old shit, and you’re going to suffer through mediocrity. There isn’t really anything redeeming here, so I’m glad this was a free title via PSPlus.

Deadliest Warrior: Legends (2011 – Xbox 360)

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Making a TV show into a video game is almost always a bad idea. In fact, I can’t recall the last time it was done when it was a good idea. Still, I used to watch Deadliest Warrior on Spike, and I thought it was an interesting idea, comparing warriors of various nations and using experimentation to determine who might win in a real battle. However, that seems to translate into a strategy title rather than a fighting game, but the company responsible for this chose to go with the latter. And for the most part, this game had a lot of cool ideas. The combat is quick, in that a couple of solid hits would take out your opponent, instead of having a huge life bar and being able to withstand multiple whacks from a sword. It’s also neat to have ranged and close combat weapons that you can switch between. That’s about where the coolness fades and the irritation sets in. My roommate bought this on his 360 when he still had one, and we spent a couple of hours beating each other up until I started noticing that really every character played the same. And there really wasn’t much point after about 15 minutes. The concepts presented remind me of Bushido Blade, but I could play that game for many hours without getting bored, and that isn’t the case with Deadliest Warrior.

Choplifter HD (2012 – PS3)

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Another Plus freebie, and another game I’m glad that I didn’t pay money for. Seriously, updating games from the past should come with an instruction manual. It should read something like this: Play the old game. Play it until you are sick of it. Actually beat the game. Take note of its strengths. Take note of its weaknesses. Don’t repeat past mistakes. Don’t make the same damn game that has “updated graphics.” Well, the creators of this game didn’t read my manual. And they didn’t really improve upon a classic game, or even make a game that is worth your time. Let’s fly in a straight line and pick up some people, shoot some stuff, and then fly back to another place. I remember a game that did those exact things, but was an instant classic. Desert Storm. Do yourself a favor and play that game instead.

Malicious (2012 – PS3)

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This one seemed like a game I could get behind. It’s basically one boss fight after another, in a similar style to Shadow of the Colossus. But in SotC there is an actual world and you travel between locations to find the bosses to fight, in Malicious you just go from one arena to the next and fight a boss. Each boss you kill nets you new powers that you can use on the next boss. The graphical style is distinctly Japanese, but still high fantasy enough that it appealed to me. Then I played the game. What a joke. Not only was killing the first boss a grind fest, but the mechanics were just awful. Playing against the second boss was all I could stomach before I uninstalled. Thankfully, this was another free Plus game, so no money was spent. I’m also thankful that plus has improved over the years, because I rarely say “oh that game was shitty” anymore.


 

So there you have it. My terrible 15. Feel free to utilize the format and make your own post. Actually, I’ll take this a step further, and challenge a few people to complete their version of this list:

Syp (Bio Break)
J3w3l (Healing the Masses)
Murf (Murf vs. Internet)
Wilhelm (TAGN)