Monday, 28 September 2020

Impact Racing - No Horn, Lasers!

When you want some high octane in your tank and you’re tired of taking crap from the drivers next to you in other racing games, look no further! Impact Racing has to be one of the most underwhelming title by comparison to its content. Yeah, you’ve got impact, but you’ve also got lasers, ion cannons and mines in order to destroy your opponents. The destruction is wonderfully therapeutic and you get your money’s worth in speed! It’s the kind of racing and gunning fun you’ve been looking for, if that’s your thing. 

The graphics aren’t the best, even by 1996 standards, but they get the point across and do not hinder your ability to take down your opponents. With an overhead radar view, you get the chance to take down enemies from behind you with the mines. There is no ammo cap on neither lasers nor mines, so have a ball! You can fire both at once.

That’s not to say it’s always that easy. Sometimes, you’ve got quite the strenuous time limit to get to the checkpoints. Destroying enemies can supply you with extra five second blocks, but that’s at random, and it’s not always guaranteed that you will be directly behind them to catch the time block. However, taking down other racers can also supply you with special ammunition and armor. If you take down enough enemies, you will also get a bonus stage for a chance to upgrade your weapon even further!

This is raw retro gaming and it is just plain fun! This game is just something you can pick up and play within a moment’s notice. It’s nice and challenging and the 32-bit graphics will bring you back to a simpler time when games were made for fun. The one real strike against this game is that there is no 2-Player mode, which is very unfortunate, though not uncommon for racing games back in the day. Still, if you see this for a reasonable price, by all means do not hesitate to add it to your Sega Saturn collection. Virtua Laser Strike!!!

Sunday, 6 September 2020

The House of the Dead - Digital Zombie Brains


If you have ever been to an arcade of any quality at all, you’ve probably seen The House of the Dead in one of the corners. There were two shiny red and blue guns and a whole bunch of zombies coming out of the woodworks to eat your face! So, from the arcade to the home console, you can tell that there are some differences among the similarities. It’s still the infectious undead package it was in the big box, it’s just taken a couple of hits. 

This game was given a lot of flak for how much quality it lost in the translation from cabinet to Saturn and somehow it lost a lot of face in the process. Yeah, the graphics weren’t as good and the frame rate was crawling at some points. Whatever happened to “Graphics don’t make the Game?” There are times when they can seriously get in the way and sometimes some of the more wobbly polygons can go a ways to make you sick. The House of the Dead had none of this. It’s just some of the textures became dulled and some of the features on character renders didn’t look quite as good. 

The gameplay and the game itself is still the same at its very core. There is still plenty of brain-sucking freaks coming at you as you take them all down in a blaze of glory. You can play two player and you have a lot more content than you did in the arcade (not to mention, you don’t need to keep churning coins into it) like different characters and gameplay. None of these graphical downgrades get in the way of putting bullets in dead people. 

Not only was it just the novelty of bringing a fully 3D game home after years of going to the arcade, but the fact that you could bring a friend to play with you as well. It’s something of a bonding experience, shooting at a screen next to a friend is very satisfying. Do I wish the graphics didn’t glitch so much? Yeah, maybe, but that goes away just as fast as it came. 

Now, bad things about this game that actually affect it are more of a problem with the enemy mechanics. Sometimes, there were these monkeys (yes, you heard me correctly) and it seemed like no matter how many times you shot them down, they kept getting back up. Armored and hard to kill enemies can get a little tedious sometimes, especially when there are sections of the entire level that seem to feature them exclusively. Then there’s the times when monsters immediately pop up in front of you and slash you. This is a common problem with many railshooters and it feels like a cheap way to  score a free hit on the players who don’t see it coming. Even when you saw it coming, there’s a chance you won’t react in time. 

The real love that is given to this game is not only in the therapeutic killing of zombie hordes, but also the many types of zombies and monsters that you encounter along the way. There are sludgy swamp zombies, zombie frogs, zombie worms, leatherhead chainsaw zombies and big huge brute zombies! There are monsters of all sorts gathered for the boss levels and some of them are still archetypes of the genre! The discovery of these creatures is only beaten by the sight of their heads exploding and their torsos being blown off! 

With cheesy dialogue and nonsensical mad scientist plots and schemes, this game is a campy corny masterpiece. It may not look as shiny or run quite as well as its arcade counterpart but there is still so much to love about this port of the game. I mean, it’s not like you’re going to find a PS1 version. (Oh, snap!)