Up until playing it, I’ve only ever had two associations when thinking about Shadow Hearts. One related to the game’s Judgment Ring, an appealing mechanic that added an element of action to otherwise typical turn-based battles. The other, more prominent association was the proximity of its release to Final Fantasy X, one of the most anticipated games at the time. At first blush, this seems like unfortunate timing, but in actuality it was opportunistic: a hope that those awaiting Final Fantasy X would purchase Shadow Hearts to bide their time with a similar role-playing game, albeit one with a much smaller development budget. With this in mind, I long ago established modest expectations. Now that I’ve completed it, I’ve found that these expectations were spot-on, which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy playing Shadow Hearts, but it was somewhat unimpressive. Continue reading Shadow Hearts [PlayStation 2] – Review→
When you have a video game collection like mine, it can be hard to play all of the games. This is especially true when additions are made on an almost weekly basis. Still, I appreciate nearly every game I’ve accumulated for this reason or that. In the hopes of improving my writing through continuous effort and promoting ongoing learning of these games, I’m going to compose brief, descriptive articles.
The Midway Arcade Treasures series was a great batch of compilations. The three releases on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube compiled around 60 arcade games spanning 20 years. The third game differed from the previous two as it focused on a single genre – racing games. A majority of the games didn’t resonate with me as they were classic top-down racers. I can appreciate them, and enjoy them in multiplayer, but my focus was honed in on two titles – Hydro Thunder and Offroad Thunder. These two 1999 releases were the epitome of what arcade racing games were at that point – flashy, fast, and fun. Completely unlike Race Drivin’…
Midway Arcade Treasures 3 was released in North America on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on September 26, 2005 and on the GameCube exactly one month later – October 26, 2005. The individual games were primarily developed by Atari Games and Midway Games, although there are some other studios in the mix. The ports were handled by Digital Eclipse and the game was published by Midway.
Fighters Megamix for the Game.com wasn’t a good game. The other fighting game on the system, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, fares no better in my eyes.
Both games resemble their “big brother” versions, but playing them on the system just isn’t worth it. Whereas Fighters Megamix’s combat felt slower and more precise, Mortal Kombat Trilogy’s played more fast and loose. I button mashed my way through fights and managed to pull of some combos; I couldn’t tell you if they looked cool or not because of the system’s poor screen quality though.
Mortal Kombat Trilogy had a large character roster, fatalities, and gameplay that’s more suited to jumping in and having fun, but it’s still on the Game.com and it’s not very good.
When I was young I played a ton of NBA Hangtime on my Super Nintendo, I loved it. I’m not that big into sports games, but NBA Hangtime’s fast-paced and exaggerated take on the sport was very fun. After doing a little research a year or two ago, I realized that NBA Hangtime was developed by Midway, the same developer behind the super popular NBA Jam. This alleviated the grief I had whenever I’d hear people callout NBA Jam so fondly, but not NBA Hangtime.
I guess once Midway stopped developing the series (and created NBA Hangtime) the series went through a long period of staleness. That changed last year when Electronic Arts released the critically acclaimed NBA Jam for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. This year they have a follow-up in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, a sequel appearing on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports this week on XBLA and PSN.
These sorts of video games are always better when you have another person so I was lucky that when I decided to play the demo for NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, I had a friend over. We only had a few minutes of gameplay so we had to get acquainted with the controls quickly. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but once I realized the movements I should focus on I was much more comfortable. Trying to steal the ball, blocking shots, using turbo, this was all familiar to my friend and I, and it seemed more effective than it used to be.
Once we got used to the controls we became effective at defense, but also offense. We took many jump shots and began learning the timing necessary to hit three pointers. But it’s not NBA Jam without outlandish dunks and On Fire Edition delivers. We saw many different dunks, but they repeated often; we were only able to play as the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat so I wonder if some dunks are character or team specific.
The game looked really nice. The character models looked like their real-world counterparts with the exception of their cartoonish proportions. Everyone had an oversized head which conveyed expressions very well, especially during dunks. The announcer is another memorable part of the past games and again, On Fire Edition doesn’t disappoint.
NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was a riot. My friend and I played three matches; the first was very close, the next game my friend blew me out, but I blew him out in the final game. EA Canada basically took the NBA Jam format and updated everything around it. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition appears to be just as fun as the past games and well worth the fifteen dollar price tag.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am isn’t a good video game. Owning every DVD release of the show, I’d definitely consider myself a fan of the show’s vulgar and very odd humor. And that humor is present in Zombie Ninja Pro-Am, but practically every aspect of the gameplay is pitiful.
Developed by Creat Studios and published by Midway in 2007 for the PlayStation 2, Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am blends golfing, beat ‘em up gameplay, and kart racing for a madcap combination of genres.
Of the twelve stages in the game, nine of them were centered on golfing. As Master Shake I’d play a hole of golf, beginning by teeing off and then fighting my way to the ball’s location. When it was time to tee off, a meter appeared on the bottom of the screen. After hitting the X button, a bar would move to the left in the meter, representing the strength I was putting into my swing; after pressing X again, the bar would return to the right of the meter. At this point I had to press the X button a third time, timing it just right to try and get a straight flying shot.
This method for golfing is commonly used in other golfing video games, but it didn’t seem totally accurate in Zombie Ninja Pro-Am. When I maxed out the power portion of the meter, even if I had near-perfect accuracy, my ball would fly to the left or right far more than it should have. I did have to take wind into account, but I never thought it was bad enough to affect my ball too much.
The holes I played through represented the dystopian atmosphere present in the TV show. They were run down and contained all sorts of death traps and odd backdrops. From the nuclear waste filled courses of New Jersey, to the Moon and even Hell. And they were all populated by enemies to fight off.
After striking the golf ball, I had to walk to it, fighting my way through hordes of enemies and finding pickups along the way. During this portion of the game I controlled either Master Shake or Frylock from the third-person perspective. I could switch between them on the fly and utilized both of their fighting abilities based on my enemies.
Playing as Master Shake I swung his golf clubs, guitar, or whatever eclectic pickup I found. Playing as him I mashed the attack button, hacking and slashing my way through enemies. I never felt like I really connected with the enemies, and the hit detection wasn’t that great.
If I played as Frylock, I instead dealt with enemies at a distance, shooting fireballs, lightning, or missiles out of Frylock’s eyes. Playing as Frylock, a lock-on box would appear on the enemies, letting me know that my attacks would connect. But Frylock’s attacks were slow, and sometimes after an enemy had died, his attacks would still target the nonexistent enemy.
Fighting to the golf ball was a chore. There were a lot of enemies that spawned between me and the ball, and the combat wasn’t fun. Most of the enemies took more than one hit to die, and it was easy to get surrounded if I didn’t deal with them right away. There were many pickups to find on my trek to the ball. Many were Enchiladitos, restoring my health, with many being more weapon pickups, and less often mulligans and pickups aiding in my golfing.
The final genre Zombie Ninja Pro-Am tackled was kart racing. At three points in the game, the frat aliens D.P. (his dad owns a dealership) and Skeeter would challenge Master Shake to a race. Boarding their run down golf cart, the gang raced the frat aliens around a few holes in the game. During these sections we did three laps around the hole, hitting checkpoints along the way, and trying to get speed boosts and bazooka pickups. The golf cart’s handling was a little floaty, but I was able to conquer these sections on my first attempt. In fact they’re probably the best gameplay portions of the game.
The game’s twelve stages went by at a fast clip; I completed the game in two or three sessions. The golfing portion of the game was competent enough to get by, but I always questioned why my ball landed where it did. And full disclosure, I never made par, at best I made bogey with the assistance of mulligans. The combat was easily the worst part of the game. I only died a few times during these sections, but they weren’t fun. And finally the kart racing; I looked forward to these sections because I knew they’d be short and get me to the end of the game a little quicker.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am was a very poor game that just so happened to be based around one of my favorite TV shows. The game played out like an episode of the show and was just as funny. In each stage there was a popular character from the TV show, putting a smile on my face with the ridiculous cutscenes, but the gameplay wasn’t fun. It’s recommendable only for those who are ate up with the TV show, and it’s pretty cheap anymore; I picked up a new copy for fewer than ten dollars.