NIGHT OF THE EMUS

This game was so much better in the arcade, but I’m not about to go buy a ball controller just to play arcade Marble Madness in MAME, so I guess I just have to settle for the old NES version! This game is not great. It’s ridiculously short, but also mind-numbingly difficult, mainly just due to the awful controls. I have no idea how I was able to beat this as a kid. A lot of practice I guess. I can’t imagine spending more than 20-30 minutes on this game nowadays. I would play the shit out of it if I saw the arcade version somewhere though.

My cousin had this game for some reason and that’s the only reason that I ever played it, because no one else in their right minds would ever buy this game. This is another one where the game is actually incredibly short, but also painfully, unfairly difficult, so the playtime is padded out with godawful replay after replay. You just keep moving your boat back and forth between the same two ports over and over again, farming shells as much as you can because each time you reach a port you can use shells to get power upgrades and you cannot possibly beat the first phases of the Jaws battle without many power boosts. Once you finally have enough power to beat Jaws, who you keep running into over and over again randomly throughout your repetitive journey, if you manage to whittle his life bar down you get to engage in the final battle sequence. In the final battle Jaws rushes toward your boat in a crazy serpentine pattern and you have to hit A to use a strobe light, which makes him leap out of the water for some reason, but he has to be in the exact right spot in front of you for you to press B to stab him with the front of the boat, which you also have to do at the exact right moment. You only get three shots and if don’t do it you’re kicked back out to the normal game where Jaws now has his entire health bar again. HOORAY. Don’t play this game unless you have some kind of weird masochistic nostalgic attachment to it. Just don’t do it.

Arrrrgh. This is actually even worse than Jaws. Iconic crane kicks, leg sweeps, and levels and mini-games that vaguely resemble the movies aren’t enough to cover up the foul stench here. Karate Kid has horrible combat and even worse controls. It’s also another embarrassingly short one. Again, you should not play this game. Why did I play this game? I think I might have sworn off playing it forever last time, but then forgotten because it was so long ago. Then I drank a lot and it seemed like a good idea to play it again. Note to future self: STOP PLAYING THIS DAMN GAME! (I will totally end up playing it again 10 years from now anyway, I just know it…)

Because I’m making so many very bad decisions tonight, I decided to play Total Recall next. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? WHAT AM I DOING? WHY ARE MIDGETS JUMPING OUT OF HALLWAYS TO PULL ME INTO KUNG FU BATTLE TRAPS THAT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN IN THE MOVIE WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF! No, I can’t do it, it’s too much. This game is just too terrible. It does have a super catchy theme song though for some reason.

I bet nostalgia will trick me into playing this one again someday too, but not today, no, not today…

Time for at least one decent one to wash the taste of all that crap out of my mouth. Ehhhh. Captain Skyhawk doesn’t hold up super well either, but it’s still miles ahead of the last few games. You fly what appears to be an F-15 around blowing up bad guys, except you’re flying through some weird geometric places that look like the 1970s’ idea of what virtual reality looked like, and also sometimes taking place in Top Gun/Afterburner style dogfights, and also sometimes in space. Just flying your F-15 around in space, because fuck it, it’s just an NES game, why even try to make it make sense? It’s an ok game though. I guess.

I don’t know why I picked such crappy games tonight. Just feeling flagellant, I guess (I KNOW THAT’S A NOUN! WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!).

You like Castlevania, don’t you? Part II

A Most Agreeable Pastime

castlevaniagameboyWe return to the wild world of Castlevania with The Castlevania Adventure and its sequel Belmont’s Revenge, both for the Game BoyThe Castlevania Adventure is a fun little game for what it is, but I don’t know how much anyone that didn’t already have a nostalgic itch for it would enjoy it. Being a Game Boy game naturally means that it’s been significantly simplified compared to its predecessors. The levels are extremely basic and linear, and movement is oddly slow, not even including the odd occasional lag. Sub-weapons have been removed entirely and aside from Dracula and some minor generic enemies like bats, you won’t be seeing any familiar foes or locations here. The game feels like it may have been outsourced to some people who were simply told to make a game about a guy who whips monsters. Still, it does somehow manage to have a certain Castlevania

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Review: Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

A Most Agreeable Pastime

81ePIm1wiOLDisclaimer: zero spoilers ahead. If you’ve played and enjoyed the previous two seasons of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, then you’ll be happy to hear that A New Frontier hasn’t altered the successful formula at all. If you haven’t, then you’re also in luck, as this makes a great new jumping on point, with the focus being on a new set of characters and almost no references at all to the previous stories. Clementine from seasons 1 and 2 returns, but doesn’t really talk about the past at all. The downside of this being that this has rendered all your choices from the previous games almost completely irrelevant (though I would still highly recommend playing them both anyway).

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If you’re unfamiliar with the modern Telltale formula, these things are really more interactive movies than games, offering very little in the way of direct interaction, but making up for it with…

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The best of classic What If?

Speaking of virtual multiverses, What If? was an ongoing series that featured a different alternate reality every issue, usually with the theme being that everything in a given famous storyline went horribly wrong, and usually in an unexpectedly dark manner. There were a surprisingly large number of great issues of this back in its prime, especially when you consider how they had to keep coming up with a whole new one of these every month. So in chronological order, here are some of the best issues before the dreaded mid-90’s came along and ran the series into the ground like it did everything else.


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What if the alien costume succeeded in taking control of Spider-Man instead of being cast off to later become Venom? Well, naturally it would lead to a crazy, evil Spider-Man who gets wrapped up in some wacky shenanigans that ultimately lead to a horrible death and the symbiote jumping ship and taking over Hulk, and later Thor, before finally being stopped. It’s not the most well-written of the bunch, but you can’t help but be excited by the idea of Venom-Hulk and Venom-Thor (well, at least I can’t)!


This is where there series really started getting grim. The X-Men lose Inferno, which results in them all dying horribly except for Wolverine, who wins the bonus prize of becoming the new possessed champion of the demon invasion. He then proceeds to slaughter the shit out of the rest of the Marvel universe, only taking an occasional break to eat some babies. That’s not a joke, he literally eats a baby. COMICS, KIDS!


Next we have another Spider-Man issue (there were quite a few Spider-Man issues, as you’ll see). This time featuring the famous Kraven’s Last Hunt story, but this time instead of drugging Spider-Man and killing himself at the end, Kraven just kills Spider-Man and goes on a crazy rampage, ending with his insanity becoming so great that he actually starts eating Spider-Man‘s corpse, thinking it will give him spider-power. Also, from the look of that cover, he probably teabagged the corpse as well.


Here we have another tale of Wolverine becoming a monstrous mass murderer, this time by becoming the new Dracula. He does this by getting bit by Dracula and then overpowering him, which you would think by comic book vampire logic would cure him, but no, he just kills the shit out of everyone again. Wolverine gleefully turns all the other mutants into vampires and they pretty much take over the planet until Punisher, who has now become the new sort-of-apprentice of Dr. Strange because there’s no one better left alive, has to fight his way through all of them by himself and snatch the Darkhold to make everything better through the power of magical genocide. Yep, the ultimate spell destroys all vampires, so now all the heroes and mutants are dead. Another cheerful ending for everyone!


Atlantis Attacks was all about some underwater jerks trying to bring the elder god Set back to life so he could eat everyone that hadn’t already been turned into a snakeman. Once again we see most of the major heroes die almost immediately, with the only hope left resting in the hands of an oddball group of random heroes and villains. The survivors are forced to fight and kill all their other surviving old buddies who have become snakemen. Then Set himself drops by and says “FUCK YOU GUYS, I’M HANGRY!” and things don’t go too well for anyone. Set ends up being banished in the end by a convenient plot device, but not before he left behind a bunch of Set babies, who end up eating everyone else anyway, making the vampire world from the previous issue look like they had it good.


This one had two stories about Reed Richards’ daughter surviving, one where she’s good, and one where she’s a horrible H.R. Giger-looking monster that sucks the lifeforce out of all her friends and family until her brother Franklin is forced to team up with Dr. Doom to stop her. This time the good guys save the day and there’s a happy ending for everyone! Just kidding, they all die again.


Another Spider-Man one. This one was actually pretty positive, surprisingly. Yes, he gains godlike power, does weird things to his enemies, gives Aunt May a heart attack, and alienates the hell out of his wife and friends, but amazingly he actually doesn’t go on a murderous rampage and even survives in the end.


COME ON! WHO DOESN’T LIKE VENOM-PUNISHER? Oh. Was it just me? Oh well. What can I say, I was crazy for Venom back in the day, so I got excited by anything remotely like this. The story still holds up pretty well today though.


Here we see what Dr. Doom would have been like if he was Sorcerer Supreme instead of Dr. Strange. Naturally, he’s still a complete asshole, but it made for a pretty interesting story, watching him crush his enemies by combining science and sorcery in such devious ways.


And finally there’s this one. Death’s Head II was one of the grimmest, most XTREEEEEME things around back in the early 90’s. He was kind of like what would happen if Venom and the T-1000 had a baby that was also British. Again, his comics still hold up pretty well even now. That brief 90’s wave of Marvel UK books was really good in general actually. Point being, this issue had Death’s Head, Death’s Head II, and a crazy story where almost everyone dies again. Noticing a pattern yet?


Anyway, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two from all of this, like don’t let Wolverine babysit your children,  don’t pick up and wear any strange alien costumes, and definitely don’t summon snakey elder gods to this plane of existence no matter how fun it sounds.

Review: Nightgate

A Most Agreeable Pastime

6808304_largerI don’t play very many mobile games (nothing against them, I just have so many other platforms I’ve already got too many games for), but every once and a while an impressive one suddenly leaps out of the shadows and bites me. Nightgate is one such unexpected nibbler. I had never heard of the game, but there it was as the ‘Free App Of The Week’, a feature on my phone that I habitually check, despite the fact that there had never been a single worthwhile looking game offered on it before. I almost passed this one over too, dismissing it as something that looked like some businessman’s PowerPoint presentation gone horribly wrong.

IMG_1883.PNG Sales are down this quarter. Time to shift some paradigms.

At the last moment this cryptic description caught my eye though: ‘In the year 2398, a network of intelligent computers known as Nightgate, is the last…

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200 Posts?!?

Hoooooly shit, 200 posts already? Well, let’s celebrate with a massive overhaul! After many years I have finally decided to abandon the horrorgasm name and move on to something new. It’s a name I used on the internet for a long time. My previous crappy site was located at the same domain. It was my screen name in the dark corners of mIRC. It was the name of one of my bands. It’s a name that used to carry a lot of importance to me, plus it just sounds fucking cool…but I’ve come to realize that I’m not that person anymore and I don’t really want to be associated with that person anymore.

It also doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with the things I talk about here. If this place was all about horror movies it would be a great name, but for mostly games and comics? It’s not really relevant to the content. (Plus it sounds like a damn porn site and that’s probably not the most reader-friendly thing, is it?).

Anyway, I think this new name more accurately reflects the tone of this place. I’ll still post about all the same kinds of things, and I think I’ll try to start getting into some new topics just to keep things interesting.

Finally, I’d like to thank all you readers and/or fellow bloggers for your support, participation, and inspiration, and I’ll do my best to try to be even more entertaining than usual as I continue to dive into the depths of the virtual multiverse, searching for the finest adventure and treasure that fiction can offer.

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This is a somewhat clunky, but still pretty solid sidescrolling hack and slash game with an absolutely horrendous story. The music is kind of simplistic and repetitive, yet oddly catchy. The level design is questionable at times, but there are a lot of cool boss fights. It’s not one of those absolutely essential NES titles, but it holds up well enough to still be fun.

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Now THIS is one of those absolutely essential NES titles. Super Spy Hunter takes the catchy formula of Spy Hunter and improves on it in every possible way. It’s got cool upgradable future cars with roof turrets that you can aim in 360 degrees and a bunch of explosively crazy boss fights. Killer soundtrack too. Probably the best thing Sunsoft ever did aside from Blaster Master.

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Sometimes our fond memories are misleading and we forget that there were games we had that we forced ourselves to enjoy because we had them, were stuck with them, and had nothing better to do. This is one of those games. Holy shit this game is shoddy. The cutscenes are so basic and unfinished, and the art from them is just constantly recycled, and the dialogue is just abysmal. I mean, I know that the dialogue in most NES games is goofy and semi-incoherent, usually due to translation issues, but this is especially badly and lazily written even by those standards. The gameplay is just a broken mash-up of Shinobi and Rolling Thunder, and the boss fights are just horrible.

This fight is even worse than it looks. Why did I ever think this was cool? What the fuck was wrong with me? I suppose I was just happy to have another ninja game, but man, this is just complete trash. Give me Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi over this crap any day.

And here come the E3 sales…

Sales on top of sales all week! And after this it’ll be 6 weeks of Summer sales!

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OOOOH MY WALLET!

Just grabbed Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux for $6 each and Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy season pass for $12. That’s not so bad, eh? Showed a lot of restraint, didn’t I? (Yeah right, it’s just because I already had every other good one on there) No, the real cash-in will be that crazy Summer sale. What a world where we are so excited for a sale to come up so we can buy a bunch of cheap games that we won’t even have time to play half of. I guess as problems go that’s not such a bad one to have though.

The Vita Report

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This seemed like a fun little vertical shoot-em-up with pretty good graphics, but the joke was on me because it turns out that this game follows some godawful free-to-play mechanic where you can only make progress by grinding the same levels over and over again for hours or as the internet informs me, by spending real money on buying special ability cards. Even worse, I didn’t see anything about these cards or any purchases anywhere in the game. I guess those features are only for PC and full consoles? So I would have no choice but to grind endlessly. Yeah, no thanks. Congratulations Infinite Dreams Inc., you suckered me out of $3. Very impressive.

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This one was a side scrolling shoot-em-up that looked a little more flashy and didn’t seem to have any slow grinding involved. They got me again though. There’s no free-to-play aspect here, but there is a bottleneck where you can’t play the last few levels until you meet certain conditions. I played through most of the game, but was locked out of the last level because I still needed to find at least 4 secret keys in each of the preceding 6 stages. I was only missing a few, but I tried a few times and just couldn’t seem to find them. I tried to look for more information online and found that some keys would only appear if you had above a certain rank at just the right time. I tried to look for the ones that weren’t like this, but the guides were pretty vague and I couldn’t seem to find anything in the areas they described. With my only choice apparently becoming another endless grinding scenario, I just gave up and moved on. Another $3 wasted. Wahhh.

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Oh good. This was a bit more fun. Dragon’s Crown is kind of an RPG/beat-em-up with a pretty fun combat system and some bizarrely over-sexualized lady characters that were the subject of some controversy back in the day. Ehhhh, let’s not even get into that whole thing again. Anyway, the game is fun enough, but sure loves to give you the runaround. Sidequests will send you back to the same levels over and over again and the main story even becomes a continuous loop eventually, wanting you to play each and every level over and over again with increasing difficulty because….reasons. I’ve come to realize that despite the nice visual design and gameplay that Vanillaware brings to their games, they sure do like to pad things out with a lot of forced repetition. Muramasa was much the same, and I hear Odin Sphere was too. I kind of wish they’d just let these games end normally and go out on a high note instead of all this artificial lengthening, but I guess some people are into this kind of never-ending repetitive post-game content. Oh well.

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One of the free games of the month on PSN, Neon Chrome seems to get compared to Hotline Miami a lot, but it really isn’t that kind of game. It’s a top down dual-stick shooter, but that’s about the only thing they have in common. This game is a randomly generated roguelike that’s got some pretty enjoyable gameplay. This is another game that suffers from a poor ending and repetitive post-game content though. You have to fight through 27 floors to win, with a boss fight every 5 floors or so. The first boss is a giant robot spider thing, the second is a big robotic worm, the third is some flying tank thing, but then the fourth is…three of the first giant robot spiders, and the fifth and final boss is…another giant robot spider, and that’s it. This is not one of those roguelikes where the bosses are randomly selected from a big list either, those are all the bosses every time.

As usual with a roguelike, once you win you’re expected to start all over again, but this time it’s even harder. With the lack of variety in bosses and no new characters or anything particularly exciting looking worth spending more time unlocking, I just stopped after the first victory. I would maybe give it a play again someday, but it just didn’t have enough going for it to warrant immediate multiple playthroughs like Binding of Isaac or Risk of Rain.

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Lone Survivor is a game I’m still not sure how to feel about. It wants to be a 2D Silent Hill, and in some ways it’s very successful at that. The pixel art is nice, the sound and music are effectively creepy, and the need to sleep, eat, and maintain your character’s mental health add an interesting twist to things. Unfortunately there is a severe lack of enemy variety, a nearly incomprehensible plot that seems to have taken a lot of cues from David Lynch, and a very abrupt and unsatisfying ending. Still, it’s entertaining enough for a short diversion, if you’re really into Silent Hill type games.

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Now out: My latest review on A Most Agreeable Pastime. You can find other recent game reviews by me and other fine fellows there.

(Am I “allowed” to do this? Is this within the territory of proper blogging etiquette? What is the acceptable level of self-promotion before it becomes awkward? Should I have been doing this for every article? I don’t know! I’m just gonna do it anyway! I CAN BE AS VULGAR AND SHAMELESS AS I WANT IN MY FUCKING PRIVATE SPACE HERE HUAHAHAHAAAAA! Ahem. Yes.)