Now Playing: Outlast 2 (2017)

Wooooo Outlast 2 is here! We always need more new (good) horror games, and this one did not disappoint. Outlast 2 plays much like its predecessor, with enough gore and depravity to make even the strongest of stomachs turn at least once and hours worth of tense hide and chase scenes where a whole new batch of disgusting maniacs want to do terrible things to your special bits.

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Before there was the fancy 8 MEGA MEMORY Strider for Genesis that most people think of when you say Strider, there was the original NES version that has always held a special place in my brain. To this day, I still remember the password for the last level (it’s DMCC BGCP CPOD, if you were wondering). I don’t know what it was about this game that gave me such a semi-obsession as a kid. Looking back, it’s a glitchy and clumsy game, that is far from the tightest thing Capcom has ever produced, even by 8-bit standards. The level design and amount of convoluted backtracking involved is questionable, to say the least, and the jumping is just a mess, but dammit…I like Strider. The weird levels, interesting enemies, bizarrely barely coherent plot, and awesome Capcom 8-bit music just won’t let me let go of my Strider fixation. It’s still a game that I have to pick up and play again every few years and I doubt I’ll ever stop.

Oh, Ghosts ‘N Goblins. The game that everyone in 1985 thought was so cool, but no one could even come close to beating. It’s weird that you never seem to see this one mentioned on any of the goofy “top 10 hardest old games” lists you always see. This was much worse than Battletoads. Seriously, if you ever meet someone that says they can beat this game without cheating, call the fucking FBI or something, because that person is some kind of evil mutant or wizard and they’re probably about to suck the life force out of you.

Not content with simply being perhaps the most difficult game ever released on the NES, Ghosts ‘N Goblins also trolls the shit out of you like you wouldn’t believe. If you somehow manage to make it all the way to the last boss and beat him, the game tells you:

and you not only are sent back to the beginning, but now the game is even fucking harder. That’s not everything either. If you manage to do it all again and finish the level right before the final boss again, if you don’t have the cross weapon equipped the game happily tells you that your weapon is useless in this battle and doesn’t just send you back to the beginning of the level where you can find a cross, but shoots you back two whole levels, because fuck you, that’s why! If you somehow manage to make it through ALL OF THIS BULLSHIT, which let me tell you, it’s not easy even using save state spamming, you finally win and

Hooray! I’ve always wanted to beat that game. Now let’s never, EVER speak of this again.

Now Playing: Contra series (1987-?) Part 2

Contra madness continues with the next generation of Contra on Playstation 2.

Contra finally becomes Contra again with Shattered Soldier. SS is very much a Contra title again, unlike the weird PS1 entries, full of crazy sidescrolling action and a shitload of bizarre and challenging bosses. This game actually looked really good for a PS2 game and the level and boss designs were impressively twisted, often seeming almost like a horror game, at least in appearance.

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Now Playing: Thumper (2016)

Thumper is described by its creators as a “rhythm violence game.” I don’t know if that’s exactly accurate, but it certainly sounds nice and it was a pretty fun game.

There isn’t really any combat in the game, so the “violence” label is kind of questionable. There are boss fights where you have to hit every beat to make some kind of attack beat pop out that you can knock back into the bosses face, which is the only way to damage them, which is about as violent as it gets.

I suppose the violence could be more referring to the amount of times you’ll die. The game starts out pretty simple and manageable, much like the levels you get to try in the demo, but a little less than half way through things start to get way more complicated and fast paced. Luckily the levels are all pretty short, so it’s not TOO frustrating to have to redo one several times.

I guess that was the only real complaint I had, that things started moving so fast that there was no time at all to look at all the crazy, psychedelic scenery. There’s so much weird shit going on in the background, but you just can’t take your eye off the track for even a second or you’ll be dead.

It’s definitely a worthwhile VR title though. It’s not super long, but it’s a bit longer than most of the tiny movie length VR games flooding the market these days. Maybe 6-8 hours or so, not including the extra play modes and trying to get S ranks in all the levels if you’re really masochistic.

Now Playing: Mass Effect – Andromeda (2017)

Mass Effect – Andromeda is terrible! It’s a large-scale RPG with a lot of hype behind it that had a few minor bugs upon release, including some people in the talking scenes having weird facial animations and THAT’S WHY I PLAY VIDEO GAMES FOR THE QUALITY OF THE FACIAL ANIMATIONS! Just kidding I’m not a fucking 12 year old. Game was awesome. SORRY.

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Now Playing: Resident Evil – Outbreak (2003)

After getting a new (or at least one that’s in working order) Playstation 2, I’ve been dusting off the old pile of PS2 games and thought I’d give some of the older, more obscure Resident Evil games a try again. No one really talks about Outbreak much (though the 2nd one seems semi-popular). I had a hard time even finding a decent screenshot of it (and it’s still not very good).

Outbreak was the first attempt at an online multiplayer-based Resident Evil, long before awful games like Operation Raccoon City and Umbrella Corps came around. Like those games, it does have a single player mode, but wasn’t really made with single player in mind, so the experience is pretty flawed and uneven. I can see this being a lot more fun with real people and the difficulty turned up, but even then, it’s a bit of a mess. The extremely limited inventory size forces you to co-operate, even in single player. You have to use AI companions as a kind of living storage box, and really, that’s all they’re even good for. They sure as hell won’t fight or help you in any way. Left to their own devices they’ll blindly stumble around, literally filling their inventory up with sticks and other useless items or even stand right next to you and watch you die as you’re screaming at them for help sometimes.

On the surface it’s a pretty standard old-timey Resident Evil kind of game, with a lot of familiar monsters, inventory management, and a ton of weird puzzles and backtracking, but the more you dig into it, the more it feels like a cheap copy. There’s a random splattering of story cutscenes, but they’re near-incoherent and the 5 scenarios you can select to play don’t seem to have any real connection to each other. The enemies and bosses feel kind of like bargain bin versions of ones you’ve already seen before, with textures and animations that don’t seem quite finished.

It’s not ALL bad. There’s the level where this weird unkillable leech man keeps popping out of vents and doors and chasing you around and you can only throw blood packs to distract him until you find a way to kill him near the end of the level, and there’s the part where the “Tyrant”, or this game’s version of one, called Thanatos (who is now a big black dude in a speedo for some reason), is chasing you around a mansion. Those parts were actually pretty tense and fun. Overall though, it’s a pretty mediocre game. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but the biggest Resident Evil fans who want to try everything (I think I would rather play Survivor again than this). Supposedly the sequel is a lot better. It’s been so long that I really don’t remember, but I guess we’ll see…