Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Guardian Heroes - Keep Slicing!


When does a mixture of great things turn out great itself? How often does a stew of hip game ideas mold together so well and manifest into such an amazing product? Well, it doesn't happen all that often, I can tell you that for free. This game takes JRPG elements, mixes it with Beat'em Up mechanics, anime 2D sprites, with a story mode that is very up-front and in your face. This game had some very nice, pretty graphics with 2D displays mixed with open multi-layered areas. 

The feeling of being a powerful hero taking down armies of henchmen and bosses is extremely gratifying. The real draw here is the ongoing stories and characters, aside from the dissatisfaction of the absence of your side ones. You choose from a selection of other players that have their own strengths both in melee and ranged attacks. Whichever character you choose is the one you see for the rest of the game.  

These characters are very diverse with unique gameplay and personalities. Not only do they help customize gameplay to your liking, but they also give the game even more replay value as they affect the story and the endings you receive. The dialogue is skippable but also worth reading if that's your thing. The English translation is well written and the characters can be quite humorous. 

While the graphics and the "hack'n slash" gameplay are both beautiful and cathartic, this game is not perfect. While I do love being able to die and come back immediately, this is a very limited continue system. Die enough times, and it's straight back to the beginning. This flaw is accentuated as some of the bosses you fight can get a little ridiculous in difficulty. It is especially bad when they start spamming their strong attacks, despite being able to do the same yourself. As with all side-scrolling beat'em ups, there is also that pinching flaw of being rather repetitive. However, it more than makes up for it in brilliantly differing story endings depending on what paths you take during the gameplay. 

Not only is this game one of my favorite Sega Saturn games that I have recently played, but is is also considered one of the cornerstones of side-scrolling beat'em ups. If this is your type of game or you are wanting to break into the genre, do not pass this game up if you ever get a chance to play it. It is a rare title in the Saturn's library but it is not unobtainable. Just remember not to support video game price scalpers and drink water.

Monday, 16 August 2021

Quake - The 3D Reckoning

ID software is known for their legendary titles, and Quake is one of them. Not only was this another landmark for first person shooters, but it was a gigantic jump in gaming graphics as a whole. The three dimensional graphics paved the way for so many gaming companies and showed what a powerful gaming engine was capable of. This brought deathmatching to a whole new level and gibbed its enemies with the utmost amazing details that could be seen in '96. Then it was ported to the Sega Saturn. How did it make the transition? Pretty damn well!

Is it perfect and better than the PC? No, definitely not. Is it better than the Playstation port? Of course it is. There was no PSX port. It was ported to N64 and Saturn within its first release. The Saturn port was well received, despite its graphical downfalls. The controls and the killing still work just fine and the ogres are still total jerks and the super shotgun is still awesome! Quake didn't make such a huge splash as Doom, but it still has a thriving fanbase to this day, especially with such a legendary soundtrack by Nine Inch Nails. That's right, we're bringing that up!

Now, the controls work fine, but it still has its faults when it comes to gameplay. Sometimes, the auto-aim doesn't work quite so well and there are times when you can unload an entire clip into someone and hit air because the game didn't feel like your angle could shoot the wings off a fly. Jumping and platforming are hindered by using the Saturn controls, but it just takes some adjusting. It is functional, but it's not a keyboard and mouse. 

The monsters have a bit of a graphical downgrade, but they're still recognizable and I don't think I've mentioned this, but the ogres are still jerks! Lobotomy Software seems to love the Sega Saturn more than any other console. Not only did they bring Duke Nukem to the system, but they also slammed Quake into a homerun with this port. This is still Quake and its still awesome. The real downfall of this port is that it has no multiplayer functions, and thus, no arena maps. The internet was sketchy to downright non-existent until Seganet came to the Dreamcast, so Deathmatching on the Saturn was a no-go. 

After such a dismal port of Doom, it's wonderful to see the Saturn turn around and do justice to a far graphically superior game. Lobotomy Software's contribution to the Saturn library can never be overstated. This is legendary. Not only does it prove the Saturn's capabilities were very real but it also captured Quake in such a great way. The beautifully brown and gritty setting and the gothic tone were implemented with style and grace, although that also means the fiends are jumping at you in full force. Remember to aim both barrels at those faceless beasts!

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Space Jam - Mike Deserved Better

 If you are a product of the 90's, you more than likely know Space Jam. This movie was marketed harder than hot cakes. Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan were plastered all over everything under the sun. It was hyped to the point where the movie fell to the wayside of toys and merchandise in terms of how expensive it was. Even though they are scarce today, this movie bared a tie-in game on the Sega Saturn along with other consoles of the time. This game hit the nostalgia bones, but it really didn't hit much else. 

I honestly came into this game expecting to hate its ever loving guts. Very few movie tie-in games have ever been successful, even fewer have made it to the legendary status. The vast majority of them have been garbage rushed out to meet a deadline of some sort. Whether this is one of those, I don't know, it's Space Jam, what you see is what you get. Instead of hating the game, I found myself not having much of any reaction at all.

The first game you have to play is to get Michael Jordan's clothes so he can play. At first, I wondered why this game would have this sort of weird mini-game on it, and it should just be a basketball game. Then I played the basketball, and I understood why they wanted to add some variety to Space Jam. The game isn't terrible, it isn't great, it isn't noteworthy. This is an annoyance with some decent mechanics here and there. It's sort of fun at first, but as you keep playing, it just fails to keep attention. This is just one of those bland games that isn't worth getting worked up over and is more easily quit than really hard games or games you enjoy, you're just not good at. Space Jam features all of the characters you love with none of the charm they represent. 

I have heard of this game in the past, though I never played it then. Now, after having played it, I understand why I even forgot about it. No one cares about it in the slightest. If it were horrifically terrible like Superman 64 or The Crow City of Angels, then maybe it would have something of a reputation. The problem is that you forget about it as soon as you stop playing it because it's the same rubbish all throughout with slightly sluggish controls and unremarkable graphics. The characters look good, kinda. Michael looks questionable. Either way, this game pretty much fell away from the public eye because it basically has no content of any substance. You shoot the ball, it may go in. If you love the movie, give it a try, just try to remember you played it.