Posts Tagged ‘2000s’

Postal 2 Complete Review

Postal 2 Featured

Postal 2 Boxart

Developer: Running With Scissors
Publisher: Running With Scissors
Platform: PC – Desura, DirectGOG*, Green Man Gaming, Steam

For better or for worse, Postal 2 is one of the games that people know about even if they’ve never played it. The original postal aroused suspicion and excitement in the gaming community, but not nearly as much as its sequel would. With an ad campaign proclaiming it was only “as violent as you want to be” it was pretty hard to ignore.

Postal 2 tells the story of Postal Dude’s life from Monday to Friday (and Saturday/Sunday if you play Apocalypse Weekend). He’s got the same problems that we all do. He has to run go to work (and get fired), cash a check (with a long line at the bank), and simply make it through the week without, well, going postal. Apparently you can actually make it through the week as a complete pacifist, but every step of the way the game is trying to make you act violently.

The best method of completing it is also through violence. Otherwise, it just seems an increasingly difficult experience. After completing any task, gun wielding NPCs always come charging in for no apparent reason. Firefights like these are tough to survive without taking down enemies yourself. In any case, the experience is all rather simplistic. Each day you will walk to locations, complete a task, get attacked, and then proceed forward. What Running With Scissors hoped to accomplish was keeping players entertained thanks to the wacky world and characters.

Postal 2 Featured

Paradise, Arizona is anything but its namesake. Instead, it takes on all the worst facets of American culture. Outward racism, extreme violence, homophobia, and more hang around every corner. Quite frankly, it’s incredibly off-putting to me and probably would be to many other modern players. Seeing a shop plainly labelled “Queers”, men in turbans who wreak havoc on a church, and everything else is incredibly disconcerting. In a way, Postal 2 perfectly lampoons how screwed up America can be with hate, but seems to have too much fun glorifying the issues. Jokes pertaining to O.J. Simpson, hanging chads, and Heaven’s Gate are also (expectedly) dated.

Gameplay certainly functions but it’s tougher than you might expect. Honestly, I’d suggest going the cheat code route if you really want to enjoy the game. Otherwise it is quite the chore. Postal 2 Complete offers the Share the Pain multiplayer expansion but good luck finding a multitude of players to use it with. Apocalypse Weekend is a worthwhile expansion if you need more days with Postal Dude. Postal 2 serves mostly as an example of a very strange point in gaming history.


Score: 1

1 out of 5 alpacas


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ef – the first tale Review

ef - the first tale Featured

ef - the first tale Boxart

Developer: minori
Publisher: MangaGamer & No Name Losers
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

High school is a tough time for anyone. Not only are you studying like mad to pass classes, you’re also worried about the ever-approaching future. Then there’s the whole issue of romance… Fall for a classmate, realize they don’t love you back, or maybe it all works out. In ef – the first tale, players are presented with perhaps the most honest depiction of love, and all the trouble that comes with it, seen in a visual novel.

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Zombie Shooter Review

Zombie Shooter Featured

Zombie Shooter Boxart

Developer: Sigma Team
Publisher: Sigma Team
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

Ah, the twin stick shooter. Its simplicity is what draws me in. Sigma Team are a fairly well known name within the genre thanks to their Alien Shooter games. But did you know they made a couple of zombie versions? That’s exactly what Zombie Shooter is. Instead of aliens you’re faced with copious hordes of the undead.

Players can choose to play as a woman or man and then level up their character between stages. There are a handful of stages and each has its own appearance. Levels aren’t huge although you usually have to locate and then plant dynamite to proceed. Other times, you flip switches to open doors. In any case, enemies constantly flock you making it difficult.

The main method of increasing difficulty seems simply to offer more of the stronger enemies at a time the further you proceed. This is kind of annoying, but also exciting. Playing through the first few levels is a breeze but Zombie Shooter suddenly kicks into high gear. By the end, you’re frantically running for cover and hoping you’ll survive the next massive wave. The leveling system of weapons makes it so you usually don’t run out of ammo, though.

Zombie Shooter Featured

Graphics are not particularly fancy but they weren’t even at launch. They seem to recall 90s games more than anything of their actual generation. One thing that they got right was the blood. Tons of gore proliferates the screen. Eventually, stages end up being so caked with blood that the floor is entirely red. You can change the blood color but what’s the point?

There are some problems with Zombie Shooter and the biggest is the main character’s ability to get stuck on environment geometry. It happened on three stages for me and was a source of very unneeded panic and frustration. Getting randomly stuck makes you an open target from all angles and routinely caused failure. Another issue is due to the isometric viewpoint. With no ability to change the angle, zombies can be hidden and launch surprise attacks.

All of this is to say that the game is fun, but very brief, and you likely won’t come back later. For whatever reason there is no multiplayer mode which would have enticed me to play some more. It won’t do much harm to play Zombie Shooter but you’ll probably want to seek out something with a pulse.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


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Kara no Shojo Review

Kara No Shojo Featured

Kara No Shojo Boxart

Developer: Innocent Grey
Publisher: MangaGamer
Platform: PC – MangaGamer*

Oftentimes, it is hard to get people to take visual novels seriously. The supposedly average gamer would much rather “play” games than read them. Of course, if they could just sit down with a few then they might realize how silly they were acting. However, even many visual novel fans are bothered or even angered by the presence of eroge. For the most part, I don’t mind. It’s when there is something that appears to have a compelling storyline that my interest is piqued. Kara no Shojo is one such game which is why I chose to give it a shot.

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Rune Classic Review

Rune Featured

Rune Boxart

Developer: Human Head Studios
Publisher: Human Head Studios
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

In 2000, Rune released on PCs. After a bit, the Halls of Valhalla expansion pack was released. From there, the game was repackaged as Rune Gold. The game was renamed and ported as Rune: Viking Warlord to PS2 in 2001. This still wasn’t the end of the road for Rune though! A “remake” of sorts came named Rune Classic, which included enemies from the PS2 game and reworked (and outright deleted) some original levels. Now that you’ve got the slightly convoluted history in your head, let’s talk about Rune Classic.

Rune Classic starts you off as a young, burly warrior named Ragnar. On the day of his initiation into the viking fold, enemies attack. Unfortunately for them, the enemies have Loki on their side and kill everyone almost instantly (except, of course, our pal Ragnar). Ragnar seeks revenge and that seems a very fitting setup for a game about vikings.

The gameplay also manages to capture what most would expect of a viking. Ragnar can wield a great deal of weapons that slash, bludgeon, and smack. Although the game is getting on in age, it still felt fluid and fast. Perhaps the only issue is a use key initially defined to Ctrl. Changing a few of the keybindings is definitely suggested for a more “modern” experience. In any case, there are a great deal of enemy types to destroy and it’s usually fun to do so!

Rune Featured

One way in which Rune Classic fails is that it isn’t particularly good at signboarding where to go next. Actually, this might be a bigger issue because of how dark some areas are. It is easy to lose your way and end up inadvertently backtracking, which is never fun. Then there’s the multiplayer which requires more effort than it should to get running. It seems like a fun way to play – if you have the tech savvy to work it out.

There are better action games to play these days, but when it comes to viking-themed titles there are far less to choose from. And some of the ones that do exist are poor, so Rune Classic is definitely a better choice. If you want to play but don’t want the “butchered” version, GOG downloads also come with Rune Gold. This isn’t the case with Steam. No matter which you choose, Rune is still a blast.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


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See No Evil Review

sne10 - Copy

Capture

Developer: Bigfingers
Publisher: Bigfingers
Platform: PC
Received review code

See No Evil is the newest niche adventure game on the market by developer Bigfingers. Of course, even most adventure game fans will probably be unaware of its arrival. Why is that? It seems most likely due to the fact that this is a bara game. With that said, it manages to push past whatever notions people might have in their heads about what a bara game must be. As it turns out, See No Evil is a lovely title that deserves a much larger audience.

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Cloning Clyde Review

Cloning Clyde Featured

Cloning Clyde Boxart

Developer: NinjaBee in Association with J. Kenworthy Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

The puzzle platformer genre is completely stuffed with awesome, decent, and poor titles. At least, it definitely seems to be that way now. How were things back in 2006? Although it wasn’t very long ago at all I feel like there were certainly less… Or at least it was around then that the so-called “indie game” saw itself rise from the corners of the internet. In any case, maybe when Cloning Clyde came out it was still something fairly unique.

All things considered, it does have some neat tricks. Cloning Clyde’s main feature is, well, cloning! You traverse around 2D levels and often need to reach new, higher areas, press buttons, or do various other tasks along the way. Some of these can be accomplished alone but others require you to clone yourself once or multiple times over. Cloning is accomplished at special machines so you can’t abuse it on the fly.

Cloning Clyde Featured

Levels aren’t tremendously long but they can become quite puzzling. Mainly you just need to get the Clyde you control through a level but there are more points awarded if you accomplish extra tasks. Each level has enemies to defeat, figures to collect, and you also get a bonus for saving the extraneous Clydes. There is also a feature to combine DNA between Clyde and animals/objects which yields pretty humorous results at times (as well as giving him new powers).

Cloning Clyde sure doesn’t look very good anymore, though. It’s quite a shock to find that it was actually published by Microsoft Studios considering the incredibly rough visuals. In any case, the gameplay still stands up as fairly fun – if simple. Finally, if you don’t like seeing Clyde’s bare butt in his hospital gown then you can turn on family friendly mode which gives him underwear.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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ARKANOID Live! Review

Arkanoid Live Featured

Arkanoid Live! Boxart

Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Arkanoid is not my favorite video game in the world but it is a powerful time waster. Semi-recently, we’ve even seen some really good revitalization brought to the classic formula with the likes of Shatter and Wizorb. Maybe it’s because of my time with those games that anything far more “retro” feels just plain dull.

ARKANOID Live! is unfortunately one game that doesn’t do enough with Arkanoid to keep it compelling for a modern audience. Most strikingly it seems like the kind of game that could almost come out on the original Xbox Live, when the focus was on very simple ports of known games.

Arkanoid Live Featured

Basically, you go through two episodes of destroying blocks with a ball and paddle. The longer you survive, the more complex the block patterns get, such as surrounding breakable blocks by unbreakable ones. There are also enemies, which can be turned on or off, but don’t offer any extra challenge to the game.

The biggest feature of the game is probably multiplayer but I didn’t test that out. They tried to make ARKANOID Live! more interesting with neat music and 3D moving backgrounds, but really, it just isn’t enough.


Score 0.5

1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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0 day Attack on Earth Review

0day

0daybox

Developer: Gulti
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLA

Top-down shooters have a great deal of fans, many of which are partial to retro renditions of the genre. Sometime in 2009, Square Enix decided to publish one such shooter by the name of 0 day Attack on Earth. No, I’m not sure as to the purposeful lower case of the name, but that’s what it was brought over as.

The game is incredibly simple. You choose one of a variety of aircraft and from there fight against aliens busting out of the city. A few different cities are portrayed, such as New York City and Tokyo, but you’d be hard-pressed to really know which is which while playing. It also happens to be a twin stick shooter which means you’re aiming bullets with one analog stick and piloting your craft around with the other.

0day

It doesn’t take much to make these kinds of games good, but it also doesn’t take a lot of effort to make one bad. In 0 day’s case, it falls into the latter camp. The graphics are adequate but dull, the music is uninspired, and play is incredibly repetitive. Players, as well as enemies, are super small which means you’ll often ram right into one. Similarly, noxious purple clouds act as impenetrable barriers that you’re likely to collide with simply because you can’t zoom out enough to see more than a few feet in front of your ship.

There’s little reason to play this game and the online community is all but dead. There are far superior choices available within the XBLA marketplace.


Score 0.5

1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Nation Red Review

Nation Red Featured

Nation Red Boxart

Developer: Diezel Power
Publisher: Diezel Power
Platform: PC

Nation Red is one of those games that is easy to ignore. With such a simple name and premise (shoot hordes of zombies), you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who opts to play that as opposed to more polished titles like Left 4 Dead. All the same, that doesn’t mean Deizel Power’s title is wholly unworthy of attention.

If all you’re looking for is something simple to pick up and play then that’s where Nation Red delivers. Each level contains heaping amounts of zombies and tasks you with shooting them down via a twin stick control method. Power ups drop every so often, as do new weapons. There are a great variety of these available, as well as special perks players get upon leveling up. These only last for a specific level and amount of time though, so don’t expect to take them with you to later stages.

Nation Red Featured

Both single and multiplayer modes are included although I stuck with single player. In this mode, there are 18 main stages to clear. It wasn’t particularly difficult to clear out, but then, I also had set the game to the lowest “normal” difficulty. The experience offered by Nation Red is extremely simple but there’s nothing wrong with simplicity. It just feels a bit bare-bones at times.


Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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