Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Piles Of Crap Based On A Subpar Movie? Why The Hell Not...

I started my love affair with video games in 1988, well after "The Crash", so at that point I didn't know about the E.T. video game and how amazingly bad it was. As a result, I was pretty spoiled when the NES game attached to the first Batman movie came out and gave me an excellent experience. Then something happened, and game companies started attaching themselves to any random movie license they can get their hands on. This often resulted in some incredibly bad video games, which is sad because the movies in most cases weren't that bad. I figured I'd give you guys a list of the worst licensed games I've played, but that would be too easy. That was my thinking until I played the NES game based on Total Recall. Busted controls, poor collision detection, vague level goals, it was all here. It almost made me give away my NES, but sanity kicked in and I kept it. I should have known Total Recall was gonna be bad though, since it was made by Acclaim, and by and large, Acclaim made shitty games. For a long time, a subsidiary of Acclaim, LJN, was responsible for games based on Marvel Comics' characters and either an LJN or Acclaim label was on every WWF game on home consoles up to WWF Attitude. Acclaim also made a mockery of The Simpsons, with crappy games based on the cartoon family going from the NES to the tail end of the 16 bit console generation. Now, I'm not say every game Acclaim made sucked, but pretty much all of the licensed games they published were utterly horrible. They weren't they only culprits, either. Game publishers like Ocean, who made a lot of great games for the Amiga and Commodore 64 consoles, made a lot of duds for the NES that were solely movie and TV licenses. I've played some pretty good games based on TV and movie licenses, but the ones that were bad...OH MAN, were they bad. Most of the publishers who were responsible for these digital turds are no longer in business, while one (THQ) has grown in reputation and revenue over the years.

This blog post should not only serve as commentary, but as a cautionary tale to parents who have kids that are gamers. Just because your kid was a fan of a cartoon or movie, doesn't mean they'll be a fan of a game based on that cartoon or movie. Chances are, that game will be played once, and you'll be puzzled as to why your kid doesn't know where that Avatar or Ben 10 game you bought them a week ago is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sadly, We May Get No More Conflict Amphibians...

Whenever I look back at my favorite games, I typically end up thinking about games that have been hurting for a good sequel for a long time. My focus for years was Kid Icarus, but after E3, we know that request is about to be answered. Now, some of my favorite games have been rebuilt from the ground up (Bionic Commando:Rearmed), while others have simply been given an HD redraw (Rocket Knight Adventures). Others, however, are still with a decent update for today's consoles. One such game is Battletoads.

Now, Battletoads was the focus of an amazing hoax pulled on legions of gamers across the country, and said hoax pissed a lot of them off. They were probably pissed because they were so gullible, and anyone who know actual video game history would know the hoax could never happen. You see, the "trailer" for the alleged new Battletoads game was for a Wii version of the game. Now, the developer of the Battletoads games and the owner of the franchise is Rare, who is currently an in house developer for Microsoft, and even though they have made any magic for the 360 (Perfect Dark Zero was a turd and Banjo Kazooie was kinda "huh"), they are still a highly touted developer.That eliminates any chance for Battletoads to appear on the Wii.

Another note was that the game in the fake trailer was to be published by Tradewest, which went under in the 1994. Just because a new group has resurrected the Tradewest name does not mean they have the stroke to lure away what would be a sure fire hit for the Xbox 360.

Finally, remakes of classic Beat em Ups don't work if they don't follow the original formula, if you don't believe me, just ask Ubisoft, who had fans of the original Turtles In Time ready to blow up their headquarters after they completely butchered their HD remake of the Arcade classic.

I'm pretty sure their won't be a new Battletoads game anytime soon, if ever. They may be blowing it, but what do I know, I'm just a gamer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sin + Punishment = AWESOME!!!!

In 2000, Japanese developer Treasure created a masterpiece in the form of Sin and Punishment. The game was a big hit on the Nintendo 64, but never saw light outside of Japan. Many gamers who simply couldn't afford to import Sin and Punishment, but those who could were treated to one of the best pure action games on the N64, or any system for that matter. All hope of playing the game was pretty much gone for me until the announcement that shooter would be available via Nintendo's Virtual Console service. Then compounding on that, was an announcement that Treasure was working on a sequel to be released on the Wii in the Summer of 2010. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor hit store shelves on June 27,2010, and after spending some quality time with the game, I can say with great confidence that THIS GAME IS FREAKING AWESOME!

The story revolves around main characters Isa and Kachi fighting to escape the Nebulox and flee a dying world. The story is not what anybody is playing Star Successor for, you play it for blistering, kinetic action of the highest order. it's not the typical bright, cutesy game you expect to be published by Nintendo, but it features the kind of high production values you expect from a game published by Nintendo. Everyone who has complained about there not being a strong hardcore gaming presence on the Wii haven't been paying attention lately, but I digress.

The gameplay is part Contra, part Space Harrier, part Cannon Spike, and those parts equal something that hasn't been seen on a current generation console. Also, everybody who has concerns about playing a game like this with the WiiMote/Nunchuk combo can rest easy, it handles great in every controller combination. If I have anything to pout about with this game, it would have to be the lack of a true Co Op mode. I mean, the game has two main characters, so I can't really see why a second player couldn't be fit in.

Honestly, this game is a testament to gameplay mattering a lot more than which system it appears on, and it serves as a thank you to those who have supported Treasure and Nintendo over the years. Anybody claiming to be a fan of hardcore gaming should head over to their local video game store and plunk down their money for a copy of Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. If you don't have a Wii, this might be the best possible time to get one since their are a lot of high quality titles coming out this year.