Tuesday, 27 February 2007

And The Tortuous Saga Continues...



Remember how a few weeks ago I said that I was putting my games purchases on hold? I was going to stop purchasing games, because I had a massive backlog that needed playing through?
In fact I wasn't going to purchase a new game until May... When I turn 40, and then I was going to get a Wii right? Until then I was just going to play through my collection, and sift through the mound of unplayed and unfinished titles for the Dreamcast, the Saturn, the Sega Gamegear, the Master System and so on...

Did I say Master System? Oh that's right... Master System Mondays... Where I was going to play and review a Master system game on the odd Monday... Hmmm... Right.... *COUGH!*

Well I've broken my pledge to abstain from Game buying... I've bought "The Mansion Of Hidden Souls" for the Saturn, a retro stroll through a strange stately home full of intrigue...

I'll give you a taster of what the game is about... Heres the blurb from the back of the box...




"As a bright crimson moon rises over the Mansion of Hidden Souls you and your companion Mike enter into a fascinating RPG adventure.

Roaming around the huge chambers of this grand house you meet the elder of the mansion who asks you to investigate the appearance of the moon and find out what is happening in the mansion.

As you progress deeper and deeper into the building you meet a host of spirits who inhabit the eerie corridors and rooms within the mansion, each one with its own dark and mysterious past.

Solve riddles and logical puzzles to unravel the sinister plot of theft and murder!"




Woooo!!!! Spooky eh? But spooky in a gentle non-zombie way... Price? Three of her majesty's English pounds! Not too shabby! Read a damning review here...
and a more favourable one of the same game on Sega CD here...


Review
Mansion of Hidden Souls
By: Ken Horowitz November 7, 2005
Despite bad press and slow sales, developers in the early to mid 90s continued to pursue full motion video games as a viable genre. Unsuccessful for the most part, there were a few titles among the crap that actually seemed to have some potential. One of them was Vic Tokai's spooky thriller Mansion of Hidden Souls, an on-rails adventure which straddled the line between FMV game and digital comic. It made a decent enough attempt, but lamentably stumbled in more than a few places.
The entire premise surrounding Mansion is a somewhat strange, though it may not seem so now, in this age of debris-pushing interstellar princes and portable dog-raising. Back in 1994, though, it was more than a little weird. When Jonathan's little sister finds a butterfly in an open field, she wishes she could turn into one. In a flash, she disappears inside a mysterious mansion. Luckily for her, she's in good company, as the house is populated by other butterflies - all of which used to be people too. The problem is, unless Jonathan can rescue her before the mysterious "hunter" reaches her first, she'll be permanently transformed into a butterfly and added to the mansion's collection.
To save his sister, Jonathan enters the mansion, exploring rooms and solving puzzles. Viewed through a first-person perspective, the adventure places you in one room after the next, searching for clues and talking to the insect inhabitants - all of whom are very forthcoming with information. Gameplay is very simple, as the spooky house - big and filled with plenty of places to explore - never becomes too unnavigable.


Therein...unfortunately, is where the problem lies. Sure, the house is easy to navigate, and the puzzles won't take hours to complete. What happens is that this user-friendly gameplay makes the game more than a bit too easy, meaning you'll blow through the whole thing in about two hours. The main culprit is the on-rails movement system. As you enter a room, you're taken from the entrance to the only points of interest inside, with no middle points in between. The rooms are very well-detailed and look great, with video that's quite clear despite the Sega CD's terrible compression. This is all well and good, but you can't touch anything. Heck, you can't even look at most of what's around you.
That's probably the single biggest problem with the whole game. When I'm told to explore a mansion, I really want to explore it. Moving through a huge room all the way to the back, just to look at a bookcase, doesn't impress. Let me look at everything, let me roam freely! I know this may have been too much to ask for a Sega CD title, but this was a CD title. Wasn't the whole point of Sega's little add-on to push gaming to "the next level"?
Once you get past this significant hurdle, there is a nice little game to be played. As I stated earlier, the environments are very pretty, and there's plenty of dialogue. The added use of the Mega Mouse makes the already basic navigation a breeze. Too few titles made use of it, and to see it used here was a nice surprise.
I do love how Mansion of Hidden Souls' case portrays is as though it were a 16-bit Resident Evil. The actual product couldn't be any further removed from Capcom's flagship series. You'll never be scared while playing, and while the soundtrack (done by the great Yuji Nomi) and graphics do come off as eerie and foreboding, there's never a truly terrifying moment. This didn't bother me too much, as I never really expected a scarefest. I actually prefer the atmosphere it projects, to be truthful. The emphasis here is more on exploration and puzzle-solving than survival, which lets you focus on the mystery itself.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to gameplay, and that is something that Mansion of Hidden Souls does an adequate job at delivering. Though limited and all too straight-forward, the experience is a pleasant one (much more so then the Saturn pseudo sequel). As long as you're not expecting Enemy Zero or even D, you should enjoy the few hours of play it offers. After that, there isn't really much left to do. Still, play through it once and see one of the early FMV thrillers. It's a unique experience on the system, and a pretty good one at that.
Score: 6





Talking of that game, the zombie one, yes I'm still playing it... Hopefully I'm getting somewhere, but I'm probably deluding myself... Yesterday I was fobbing it off for good. I posted as much on the strangely addictive Planet Dreamcast Forum yesterday... Then as soon as I got in from work tonight I sloped off to play it... It's like crack... Compulsive but in no way good for you.

No doubt if I do complete it I'll be raving on about how fabulous it is... Ho hum!



I've also crumbled and bought Resident Evil Deadly Silence for the DS... Yeah that's now four titles of a franchise I supposedly "hate". Sometimes my own fickle and contrary nature makes me chuckle... Sometimes I infuriate myself.

"So RE DS, dear Father? - What gives?" Well it's a port of a port if I've got me homework right... Having already re-made the original PS1/Saturn RE, for the Gamecube, Capcom decided to shrink and miniaturise it so it would fit into the tiny world of the DS.

The official features of the game go like this...

"Experience the terrors of Racoon City, as heroes Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine try to survive a mansion filled with flesh hungry zombies, giant spiders, horrific amphibious creatures, mutant dogs and worse. Now the Survival Horror Classic - Resident Evil debuts with features exclusive to the Nintendo DS system.


Two great ways to play:

Classic Mode : The Original High Tension Resident Evil
Rebirth Mode: A new high octane action intensive game.

Multi-Player and More:
Join up with 2-4 friends and scream together in a specially created map.
Bonus mini game - Master Of Knifing" (I kid you not!... No doubt the touch screen/stylus element of the game)





For the Dreamcast comes a highly reccomended RPG "Skies Of Arcadia" and my second copy of Light Gun classic "Confidential Mission"... That's correct dear reader, my second copy, (it was a steal I couldn't resist it...)



This week I set up an experiment... I was going to email J of (J's Corner Of Randomness),
via my Dreamcast and his Wii... It took me bloody ages to get online with the Dreamcast and when I did, the ancient 33K Modem and Popmail would not work with my ISP AOL! Bah!
It was supposed to be a historic melding of last gen and next gen console... A beautiful communication across the Millenium, from last century innovation to today's technology...


So much for fucking bright fucking ideas...

More disappointment followed when my recently unearthed Atari 2600 failed to spring to life, with a Tandy Universal Adaptor... But I'm still not sure whether it is the console or the plug, so at the moment it's in stasis with that bloody Saturn steering wheel...

Talking of which, the tit who sold me that hunk of shit went mental when I gave him bad feedback on eBay. He sent me five hissy-fit emails, indignant that I had sullied his online reputation. He whined that:
*It was fine when he sent it
*I could have complained to the Post Office
*He would have refunded my money...
"yada, yada, yada..."

I swear I could practically hear him crying over the internet...

Well to him I say... "Eat shit m**he**f**ker! I was just telling it like it was... Shit transaction from a tosser!" So HA!! It's me who has the last laugh! :) :) :)

If it seems like I've rejected this little soap box for a while, it's because of that zombie game and because I used to pad it out with loads of Saturn video, lifted off Youtube. Now for some reason Youtube hates me and won't let me post anything... If any of you could figure out why this might have occurred I'd be mighty grateful...

Without wishing to end on a negative note, the best thing thathas happened in my little world recently is watching Caleb's excellent Hunyak Blog flower into an encyclopaedic reference point that rivals the DCJY. I advise you all to check it out here...

Goodnight Dear Children Wherever You are...




7 comments:

mikey4u1984 said...

HAAHAHAHAH!! That sausage jockey from cardiff got his ebay reputation smashed. Well better than me smashing his face with my fist for trying to trick my homie krishna.

Ive been to calebs blog its very cool I just cant comment on it because I am too lazy to make a blogger account.

Oh and by the way, who invented that word sausage jockey?

J said...

Is that your Wii Father krishna!?

Pierre LaStank said...

I too have been buying more than playing lately. Two kids will do that to you. I just won me an auction for 9 new Saturn games on eBay for the decent price of $16.55. Not too shabby considering there are a couple of decent titles in the lot, Gex being one of them. I had it a few years ago as one of the only really excellent titles on the 3DO. Looking forward to playing it again on my Saturn.

I was also fortunate enough/unfortunate enough to snag a copy of Spot goes to Hollywood. I can't belive just how complete the crappiness of that game is. To the point where the controls for forward and backward are screwed up. How they took one of the most underrated and wonderful platformers around (the original Cool Spot on the Genesis though I think it was also on other platforms) and screwed it up so completely is beyond me. I think Sir Richard B. was the one actually doing the coding on this Virgin effort.

Anyway... it goes toward filling out the library anyway so for $3 it's not too bad.
Keep the site going as I am on more days than not and it is about the only current Saturn "thing" still alive. As you former world powers would say, good on ya.

Pierre LaStank said...

Completely off topic, but is that a copy of an insert from a Crass album over on the right?

fatherkrishna said...

J! No unfortunately that is not my Wii... Remember, my Wii is not due to arrive at Early Towers until the 16th of May remember (when I turn 40) *Hint - when you do your Happy Birthday Father Krishna post on the Corner...* It is actually Gagaman(n)'s and I swiped the image from his excellent Wii vs. DC article over at the other Junkyard...

Mikey! Nice one homie! Yes indeed, the 'sausage jockey' (noun) "one who rides another man's 'pork sword' for pleasure"... Did get his over due come-uppance... He was so precious about his bloody eBay reputation that I think it was almost like giving him a good beating... (LOL!) ;)

Pierre! Great to hear from you! people on your side of the pond who appreciate the sublime magic of the Saturn are rarer than those over here... We seem to be kindred spirits in terms of gaming tastes, and I too have many crappy titles that bulk up my collection, but I wouldn't have it any other way...

In answer to your question YES! That is indeed a Crass image proudly displayed on my side bar.

I was a punk back in the day and they were THE band which I identified with. Their ideology and principles guide me to this day...

The picture in question was a fold out sleeve from a 45rpm record called "Bloody Revolutions" which featured "Persons Unknown" by The Poison Girls on the flip side. Very well spotted!!!!

Wow! Who'd have thought it? I hooked up with a dude who appreciates both the Saturn & Crass! Cosmic! LOL!! ;) ;) ;)

Pierre LaStank said...

Crass was (and continues to be) a band that I have mucho respect for. Appeared to be (at least from over here) one of the few politico-punk bands that walked the walk as well as they sneered the sneer. One of my favorite bits of "art work" from them is the big fold out from "Christ: The Album" which also just happens to be my favorite album from them as well. Funny that. Between them, the DKs and a few other like minded bands, I still to this day occasionally listen to and reminisce about my blue mohawk days.

Then I remember that it was just another uniform, I didn't invent angst and go back to happy oblivion.

Too funny. You are a couple of years older than I (36 last September) but close enough that we no doubt share similar interest in other bands, etc.

fatherkrishna said...

Ah! The Dead Kennedys... Holidays in Cambodia, California Uber Alles... Fantastic stuff! Jello Biafra? a wonderful and highly admirable man!

Crass did indeed 'walk the walk'...
strange that they ended up punks, 'cos they were essentially hippies apart from lead singer Steve Ignorant.

What was great about Crass was that you could write to them and they would write you a hand written letter back, with a couple of badges (buttons) or a sew on emblem for your jeans! I can't tell you how great receiving a letter from those guys was!

Very political, sometimes dour, unfortunately their fanbase became a little FANatic, some warping the band's intended message to serve some dodgy political agendas. Still their DIY attitude proved inspirational to many.

Here's to many more nostalgic exchanges! *FK raises a glass of brew!* :)