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  • Lira 12:01 am on June 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bizarre creations, Blur, kart game racing, racing game   

    Awesomely wrong game of the week 

    Well, really long time that I don’t post here (more than a half year, to be more precise), but hey! I’m back. I decided to change the subject of my posts. Yeah, there are a lot of indie games worth to talk about, but in my life (understand life as when I play videogames) I saw a lot of exotic games that felt so wrong to me that I loved it, from indie games to big company games, that I wanted to share. Some will be really obscure and others main stream, the important here is to be really absurd. Now let’s go to the first review!

    Blur

    For me there is no better game to start this session of the blog than blur of bizarre creations. This game from 2010 was well accepted by the critic (it has a 8.1 metascore) but was a huge selling failure. A lot of critics made theories about why that happend, and my favorite one is from the designer Gareth Wilson.

    I will try to resume his explanation.

    If you decide to sell a new breakfast cereal on the market you may:

    • Do a plain cereal. Never fail, but doesn’t call a lot of attention.
    • Make a cereal with chocolate and marshmallow. May call attention of some, who probably you prefer it than just plain cereal, but others will be afraid to buy
    • Cereal with bacon. What? Both are related with breakfast, both are awesome. Why not? Well, probably because it’s too different and people would be afraid to buy.

    And blur is just like cereal with bacon.

    But what is wrong with this game?

    Let this commercial of the game speak to itself:

    Yes. This is the concept of the game. Another racing kart game, like mario kart, wacky wheels and Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, but for adults. So in place of colorful and happy characters you have real licensed cars.

    Honestly I find this concept really good! A lot of adults love this genre and there is no other game of this style focused to them. But…well…bizarre creations got really bizarre this time. This game felt in the uncanny valley problem. There is a turtle and a mushroom competing in kart races. In a context that this is possible you hit a box to get a turtle shell and use it as a missile to slow down your opponent seems ok. But see the car that you usually drive launching a ball of energy just seems plain wrong. How wrong? This wrong:

    That now was the intro cutscene of the game. I was so shocked when I saw it for the first time that I created an imaginary friend just to explain to him all the wrong stuffs that I could see in just 1 minute of video.

    So…in the end the game didn’t attracted kart games fans because the game appeared to be too serious and didn’t have the charismatic characters that they were used and racing fans were afraid of this game because it seemed too arcade.

    What is right in this game?

    Actually the game play is really good! Is the good old kart game style, but more tatical and less luck. Why is that? Because you already know what itens you are getting of the “boxes” and you can keep up to 3 itens, so you can collect just the desired ones and plan better how to use them. Besides that, if you can forget the strange game thematic that never tries to explain why your cars have super power, the game is just fine.

    My final score: 8.5

     
    • Alexandre Silva 11:41 am on August 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I think Blur failed to capture the right audience. That was the reason, also explained in the article. I think Bizarre Creations tried to create something between the casual (the original fans of kart games) and hardcore (a supposedly new audience, maybe a “blue ocean” for this game genre) audience.

      The result was Blur – a kart game to be played for “Big Boys”, or “Adults” or “Hardcore”, because that’s what hardcore players think they are: More manly than casual players. The hardcore always tries to prove that his balls is bigger than a idiot, casual gamer.

      Back to the point, where is Blur in the middle of two very different audiences? In a place where neither hardcore or casual players feel comfortable enough to spend their money in the game – That explains the failure of Blur.

      A shame, though. This game was very fun for me, for a very short time.

  • Hay 10:54 pm on April 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , MARVEL, , ,   

    Forgotten Old Games – Marvel Super Heroes in War of the Gems 

    Hello everyone. Welcome to another Forgotten Old Game!
    I’m sorry for my absense. I’ve been pretty busy lately and couldn’t even find time to play anything! But I’m back now, and ready to hit you with another blast from the past.
    Today I’m gonna tell you about a game from the Marvel universe. And no, it’s not a fighting game, but a 2d platformer with hints of beat-em-up for the SNES. I’m talking about Marvel Super Heroes – War of the gems!

    Cover

    Released in 1996 by Capcom, one year after it’s arcade fighting counterpart, this game is also based on the same comic books series as the Arcade one, “The Infinity Gauntlet”. By acquiring the six Infinity Gems which controls Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality and Power and becoming a God, Thanos proceeds to exterminate half of the sentient beings in the universe, which includes most of the heroes, just because of his love for Death (the being, not because he likes to kill err…maybe he does). The remaining heroes(Spiderman, Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk and Wolverine) guided by Adam Warlock unites to battle against him, retrieve the Infinity Gems and undo all this crazyness.

    Graphics 

     This game has good graphics, huge and well drawn backgrounds with lots of stuff and enemies on screen at the same time. The characters are also very detailed and the animation is good.

    The Stage Select screen

    Sound
    The game music is just okay, nothing that really stands out. The same can be said about the sound effects.

    Gameplay
    Plataform + Beat-em-up = Fun! The controls are simple, responsive and fast!
    Also for the game basics controls:

    D Pad: Moves Characters
    Y: Attacks
    B: Jumps

    Well drawn and animated scenarios!

    On the start screen you can choose if you want to start a new game, adjust options or enter a password. Yes, this game does not have a save option, instead it uses passwords to keep track of your progress.
    In the Options menu there isn’t really much to set. You can adjust the control setup and if you want Stereo or Monoaural sound.

    Choose wisely, some stages requires skills from specific heroes!

    This games works basically as any other 2d platformer, but as I said it’s kinda of a beat-em-up as well, allowing you to use special attacks of your heroes, and even combos! Don’t think it’ll be easy though, once you die, you lose that hero you’ve chosen and have to choose another one.  There are specific attacks for each hero, using simple sequences like  pressing Down, Forward and Y.

    This item lets you perform a special attack once if you already have one of the Infinity Gems.

    While looking for the gems on every stage, you’ll find lots of differents enemies and bosses. There are also items that recharge your health, allows you to use a special attack if you already have one of the Infinity Gems and even ressurrect a fallen hero.
    Equipping one of the Infinity Gems will give your character a special ability. They are:

    Time Gem: Hero moves 2 times faster.
    Space Gem: Gives the hero the double jump ability.
    Reality Gem: Shows hidden places/items.
    Soul Gem: Doubles HP.
    Power Gem: Doubles attack power.

    You’ll be visiting lots of places in your quest for the gems, at first you can choose one of the following stages: The Avengers Base, Boston Aquarium, Amazon, Alaska and Dr. Doom’s castle, but more places will show up as you progress trough the game.

    Conclusion
    Marvel Super Heroes – War of the Gems is a real GEM for that time. It could be better if it had better songs, but otherwise it’s still a good game, and I truly recommend you to play this one! ‘Till next time!

     
  • Thais 8:25 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ending, interactivity, Mass Effect 3, ownership   

    Player Empowerment over the Game 

    There are eight million blogs about Mass Effect’s ending, but is not one of them. Well, not entirely.

    Last month, most of us watched, without dissimulating the awe, the rise of the discontent horde profoundly enraged. “What could possibly infurieted some many good people?” your mom might have asked, “Hunger? Social inequality? The public health system? Politics?” to which you probably would have answer “They didn’t liked a videogame ending”. This is a suitable answer, but we both know that it does not translate exactly into what happened, does it? What I do recall was angered petitions, money gathering [which, fortunately, end up going to charity] and enraged forums posts. Oh, my Thor, how many posts. It has even became its own meme. Despite all possible pesky atmosphere all these claims had, it’s clear that ME3 fans organized themselves in order to make their point.

    Jane McGonigal links this organization abilities encouraged by games as a dormant potential to change the word. She believes that all those fans, highly capable and organized, are only waiting a chance to use their powers to change the world. Unfortunately, future does not seems so bright at least to me. People not always like the same stuff and specially, people not always like the same kinds of cultural productions. The different spectrum of options is also a part of what makes us humans, after all. And respecting there differences is also a great deal of living in society. However, when a large group of people start believing that their point of view is more important or, even more dangerous, more truthful and do whatever is in their power to prove to every single soul in the world that they are right, then we have what we call radicals or extremists. And that’s pretty similar to what happen to Mass Effect 3.

    Erik Kain make some good points on how changing ME3 ending is not a bad choice. He points out, for instance, that corporate decisions already deeply influence artistic direction or that videogames are interactive medium and, as so, players are also creative involved on the game. This last claim, however, is quite a tricky one. Sure, no one that has ever played a game doubts that playing the result of the game itself with player’s choices and inputs, and, as so, most events on any game rely on player’s own abilities and judgement. However, players only can play or  interact within option already given to them by developers. Games are a cooperative experience constructed both by players and developers as an experience, but bottom-line, players can only experience what was chosen to be presented to them. Even though there is such a clear distinction, do players in some way own part of the creative content on a game since they have interacted to it?

     
    • CmdrEdem 9:16 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I don`t think players own the right to demand something from developers. They have the right to suggest changes and developers may hear the complains or not. If developers do not hear and address the complaints there may be retaliation business side (ex.: next game from that developer will sell less, a flood of used copies on the marked since people want to get rid of that piece of junk).

      • Thais 7:18 am on April 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I personally agree with you, however complain in one thing while demanding is another, completely different. ME3 fans were demanding a different ending, as if they possessed the rightful call about it since they “had been there” during the events of ME and ME2 as though they, too, own part of the unfolding of the events. Really an weird situation.

  • Danilo 9:43 pm on April 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: colony wars, , ,   

    Forgotten Old Games – Colony Wars: Vengeance 

    Hi everyone! Today, I’ve chosen a great spaceship simulator from Sony Playstation, it’s Colony Wars: Vengeance.

    Hum… The right thing to do was probably make a review of the entire Colony Wars franchise, however I don’t like the third game “Red Sun” and the second game is my favorite, so here we go!

    Before I start talking about the plot, I would like to mention that both this game and the first one have a lot of endings, therefore, a lot of plot variations, so I’m just going to summarize the “winning plot”.

    The League of the Free Worlds, who were the good guys of the first game, were able to liberate mankind from the Tzar Empire, with the exception of  the Sol system (our system, to be exact), so instead of going in there, they just sealed the entire Sol system from the rest of the galaxy, leaving it at its own fate. As the years pass, Sol starts to become very poor and society begins to crumble.

    So, in desperate need of a leader who would reunite them all, Kron, an enigmatic figure, rises promising vengeance against the League of the free worlds. Using fanaticism and building a fleet called New Navy, he is able to reopen Sol’s warp hole, and so begins another Colony Wars.

    As you may have guessed by now, you play with the “bad guys” from the last game. Player’s character is called Mertens, and he is part of the so-called New Navy, whom proves to be one of the most important pilots of the plot, unleashing a lot of plot twists, some even envolving Kron.

    This leads to even more plot twists, I mean, this game’s plot is great, and you should see how it unravels by yourself, I’m not giving you any spoilers for this one.

    The controls look a bit complicated at first glance,  as you know, this looks more like a space ship simulator then a 3D shoot ‘em up and it reminds me of the Wing Commander game or Freelancer, but it’s nothing extremely complicated as the X’ series.

    You have access to three types of weapons at the beginning of the game, one is for Shields, which is not very effective against the hull, another is for destroying the hull, which obviously wont cause much damage against a ship’s shields, and the last one is for collecting minerals, which is a “sword” like beam, you’ll be using them all the time, and as the game progress, you’ll be unlocking new weapons, including a hook gun that allows you to grab stuff in space.

    shield disable gun

    laser gun

    mining laser

    hook

    You also have Foward and Backward thrusters, and when you use both of them at the same time, you activate Afterburners (which, by the way, have a very nice effect) and in no time at all you’ll be participating in some cool dogfights.

    Missions are very well done. While in most console spaceship games player only advance going straight ahead, destroying everything  in screen untill you reach a boss, in this game missions range from gathering materials of asteroids, destroying huge space ships, scouting freighters, uploading viruses to satellites, rescuing ships from hostile and much more, and just like I said before, this game has a lot of endings which are influenced by these missions.

     That is why I think it falls more like in the simulation category than in the “3D shooter” category.

    Not to mention the game’s great physics, you can notice it when you use the grappling hook, destroy a vessel and it’s bits fly off like they were in space, or the way your ship behaves floating like it’s actually in space, very well done indeed.

    The graphics are amazing, the ships are extremely well done, high quality models, with minor details, specially in large frigates, you can gaze the space scenes and planetary surfaces, for they are very cool, also this game offers a lot of nice effects, like the gloom effect, which is used a lot, gives you the sensation that there is really a huge vessel exploding right in front of you, or that the sun is really burning, it’s very awesome.

    The CGi scenes are well done too, and believe me when I say there’s a lot of them in this game, which adds to the experience.

    The sounds and musics are awesome, specially the intro music, you can actually feel the drama they are living, that combined with the already mentioned CGs.

    Sound is pretty good too, with good sound effects and voice actors.

    I’m just going to leave the intro for you, so you can admire both the CG and the incredible music, as for that beggining, I believe it’s Kron crashing into Earth, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when you play the game, and believe me, it is awesome.

    ‎”The urge to survive is strong, but if it hadn’t been for Kron we would have given up long ago.”

     
  • Hay 12:25 am on March 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Awful, Bad, Driving, , , ,   

    Forgotten Old Games – HARD DRIVIN’ 

    Hello and welcome to another FOG!
    Today I’m not gonna bring you another hidden treasure from the golden era of gaming. Instead I’ll show you a bad port. Yeah, a bad driving simulator game, called HARD DRIVIN’ for the SEGA GENESIS.

    Released in  1991 by TENGEN this was originally an arcade game with 3D Polygon graphics. The reason why it got released for the Genesis? No idea!

    Straight from the manual:

    “Sure, driving a real high performance car can be quite a blast. But where can you go to do vertical loops, high-speed races and high flying jumps? In Hard Drivin’, that’s where! Hard Drivin’ is so real you’ll feel like you’re burning up the road in a high-powered car. Two tracks provide plenty of challenge – put the pedal to the metal on the Speed Track or get airborne on the radical Stunt Track! Jump a drawbridge! Do a 360 loop! The true 3D screen display will have you hanging on for dear life! If you lose it, you get to see an instant replay of your accident. Like the incredible arcade hit, this Hard Drivin’ is looking for a few hard drivers. No license – or cars – required!”


    Unfortunately these are all lies. The arcade game had it’s merit. But this horrible port is far away from all those promises.

    The first hint that shows you're playing a bad port...

    Graphics: Awful. I mean there’s plenty of good 2D racing games for the Genesis, this one features really bad ‘3D’ graphics running very slowly compared to the original arcade game.

    Slow game + Time attack = FAIL

    Sound: Not so different from the original (which wasn’t great by the way). But it’s not as bad as the graphics

    Gameplay: This is one of the main reasons why this game shouldn’t have been released for Genesis. The main reason you would play this game back then, was to get the feeling of driving a real car, which you could barely achieve by playing the original arcade. Even if Genesis had a Steering Wheel and Pedals it would still suck, because the controls lack response and precision. And since the game feels like you’re playing in slow motion, you’d have to steer slowly as well. Cool huh?
    There’s another thing I should mention, despite they having said the game features TWO TRACKS, you have only one, divided in two: Speed and Stunt.

    As for the default controls:
    D-Pad LEFT/RIGHT – Steers car
    D-Pad UP/DOWN – Gear change (manual mode only)
    A – Accelerate
    B – Brakes
    C – Clutch (hold and press UP or DOWN to change gears)

    It doesn't matter if you were hit on the back, your windshield will always get damaged.

    Just don't ask me...!

     

    But I’m gonna tell you something. I knew the game was terrible, but I played it quite a few times when I had a Genesis. The reason? THE REPLAYS! Everytime you crashed an instant replay starts, showing you from a far camera, what happened to your car. And seriously, I found that quite hillarious. I could spend hours, just crashing, watching the replays and laughing. Yeah I know, silly me…

    This is one game to keep very away from you. Unless for completeness of your collection, of course. A true “FORGOTTEN OLD GAME” with lots of reasons for that.
    And as always, a video for your delight. This time I’ll show you videos from both versions. See you next time!

    GENESIS Version:

    ARCADE Version:

     
    • Alexandre Silva 12:06 pm on August 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I remember this game, I played many years ago on the Genesis, and some time later on the SNES. It was very difficult not to crash in the Stunt Track. I had a lot of fun watching my crash replays, especially when I fell on purpose in the middle of the looping.

  • Danilo 10:16 pm on March 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mecha, musha, SHMUPS   

    Forgotten Old Games – M.U.S.H.A. 

    Hi everyone! Such a long time since my last post… That´s because I´m spending lot of time in Oniken, trying to finish all the stuff to finally release it. This week´s game is M.US.H.A. for Sega Genesis, an awesome and yet very obscure shoot´m up.

    First things first, let’s talk about the plot, it all starts in a distant future, when a supercomputer called Dire51, that controls a space colony, goes rogue and send its entire attack force to destroy the Earth, so it’s up to an elite squad of mech units to make a desperate stand to defend our homeland, so as you can see, this is going to be one hell of a ride.

    You control Ellinor, the last surviving member of the elite squad, that despite losing all of his comrades, continues the mission to stop the evil computer Dire51.

    Now to the important part, the gameplay. At first this game may see like an ordinary vertical shooter, but then you start gathering upgrades and new weapons, even some helpers that take out flanking enemies for you, also the game’s difficulty starts raising with every new level, these upgrades not only increase your firepower but they also increase your durability.

    If you get hit while having some upgrades and power ups installed, instead of dying, you lose those upgrades, allowing you to survive a bit more and maybe the chance to recapture the upgrades you lost, this not only makes the gameplay a lot more fun, but also makes it a lot less frustrating.

    About those helpers and new weapons, you can change the way they behave, by pressing the A button on the Sega genesis control pad, in a total of 6 modes, which not only makes the game more interesting, but it also allows your helpers to be put to pretty good use, depending on the situation you are facing.

    The graphics are awesome for a game of its age, you see, this game is from 1990 and compared to games like Sonic Wings (SNES) from 1993, you can clearly see that they came up with good-looking visuals. You can notice pretty quickly how fluid the animations are, and how colorful the game is on the first few minutes of gameplay, also its worth mentioning the visual effects, like when you use the shield ability to destroy enemies projectiles you notice a cool fake transparency effect, not to mention the introduction, those are some freaking awesome pixel arts, you feel like you’re watching a cool mecha anime!

    And yet again we take a look at my favorite section of our review, the sounds and musics! Man this game has some of the most cool soundtracks made for a game of this genre, the main theme, which plays in the introduction and at the title screen, is a great way to show what awaits you in this awesome game!

    Well that’s it for M.U.S.H.A, I hope you enjoy this game as much as I have, for it’s an enjoyable shoot ‘em up classic and all fans of this genre should at least try it!

     
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