Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Doom Gorefest #2 - The Mid Doom





While the first two titles of Doom can be considered the greatest start, Doom 3 and Doom 64 are often considered the black sheep of the franchise. Doom 64 was created by Midway San Diego and was a different look at Doom as a whole. 

Rather than just port the same game for the Nintendo 64, to further fill out its capabilities, the game was reformed and redesigned. It had different designs on literally everything, even if the change was more subtle. Rather than focusing on just killing demons, it also has a more developed map system with more advanced puzzles. While the weapons are the same in concept, it even included a new ultimate weapon above that of the BFG 9000, retroactively titled The Unmaker.


It has the gameplay and it has the demon hordes, but what was wrong? The drastic change in graphics put off a lot of Doom fans, first and foremost. Another, even larger problem was that people had no idea this was a totally different game. It was seen as just a port of Doom for the N64 and many overlooked it as such.

It really is a good game, one severe, crippling handicap, though, was the N64 controller. Seriously, people had enough trouble controlling Goldeneye with those weird things. This Doom game had a lot working against it.


Doom 64 was not very well thought of at the time, but since its creation, has grown a fairly large sized fanbase. It was about the same story for Doom 3.

The third entry in the franchise came about after Quake 2, when ID was commonly known and was at the end of their legendary run of games. Doom 3's graphics made so many computers heave and cry due to the sheer weight it put on the system. For its time, it was at the forefront.


The problem was that it was darker, slower and more story driven than Doom ever was. It has many of the demons we know already, adds in a few more and changes up the formula. You're still gunning down hell spawns but you're also finding your way around the under levels of a base in gameplay more akin to Halflife.

For what it was, Doom 3 worked and was fun to play. What put people off was it was not what many called a Doom game. It took a few years to get out of the mentality and allow people to appreciate on its own merits. Today, Doom 3 is highly regarded as a survival horror-esque game that resembles Doom. My real problems with the game involve Spoilers for it, so skip the next paragraph if you don't want that.


(Spoiler Warning!)
Doom 3 is fun to sneak around and fun to shoot with. The real problem is the battle with the Cyberdemon in the game's climax. The Soul Cube was a questionable weapon to begin with and having it be the key element against the final boss was not the greatest move. By then, you've used it so much that killing the boss with it was like rolling off a log.

While these two games are plagued with problems, they are still good. They possess the action Doomers crave and bring something new to the table in terms of gameplay and aesthetics. With how long it took for there to be a Doom 4, these games were good placeholders. Waiting so long for the next big Doom game probably helped us grow more appreciation for these titles. That's a good thing, because waiting over twenty years without them would have been a lot worse. Virtua Hellscape!

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Doom Gorefest #1 - Calling the Demons




Yes, there has already been a review, done by me, on Doom. That doesn't mean that I am done with this franchise. This series of articles will be covering one game. There is a lot to talk about and I am passionate about the subject because I have been following it for its near 30 year run. The Doom community is still very much alive. Not only are the Doom mods and Doom maps still being created to this day, but Doom is still widely accessible in Classic Collections, Steam and modern console stores all over the place. Doom is still very relevant, and while the Saturn had one of the more unfavorable ports to its name, that doesn't mean Planet Virtua needs to keep the Doomer side secret! Doom has come to this site and let's keep the ball rolling!

One of the great things about this game is the feeling of taking on entire hordes of demons by yourself and having to prove your mettle to pull off this feat. It doesn't matter how many there are, the game can give you the tools to beat however many.

The trick is to know which gun should be used to defeat which demon. Sometimes this can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Using the starting pistol to take down zombie men and former sergeants is wise for conserving ammo and still killing them. Using the starting pistol on a cacodemon is a good way to waste your time and get you killed.

You can use the rocket launcher on a cacodemon but never use the rockets on a lost soul. One up close shot to them is a good way to take backfire. 


People don't give Doom enough credit, saying it's just a game where you shoot demons. While that is true, there's a depth in both exploring the levels and strategizing how much ammo and weaponry to take down however many number of enemies. Being able to dodge projectiles and knowing when to fall back are also very important.

The demons are also a great deal of variety and each one are very easy to recognize. Once you see an imp, you have a pretty good strategy of what you want to do. That is not a strategy that is easily used against an archvile, though. Their different hit points and abilities will have you improvising a tactic on the fly. This is where that adrenaline kicks in.


If you were to wonder where to start, you should wisely start from the beginning. Ultimate Doom begins with Knee Deep in the Dead, and it would behoove you to start with it and pay close attention. These are the levels where they brought their A game. The levels start simple and have a good progression when they grow harder. John Romero, Tom Hall and Sandy Peterson made these maps to varying degrees, thanks to some creative differences with Hall and his departure from ID soon after.

Knee Deep in the Dead shows off the greatest in Ultimate Doom's level design. Doom 2 are some of their other greatest levels. This time, it was Romero, Peterson and American McGee, who was new to the company. Doom 2 also brought about a myriad of new demons, along with its new weapon, the Super Shotgun.


The Super Shotgun is, bar none, my favorite weapon in the games, classic and current Doom included. It uses two shotgun shells and does more than twice the shotgun's damage. It is the shotgun every other shotgun wishes they could be. It kills everything with efficiency aside from the boss demons, the Spider Mastermind and the Cyberdemon.

The Hell Knight is a fun opponent, although it is just a recolor of the Baron of Hell. It's weaker and softer but it works on the level of filling out demon hordes with dangerous enemies. The Hell Knight is still better than some of their other Doom 2 additions. Who thought that taking one of Doom's most hated enemies, the Lost Souls, and giving them a spawn point was a good idea? 


The Pain Elemental is about as strong and floaty as a cacodemon but spits out ridiculous amounts of Lost Souls if they are not killed quickly.

Chaingunners about as well loved. Their high speeding shots make them a dangerous opponent. Killing them is easy, though, and they drop chainguns for your troubles.

The aforementioned archviles are both loved and hated by the community. If you are in their line of sight, they can use flames to blind you and use it as a slow charge attack that takes off ridiculous amounts of hp. They are also hard to kill with their high hp and can even resurrect all other monsters aside from boss monsters,  monsters with no corpses, or other archviles. If you want to make a demon horde really hard, include one or two of these.



Doom can never be understated in its greatness. The game has stood the test of time thanks to ID's hard work and dedication to greatness. John Carmack created an exemplary game engine and John Romero and the rest of the team formed it into a game that still has the gaming world captivated to this very day.

I love this series so much that, like the Virtua Sonic featurettes, I decided to talk about this franchise a little more indepth. Even if the Doom port for Saturn wasn't up to par, it still was an introduction into the world of Doom and there is always room for more. Let the Gorefest begin!





Friday, 18 November 2022

Sonic 3D Blast - Sonic Snail

If you really need an introduction to the blue blur, there are so many places on this site to get it. Links down below. The basic premise to look at is that he is fast. He loves to go fast. Jaleel White's rendition of Sonic had him saying "Gotta juice!" as a catchphrase. Sega Genesis had a made up feature called "Blast Processer" for the sole purpose of telling how fast Sonic could go! The original Sonic games allowed you to go fast enough to make the background stream by as you spin dash and go through the loops and jumps. It was the biggest selling point. 

Sonic 3D Blast is not fast. There, I said it. I'd say it again if I had to. This game has certain elements in it that can be a little speedy, but overall, you are in a completely different world of graphics, movement and style. While this could possibly work, in here, it is clumsy. You are in an isometric view point in a three dimensional environment and while you can go at a decently fast pace, the game thoroughly keeps you from doing so. This is because the obstacles you face are very close together, and the platforms extend into tight straight aways. One single wrong move and you will either miss the narrow walkway or you will run into a bed of spikes or get shot by a cannon. 

The lack of speed is not the only problem with this game either. The gameplay centers around destroying enemies and taking small birds and animals to a ring to rescue. You get a certain amount of these little things that follow you around and you are able to continue to the next segment of the level. It is not bad as gameplay goes, but it is your lot in life as Sonic. If you are into this sort of thing, then you may actually enjoy it. However, it gets retitive and the game does very little to deviate from this gameplay. 

The ice level, because of course there's an ice level, has you in the clutches of slip-and-slide mechanics. This is especially annoying with the abundance of spikes, cannons and snowmen all around you. The powerups help but you're still sliding all over the place and hoping that you don't run into the many close together obstacles. You need to save these birds!

Is the game devoid of charm? Absolutely not. It has its high points. It does have the 3D run bonus levels from Sonic The Hedgehog 2. With the upgraded graphics and the little extra challenge added to it, it actually does very well. These segments come up rarely, but they are a lot of fun. Then, there's the boss battles with Dr. Robotnik. The isometric angle actually compliments these boss battles quite a bit. 

This game was really not fun the first time I played it, but that was mostly because I was expecting it to be like the first three games. After a recent playthrough, though, I have grown more accustomed to its gamestyle. Does that make it a good game? No, not really, that just makes it more tolerable and easier for me to play through for this review. It still stands that I would rather play any number of other games in the Sonic franchise (See Top 10 Sonic Games) than deal with this vast departure from the tried and true Sonic titles. In a vacuum, it's not terrible, though and you could do worse than give it a try. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not being hyperbolic enough. Don't play this! It's the WORST SONIC TITLE EVEEERRRR!!!!! Gotta Juice!!!

Virtua Sonic #1

Sonic Jam

Saturday, 12 November 2022

DragonHeart: Fire and Steel - Barf of the Dragon

 If you are an original fan of the Saturn, you may remember a little title known as DragonHeart, starring Dennis Quaid and the late Sean Connery. It was a pretty good film. Not great, not spectacular, but it was entertaining and not a bad watch if you were in the mood for some good old fashioned fantasy. It did well enough to deserve some knockoffs and some film sequels that have actually continued to come out until fairly recently. Yeah, for some reason, the first film came out in 1996 but the latest sequel came out in 2020, go figure. Well, the first film was pretty popular and still has a cult following to this day. That, unfortunately, means it also had a video game that came out for the Saturn, PC and Playstation (it had a Gameboy title too but let's not get too caught up in details). 

This game is a hack and slash platformer that controls like it has rheumatism. Your knight warrior guy walks in a leisurely stroll speed and getting used to this is rather difficult because throughout the levels, you also need to avoid traps. Good luck with that, is all I can say. It's not impossible, but it also demands precise timing that gets to annoyance levels that you may as well not bother with. 

I won't go telling you that the game is outright terrible in all of its mechanics. The hacking and slashing are decent at the very least. The enemies are mundane and basically clones of one another but that can pass as there's obviously a limit with how many people they can photo into the game. There's even some cool elements with the combat like flaming arrows you can shoot at people and light them on fire. 

The problem with this game, though, is the pacing. You slash, block, slash, shoot and repeat. You need to be careful though, because you have an endurance meter. Yes, this endurance meter is probably one of the worst things about this game. The pacing was already bad enough with the walking and blocking mechanics, but then they have to go and limit your attacks by making you run out of stamina.

Presentation is key when it comes to some games, and this one missed the mark. It's not downright ugly to look at but it's just so plain. The photo generated characters clash a bit with the background and it throws off the overall look. The backgrounds are actually quite good, if a bit generic in some places. If they'd maybe replaced the photo realistic people with more Sega Saturn-esque characters, it would have been much more appealing to the eye. As it is now, the two just don't really fit together. It kind of looks like they used a green screen and the keying was just flatout not attempted. 

Yes, I was rather harsh on the game in my Top 20 Worst list, but that's kind of how it goes. If it's taken in spoonfuls, this game really isn't all that bad. On longer playthroughs, though, it drags pretty hard. The slow walking and limited slashing shot the pacing. If you don't slash and block, you'll die pretty quickly, so you need to take everything slow. It's just not a good enough game to merit all of the stalling. The backgrounds are pretty to look at, but that's doesn't really help its case in the slightest. The fact that dragons are scarce is understandable as that's how the movie went as well, but I feel like maybe scattering a few more in for flavor would have helped this game a lot. As it stands, it's just fighting a bunch of guys that look eerily similar and the appeal just isn't there. Virtua Fire Water.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Neptune - Gaming Graphics - The Taste You Can See

 


There has been a lot of speculation when it comes to gaming graphics and their importance to gaming in general. More and more, graphics have increased in complexity and detail to the point where even the most minute water droplet is depicted to crisp perfection. That's all well and good, but why? Why are graphics so important to some people? Since when has the book's cover become a means for such harsh criticism?

It's become something of a stigma that each generation of video gaming requires a drastic hike in graphics and creating a game has become so convoluted that it requires at least 10 years to fully finish a large scale product, keep it within budget and prevent developers from growing exhausted and/or burned out. That is the kind of time publishers don't have. To stay afloat and to keep the big wigs fat and happy, they need to meet an annual quota and that means they will cut as many corners as is necessary. This means pressuring developers, cutting game mechanics and features, compromising quality assurance and any other number of troublesome trends we've been seeing in the past decade.

This is all due to the fact that graphics need to be pristine, even immaculately implimented. This is overtly stupid and nonsensical, especially when you stop and think about how the decade of the 2000's are seen as the best games ever created. The era that brought us the Sega Dreamcast, N64, Gamecube and PS3 are cited as the most remade and referenced games from then on. 

They did not need the shiniest graphics to make that happen. Skyrim was marred with glitches, but given the game's nature and fan reaction, it is still being rereleased to this very day. Minecraft's graphics are laughable and yet people still spend a collective millions upon millions of hours playing it every year since its release.

I still play the Sega Saturn, Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube to this day. What is the hang-up? These graphics do what they set out to do and they do so unrelentingly, no matter how much they age.

Downplaying the importance of graphics is probably the best thing you could do to help the gaming community. It does not need to be pixelated or polygonal to the very core, it simply needs to look good enough to serve its purpose and get on with the rest of the game features. Cutting graphics to save the rest of the game is preferable to cutting out its singleplayer mode or even entire levels. And yes, this has happened more than once. Games have been straight up shortened to a massive degree, entire online features trashed and huge sections like sandbox features have been left out in order to make way for shinier, more detailed graphics. Was it truly worth it?

There are going to be nay sayers. There are going to be people who cannot live without water reflections and Raycasting in their lives. If you need to see the pores in your character's skin or the sheen in your character's gun metal, then maybe it's time you start questioning how much you actually like gaming. If eye candy is worth sacrificing entire environments in a map, maybe it's time to take up game design and graphical classes to see just how difficult these things can be.

These developers work their fingers to the bone to appease brutal, unrealistic demands and deadlines. Game development has become so unsustainable, publishers are having to set aside five or six years toward a single game's development and that could still end in crunch time for designers depending on the progress. Some of it has to do with a game's complex mechanics but you can surely bet that a great deal of it is for the graphics and the polishing thereof.

Why not go back to 32-bits or 64-bits and create better, more glitch-free games at a fraction of the time and cost? You could work on three or four at a time with the size of the team and money you're spending now and retro gamers would eat that up. Hell, modern gamers would more than likely join in the fun, considering the game dry spell that seems to be getting longer every year. 

Reaching a point in graphics where we can say enough is enough seems like a simple matter. There would be some backlash but let's face it, would it be as bad as the backlash from Cyberpunk 2077 or Battlefield 4 upon their initial releases? Simplifying these things and getting the gaming community back to a creative, more maintainable medium seems far more paramount than seeing each individual strand of hair on a character's head. 

Is it this simple? No, nothing this big ever is. This is merely a suggestion and words of wisdom from someone on the outside, looking in. I am seeing smaller developers begin to thrive with retro style shooters and less graphically inclined games. This is not new. If AAA gaming companies hopped on the trend, it would make a lot of people happier and pull us out of this stigma of releasing half-finished games at full price. Sometimes, less is more and the higher we go, the more room we have to fall. Let's hope someone listens, or at least puts out a pool so we can fall into some water.

Monday, 31 October 2022

Neptune - 7 Lesser Spoooooky Saturn Games

 Happy Halloween, Saturn heads! On this final installment of the Month of Spooky Spooks, we're going to take a look at games that are not getting any real recommendations. Either the game's quality is rather subpar or their attempts at being scary fall flat. Either way, they're Saturn titles, so they at least get the minimum recommendation.

                                                                Deep Fear

Of course, we would see at least one Resident Evil clone on this list. There are those who enjoy this title and you can roll with that as far as it will go. I never found its creatures all that scary, nor did I ever feel any real atmospehere radiating from this title. The voice acting and glitchy graphics pretty much killed my immersion on that front.

                                                            Battle Monsters

If you told me that I could dress up in a Halloween costume and becone immortalized in video game form, I would be 100% on board! So, there's no judgment to the people posing as characters in this title. The game itself, oh yeah, plenty of judgment. The monsters aren't scary, the controls are horrific and you can win once you find that perfect spam attack. Go nuts.

                                                            Death Crimson

Probably the worst railshooter on the system, and probably worse than a lot of other genres on top of that. This game is notorious among old school gamers for some of the most terrifying graphics, atrocious hit detection and all around nauseating gameplay. So, if you looking for a bad game for Halloween, it's worth a look.

                                                            Alien Trilogy

Probably one of the least bad games on the list but still not really striking that horror chord. Alien simply made some levels, put aliens in it with some guns and called it a day. Okay, that's pretty harsh, but this title invokes more boredom than it does terror. It's an alright title, it just needed a bit more spice.

                                                                Horror Tour

You've probably never heard of this title and there are many reasons for that. For one thing, it was released only in Japan. For another, it can hardly be considered a game because there's really no gameplay to speak of. Like the name suggests, it's more of a point and click site seeing tour around a gothic castle. There's some talking paintings, some big spiders here and there and there's a witch that speaks Japanese. Beyond that, there's not much. But it's SPOOOOOOOKYYYYY!

                                                Alone in the Dark 2: Jack is Back

A recent addition to my entourage of games. This one is just bad. I dare say you pretty much need to learn fire is hot by getting constantly burned here. You die in pretty much every scene because without knowing what's happening, things can kill you from off screen because of the sluggish tank controls and slow movements in general. The game is boring, but as stated earlier, giving zombies tommy guns is quite the novelty.

                                                                    Casper

Movie tie-in games are thankfully a thing of the past but they did have their gems. This was not one of them. It is immensely boring. Floating around the house as a ghost who can't fly through walls, you will be hard pressed to figure out the control scheme and apply it in an effective manner. The ghostly trio lack any of their jerk charms from the movie and Casper is just as dull as ever. Good luck getting a remake.


So, there you have it. Halloween is here at the time of writing but it is time now to wait for next year's Month of Saturn Spookiness. No matter what day it is, it is time to plan for the next year. Halloween is the best time of the year for a lot of reasons and this is no exception. Remember to stay safe, enjoy the season, stay with family and friends and drink zombies.

Wednesday, 19 October 2022

D and D2 - Nonsense Transformations

It certainly seems like I take pleasure in comparing D to other games. Well, in the Month of SPOOOOOOOOOKIIIIIIIIIIness, I wanted to analyze it next to a game that many have considered superior. Get ready for a hot take this Halloween season.

Just to quickly recap, I love the first D, even though the title is Dreadful. See what I did there? ... I'll see myself out. But no, I really hate the title. Trying to look this game up on a search engine is an experience all its own. Still, the gameplay, the atmosphere, and the slow, creepy pace that you go at, it all comes up as a heartpounding experience with the lights out and the house empty. It's a short game, usually around an hour and a half if you know what you're doing. 

D2, on the other hand is a complicated matter in itself. The real problem is that there was almost no attempt to pin it with the first game and what attempt there is is lost in an entire barrage of cringeworthy plant transformations and... uhhh zombie... things. It really seems like they didn't make any attempt toward setting the same unsettling atmosphere. They seemed more intetested in adding combat and item pickups for health and stats.

It's obvious from the get go that they wanted a Resident Evil clone to piggyback on the success. The problem is that D already had its own strengths to draw upon and its own lore to expand upon. Instead of visiting a nightmarish world of haunted interiors, we get a snowy thundra and random encounters while wielding a semiautomatic weapon. In and of itself, this wouldn't be a problem, but this is D we're talking about.

What once was a puzzle solver is now a knockoff game that tries at the very least. Some of the mechanics are okay but most of the time, they end up adding nothing and taking away from the solid identity it started with.

You could have gone so much more in depth with the character study aspect of the first game. The idea of going into the mind of a psychotic killer had all of the potential and they drew upon that so well in the first game. They could have built upon that way better with a bigger budget but decided to mine gold where everyone else was already mining and some were doing it better.

Think about another two characters. They could have been family members or one could have been a victim of the maniacal other and something similar could have happened. Think about going through a larger mind palace with different themes and different horrors to face with your wits and quick reflexes. D2 did none of this.

What the sequel did was less than stellar. It was not an outright bad game, but it also did very little with its own concept. The part where you shoot the gun at the creatures was clunky, despite the fact that it was implemented in a more experimental way. It shows that they were trying and it was admittedly better than trying to shoot with tank controls.

There was some potential here that seems flat out untapped and that's a real shame. It would have been nice to have a sequel that delved into the idea that the first D had. While D2 wasn't a total failure (it does have its fans), I can't help but feel an overlying sense of disappointment. I never played the third or fourth game but I've heard I'm not missing a lot. If you're a fan of D2, believe me when I say that I don't hate it. I just wished for a bit less Resident Evil and a lot more Dread.

Thursday, 13 October 2022

Neptune - 7 Spooooky Saturn Games


When you think of scary video games, you probably wouldn't look back to the 32-bit era. Whether it be the lesser quality of graphics or the overarching tone, a lot of people pass this off as nothing special. Do not listen to them.

There is a lot to love in terms of dark tones when it comes to the Saturn. Here in the Month of SpoooooooOOOOoooooooooOOOOOOoOoOkiness, we'll be looking at such games. Not all of these will be games that are meant to outright frighten you. Some of these are simply games that have interesting monster designs or a tone that fits the horror genre. I do solidly believe that some of these are genuinely devoted to a creep factor. These games are not in any real order, hence why none of them are numbered. Now that we've got that out of the way, on with the virtua blood!


                                                                         House of the Dead

We start things off with an action railshooter! It is not especially scary in its setup, but it genuinely has some terrible monsters in it. We're not just talking about zombies, either. These range from swamp beasts made of algae, undead piranhas and armored monsters made of sludge cream filling. The flavors of monsters range far and wide and you will be hard pressed to count how many different types there are. How scary is it? Well, not especially scary, all things considered. It does have that wonderful atmosphere, though and it makes up for a lot of that with gore! Shoot these monsters apart with a hand gun and watch their chunks fly! Just try not to shoot innocent people, that's not the kind of gore we're supposed to have.

                                                                         Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Another entry in the action genre, this time for a platformer. Anything from skeletons to strange flower monsters spitting acid are on display here. The bosses are especially horrific! The very first one you fight is Dracula in a formless, horrific transformation! This is another title with such a wide range of monsters and ghosts, that your horror quota will be met in just a few hours of playing, whatever that quota may be. There are even monsters here that either have no classification or just flat out doesn't matter because they'll eat your face anyway! The castle is full of heinous beasts and you must kill the lot of them. Oh, crap, they respawned. Now, do it again!

                                                                                         D

Cutting right to the heart of the matter, D encapsulates the genre of horror to its max level. Get yourself in a dark room with this game in the forefront and there is a very good chance that you will at least feel some unsettling vibes. While it may be light on the monsters, it certainly fits every bill when it comes to atmosphere. There is still a lot to look at and the place you're in still feels haunted as all hell. D is an all around fun time and it is short enough for you to play on Halloween if you're looking for something to do.

                                                                                        Doom

That's right, I said it and I'm not taking it back. Doom is a game for any day and Halloween welcomes it with open arms. With such a large array of demons to squash, how could you not add it among the ranks of horrific titles? It doesn't have the creep factor unless you find yourself in a dark area with imps and cacodemons creeping within. There's enough blood here to fill a lake and the river that runs through it. It's horror, alright. It's just the type of horror you can pump a shotgun at.

                                                                                   Quake

If we have Doom, we may as well have this gib-soaked title. It may have guns and explosions, but there's also a vast number of monsters throughout. Not only the monsters, but also the atmosphere and the sinister tones that the setting enhances just spells out that Lovecraftian, gothic vibe that let's you settle into it and rocket jump straight into its face! Just look 

                                                                                  Resident Evil

The first game to coin the phrase "Survival Horror" and for good reason. BioHazard has got to be one of the most influential titles to come out of the horror gaming genre. It has enough clones and copycats as such. It is known to the rest of the world for its zombies but it sports a number of different creatures both of its own making and ones you would see around the genre. You could be fighting a Licker, sure, but you could also be fighting a giant spider! Its list of terrifying crratures knows no bounds!

                                                                                     Hexen

With dark castles, monsters at every turn and a gothic fantasy atmosphere, you better believe this title belongs here. Hexen is a very challenging game, don't you doubt, but the level design and aesthetics make it look so sinister, especially with two headed brutes and winged flame creatures flying overhead. There is a darkness to this game that is fun to explore. Just try not to get gored by giant lizards.


Now, you may be wondering why you don't see titles such as Deep Fear or Battle Monsters. Well, those games are going on a different list. I simply need to work out the details of said list. Until then, these are the games I would suggest for a night in with either yourself or some friends to enjoy. "Enjoy" being the key word here. Don't worry about such menial details as to why Horror Tour isn't included here. Oh who am I kidding, you're not wondering that. Virtua Boo!

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

On the TitanCast: Kenji Eno's Legendary D with Derek Alexander of Stop Skeletons From Fighting

 

Greetings Junkies!

The Halloween season is upon us and Stop Skeletons From Fighting's Derek Alexander joins the TitanCast crew for a D-lightful retrospective deep dive into Warp and Kenji Eno's cinematic horror adventure game, D.

Help us wallow in the spooky spirit as we vibe in Kenji Eno’s brain castle!

Now playing on a podcast app near you, including:

Listen on Apple Podcasts
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(Host site w/ more app links)

Referenced links:

Stop Skeletons from Fighting

SSFF's Patreon, including Stop Skeletons From Podcasting episodes | https://www.patreon.com/StopSkeletonsFromFighting

SSFF's Kenji Eno Past Mortem video | https://youtu.be/i3TrfyNTcB8

SSFF on Twitter | @stopskeletons


Nuno's book via Editorial DivergĂȘnci (publisher site)

Book page: Pela Cabeca do Rei Volume


The Virtua Planet (Brian's blog)

Main page | https://thevirtuaplanet.com/

"The Bouncer: Square's Cutscene 'Em Up Sandwich" | 

http://thevirtuaplanet.com/2022/10/04/the-bouncer-squares-cutscene-em-up-sandwich/


TitanCast Episode 29 -- The Yakuza: Like a Dragoncast with Kinsey Burke and KC RadioMan https://thesaturnjunkyard.blogspot.com/2021/03/yakuzalikeadragoncast.html


Host links

Brian's Twitter (@VirtuaSchlub)

Camron's Instagram (@Tsundain)

Sam's Twitter (@SMylesDrew)


Junkyard links

Saturn Junkyard website/blog

Saturn Junkyard YouTube channel

Saturn Junkyard Twitch channel

SJY Facebook community

SJY Twitter (@SaturnJunkyard)

The Dreamcast Junkyard website/blog (sister site)

The Dreamcast Junkyard's Dreampod podcast



Friday, 7 October 2022

Alone in the Dark 2 - Jack's Heart Attack


We continue our month of SpoooooOOOOOOOOOOKY CRISPS with this very obscure, strange title for the Saturn. Even for Survival Horror standards, this game is very strange. In fact, before this review, I had no idea this game even existed. Obviously, Alone in the Dark had sequels, but I had never even looked into them and this one hasn't come up in any of the conversations when talking about survival horror games. 

Total transparency here, I used a game walkthrough and I did not finish it. Every single element on display here was beyond terribly implemented. The controls are the worst of all. Not only are they tank controls, but they require you to fight zombies with tommy guns. Sounds awesome, right? No, it's really not. The only thing good about it is that it's funny and random. Actually fighting the three you encounter at the start of the game is jarring. You need to figure out these controls and that takes time you do not have when a zombie is using a bullet typewriter in close proximity to your face. 

Figuring out the button combinations and taking aim in multiple points of view is just a terrible way to learn. The controls are absolutely atrocious to begin with as they are the most awkward buttons to find and impliment in the game. Not only that, but finding out what to do in the game, objects to use and secret passages is another gigantic pain in the zombie rear! Figuring out these puzzles and getting ambushed at random points gets really old really fast. 

No matter where you go or what you do, you will die. Fighting in this game is so difficult with everything on display. Not only do the controls make it impossible to master, but you move so slowly. Every single time you run into a challenge, get ready to spend ten minutes trying to figure out how to get by it.

On top of everything, the graphics are about what you expect from Alone in the Dark, in fact, they are just about the same. They are just about as bad as they were in the original. The Saturn graphics on top of it are about the most charming thing you're going to get with this. 

Elements such as story, characters, setting and any connection to the first game, all of that went to the wayside. There's so little to focus on other than trying not to die, that you may as well consider each encounter a minigame. Trying to look at this game as a full entity is so daunting, you'll probably want to give up.

If this game had better controls and better mechanics with a little less of a cryptic nature, it could have been a nice little gem of a game. As it stands, though, this game even makes zombies toting guns boring. It is a dullfest that doesn't even attempt to scare you. That's really saying something when there are some genuinely creepy 32-bit games, despite what you might hear from these youngins today. Yes, I know I sound old, but who cares! That just means I'm getting ready to haunt your virtua dreams!