Posts Tagged ‘Video Games’

1972

Genre: Action
Developer: DotEmu
Publisher: SNK
Release Date: October 2nd 2014 (Steam Release)

Whenever these games arrive on Steam, I feel the need to buy them. The nostalgia alone is all it takes for me. I remember playing the Metal Slug series in the arcades as a kid, and I always loved the side scrolling shooter style that it embodied. Growing up, Contra, and Super C, were two of my favorite games and I loved playing them with friends and seeing how far we could get. The Metal Slug games are very reminiscent of those like Contra and Super C and remind me a lot of my childhood, so when Metal Slug X hit Steam I had to grab it.

What is Metal Slug X? Well its a revamp of Metal Slug 2, re-released in 1999 for the NEO GEO MVS. It fixed many of the games problems and increased difficulty. Metal Slug X also introduced several different elements  into gameplay, like remixed music, time of day changes to the stages, and increased enemy counts to name a few. This shoot em up side scroller is fun at any difficulty, but a real controller smasher if you’re trying to play through the mission mode with only 10 credits. A game that is as difficult as it is fun is hard to find, and Metal Slug X seems to hit that happy medium.

“METAL SLUG X”, a masterpiece in SNK’s emblematic 2D run & gun action shooting game series, still continues to fascinate millions of fans worldwide to this day for its intricate dot-pixel graphics, and simple and intuitive game controls. One of the most highly praised titles in the series among Metal Slug fans for its refined balance and game volume, heads out to the Steam gaming platform! – Metal Slug X

The game starts off like any other Metal Slug game, you’re dropped from the sky Contra style and set loose upon the infidels. First off the games background really reminds me a lot of the old Aladdin game for SEGA, which I thought was a bit weird, but I digress… I really like how every level is different and offers new obstacles and challenges to overcome, making this game a bit more difficult than others in the series. One of the other things that stood out to me were the beefed up graphics adding a lot of extra sprites on-screen making it easier for a computer to process the graphical movements the NEO GEO couldnt. This Steam version is great because it’s not bound to the original NEO GEO system limitations which were often too slow to keep up with Metal Slugs on-screen antics. Everything you want in a side scrolling shooter, and “easy” is certainly not a world you would use to describe this game. Metal Slug X doesn’t disappoint.

I love the pseudo Nazi references, also makes it a little easier to kill everyone… Only a little. This game is still one of the hardest platform shooters ever programmed. The arcade stand alone of this must have raked in a ton of money for the machines owners because all I can imagine myself doing is sinking more and more quarters into it until i beat the game. 6 Missions and stage select make for a good play though with friends. This version of Metal Slug incorporates a ton of great weapons, and power ups. The laser shooting camel, and all the other drivable weapons are insanely powerful, but watch out, you wont last long getting hit. But don’t let only 6 missions fool you. You can play arcade mode and mission mode, with 4 difficulty settings, 4 playable characters and the option of multiplayer makes this game an endless classic.

It’s hard to say anything bad about a game that is awesome on so many levels. The difficulty only makes it better for me and the re-play factor only weighs heavier with the addition of multiplayer. This games is hours of fun by yourself or with friends, and is a must have in any retro gamers Steam library. I mean, who wouldn’t love a game where one of the achievements is dying over 200 times?

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 4/10
Challenge: 9/10
Replay Value: 7/10

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Special Edition Exclusive Metal Gear Solid Playstation 1 Demo Disc thanks to @RETR0JOE for the picture

Special Edition Exclusive Metal Gear Solid Playstation 1 Demo Disc thanks to @RETR0JOE for the picture

Demos seal the deal when it comes to whether or not I’m going to pull the trigger on a new video game, but these days; you’re hard pressed to find a playable demo before buying. I’ve been a victim of buying a game that looked great in the trailer, sounded great in the description, and even got some really good reviews, but once purchased and installed one of the biggest mistakes of my life. A good example of this would be Rogue Legacy which looked like a ton of fun, but realistically is nothing more than a beefed up mobile app.

Ever since playable discs have existed there has been the demo. In the late 90s this is how a great deal of PlayStation, Xbox and dare I say Dreamcast games were sold. The PC era was no exception. Many Blizzard games have playable demos that stop you at a certain point in-game prompting you to buy the complete version to continue. Now a days the mobile market has divided this into two separate pieces. Where you can usually download a free version of the game that is playable to a certain point, at which time there is always the option to buy a paid version with more unlockables and game play.

One of the downfalls of having a cartridge based console like the Nindendo 64 at the time was the inability to produce playable demos with the system. So this would force you into the lines at the video game, rental, and toy stores only to play that ONE game that some 45 year old manager choose which always seemed to be one of the latest sports titles of the time. All of the different stores that offered games to try or at least watch as some red-headed douche bag kid hogged the controller until you had to leave.

These game demos were everywhere at one point. I remember video games coming in cereal boxes, with your Happy Meal, local video stores, toy stores; the list is endless. Both PlayStation and Xbox magazines respectively gave out demo discs with their issues. Although now a way to supply the gamers with access to new games, these discs would later become what is known as a “Rolling Demo” rather than a playable version of the game. Containing only CGI clips of a game that is “Coming Soon,” teasing games that haven’t even seen a production team yet… Although sometimes these demos would actually contain playable content that wouldn’t later be featured in the complete version of the game. A good example of this would be the demo for Half Life, known as Half Life: Uplink.

Another benefit of the demo but mainly on the PC, is your ability to gauge whether or not your system can handle the current game in questions output. For this reason especially for the newer and more demanding video games that are coming out, no one wants to spend 20-50 dollars on a game that their PC wont play. Something to mention while I’m talking about the PC is current Indie developers that give Early Access. Early Access, which is essentially an evolving playable demo, giving the player Beta or even Alpha access to the freshest and newest games in development.

The 1st Playstation Demo Disc thanks to @RETR0JOE for the picture

The 1st Playstation Demo Disc thanks to @RETR0JOE for the picture

In my opinion, not offering a playable demo to the person buying the game prior to purchase, shows me as the consumer, the developers lack of confidence in their product. Personally I feel as if most developers know they would lose close to 50% of their sales if people were able to test the game first. Most companies understand that offering a playable version of their game will draw in not only that player, but the people around him or her. A great example of this would be Blizzard when it comes to the World of Warcraft series, you a given the chance to play up to a certain point and then have to continue to play, but are given discounts if you recruit your friends to play the game as well.

I remember during the 5th gen console era playing demo discs. Mainly a PlayStation, Xbox, and Sega Dreamcast marketing strategy, spreading out past the 5th gen and began fading when the newer systems like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 came out. I remember my first demo disc, it came with the PlayStation 1 that I had gotten for Christmas that year. Only receiving 2 games with the system, this demo disc had close to 6 playable demos on it and made it seem like I got way more out of the gift. As for the games I liked on that demo disc, it made me want them, and the ability to play further with friends.

Paper Sorcerer

Genre: Adventure, Indie & RPG
Developer: Jesse Gallagher
Publisher: Ultra Runaway Games
Release Date: Nov 21, 2013

For every horrible game that Kickstarter is responsible for, their’s always one that breaks the mold and stands out. I remember supporting Paper Sorcerer from the beginning stages when it was still in Kickstarter, waiting patiently for the day that I would finally be able to play this masterpiece. Its hard for a game to be so simple and complex at the same time, yet Paper Sorcerer seems to do just that. What you might think is a plain and boring video game ends up coming to life and involving you deep into the plot.

My first thoughts and impressions had me thinking that this game was obviously going to be totally awesome. I knew I had to have it after watching only the KS trailer, and once it made its way to Steam I was all over it. Within the first 5 minutes I was reminded of Dungeons & Dragons, playing with friends and calling out tactical moves. The turn based fighting system is well thought out and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Over are the days of the 3 minute bash sessions of games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy; Paper Sorcerer delivers tactical, powerful and serious battle sequences lasting longer than your average role player. The story line is action filled, as well as giving you the ability at points to choose what direction the scenes will go.

“A powerful sorcerer is on the cusp of dominating the land. A group of heroes bands together and seals him away inside a magical tome. Now as the sorcerer you must escape from this ancient prison and find a way to regain your magical powers using your wits and an array of summonable creatures to aid you. There may be more powerful forces at work as you navigate the dungeons and fight the heroes sent to subdue you… Paper Sorcerer is a stylish turn based RPG focused on strategy, party-building, and environmental puzzles. Fight with the skills and spells you have learned in a battle system that emphasizes strategy over grinding. Assemble a party of monsters and dark creatures to fight alongside you. Explore and solve environmental puzzles to unlock secret paths and find extra loot.” – Paper Sorcerer

Graphically this game must have been more challenging to animate than it would seem. With basically only 2 monochrome colors to work with, Paper Sorcerer is a artistic masterpiece and plays out more like a graphic novel than a video game. Although you have full navigation as the game is in the first person, on my 32 inch its like playing a giant fairy tale book that’s come to life. The subtle use of color throughout the game is genius and fits perfectly, from the effects of spells to the health and energy bar every detail has been covered. Each battle is reminiscent of the older Final Fantasy, where instead of the hero moving and performing each command, its represented by a small graphic, color or sound. As I’ve said in the past, its the simplicity that can make a game as good as it is, and that is certainly the case with Paper Sorcerer. The imagery in this game is absolutely amazing, and the use of essentially 2 colors is almost intoxicating.

Paper Sorcerer is as fun as it is challenging. I like games like these because the battles later in game are hard, but you’ve been prepared by several battles before it so you have an idea what you’re in for. I really enjoyed the turn based fighting system because each member of your party has a role that is greatly needed during battle. Party formation is one of the toughest parts of early game, and essential to continued play in later levels. You will need a tank, healer, and a ranged hero to make it anywhere (you already have magic covered, as you are a sorcerer), and Paper Sorcerer certainly gives you that option with a choice of several different heroes to choose from. Items are pivotal to game play, equipping each of your heroes with the proper weapons, shields and runes are key to completing each floor. Fighting is very important, because this game doesn’t focus solely on damage to end battles, you need to play more tactfully and use skills to buff strength and agility while making sure you keep your defense up.

Its the little things that count sometimes in a game that make or break it. One of these things is the difficulty setting when you first begin your game; you’re given the options Easy, Medium, Hard & 1980’s. The first time around, i chose 1980’s for the hell of it… lets just say that your first battle which is almost a guaranteed win, is a guaranteed loss. This was obviously a setting for the more experienced players of Paper Sorcerer. About the only thing I really didn’t like about the game other than the fact you cant use a controller, is the music. I have no idea who is responsible for it, but it needs a major overhaul and update. It just doesn’t fit well with the game whatsoever.

When it comes down to it, Paper Sorcerer is a great game, and highly suggested. So many different elements hold this game together making it a solid play through. Loaded with secrets and strong attention to detail, each item counts, and every room needs inspecting. Retro like an old D&D MSDos game and as modern as a new age RPG, everything about Paper Sorcerer is entertaining.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 7/10
Story: 7/10
Challenge: 7/10
Replay Value: 7/10