Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arcade and Retro Podcast Episode 5: Lucas Arts Graphic Adventures

Epsiode 5 of the Arcade and Retro podcast is now up. I'm not a part of this one so it will probably be a lot more entertaining! Anyway the topic is Lucas Arts graphic adventures which I'm sure will interest a lot of people:


Monday, February 20, 2012

Castlevania (NES)

Forget Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania is so far the toughest game I've played on the NES. This surprised me because you always hear how games like Contra and Ninja Gaiden are so tough but you never really hear anyone say the same about the original Castlevania. Perhaps it's because the game begins with quite an easy opening stage and ramps up the difficulty steadily for the next three stages. However once you hit that fourth stage the difficulty becomes murderous. Stage four starts with a very tricky cave section filled with bats that love nothing better than to knock you off platforms into bottomless pits. The Frankenstein boss is real pain unless you kept the holy water sub item handy. Stage five is infamous for its difficulty and ends with a gauntlet of two axe throwing armoured foes that have to be defeated while infuriating medusa heads harass you. To make matters worse this section ends in a boss fight with Death, one of the hardest bosses I've ever faced in a game. After that you've still got the final stage and a tough confrontation with Dracula to deal with.

You'll learn to hate this guy with a passion

I'm really glad I decided to play this game to completion. I did really like the game, now I absolutely adore it. It's given me a new found appreciation for just how well designed this game is. It's up there with the likes of Megaman 2 or Super Mario Bros as having some of the best game and level design of any game. The game may be tough, tougher than even Ninja Gaiden, however the difference is that while Ninja Gaiden exploits its bad code to make the game as frustrating as possible for the player, Castlevania never resorts to such cheap tricks. Castlevania is an example of NES gaming at its absolute finest. Superb.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Super C

After finding the first Contra a bit of a walk in the park I decided to have a go at Super C. Again the challenge was quite disappointing and I managed to breeze through the game. In fact this one was much easier than Contra. However I think I enjoyed this one a little bit more.

Super C is loosely based on the Super Contra arcade game but takes far more liberties with the arcade game than even Contra did. The arcade game had a vertically orientated screen that made dodging bullets a nightmare especially when coupled with the weird floaty jump. After the nightmare of the first level I found Super Contra became a breeze. Super C makes big changes to many of the stages in Super Contra, all of which improve the game, and adds some exclusive stages as well. The controls are also a big improvement. It really is a massive improvement on a very disappointing arcade game. Compared to the NES version of Contra, Super C plays very close to the original game and is probably running on the same engine. One big change is that the 3D 'into the screen' shooting sections of the original have been replaced by much better top down levels.

It's definitely a game work checking out. You might not be challenged but like its predecessor it's one of the best games on the system boasting some of the best gameplay and level design of the era. The co-op mode is the icing on the cake.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Arcade and Retro Podcast: Episode 4 - Romance!

Considering the week that's in it with the european release of Catherine last Friday and Valentines Day just around the corner we decided to talk about romance in videogames. It's been handled quite badly in games but recently we've seen games handle relationships in a more sensitive and thoughtful manner. In this episode myself and Gavin talk about how romance is handled in a variety of games. Hope you guys enjoy it.

iTunes link:

Uncharted 3

I do like the Uncharted series but think some people are a little bit too enthusiatic about them. I'd definitely recommend Uncharted 3, it's a well produced game that's lots of fun. I do however have a few gripes about it that stopped it being any where near as good as the second game in the series.

Firstly the game seems a bit rushed. I noticed quite a few bugs while playing the game, mostly animation errors but stuff like the aiming being ridiculously slow until the game is patched are quite telling. Some of the enemy placements and design can be poor in some areas. It's only in a few areas where this is noticable but they stand out due to the high quality of the rest of the game. A few firefights have enemies that will spawn behind the player and will kill them before they even notice that they have arrived. It's frustrating and there's really no excuse for it. I also feel that the heavily armoured enemies were a mistake and are more a pain in the ass to take down than truly challenging. I'm also not a fan of the new hand to hand combat system which borrows a lot from Batman Arkham Asylum. Some people love the combat in that game, I found it way too simplistic. Combat boils down to hammering the square button and every so often hitting triangle to counter when prompted. It just boils down to one big QTE. They have added some new elements like pushing enemies into scenery to use the scenery against them, it's always entertaining when Drake throws someone off a cliff or smashes a bottle over their head.

Anyway I've been far too negative about the game so I'll just end by saying I really enjoyed playing it despite the niggles. It never reaches the heights of the train section in Uncharted 2 and Amy Hennings writing is entertaining with some sharp one liners although she still hasn't managed to make the over arching story interesting or make Nathan Drake seem like a sociopath. Definitely one of the best of last year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Arcade and Retro Podcast: Episode 3 - Horror Hotpot!

There's a new episode of the arcade and retro podcast up. We got a few more people in the studio to talk this time. The subject for this podcast is a Horror Hotpot where we all talk about whatever horror games or topics that we wish to bring up. Anyway hope you guys give it a listen:


The podcast is also up on iTunes:


Friday, February 3, 2012

Arcade and Retro Podcast: Episode 2 - Hudson Soft

For the second episode of the arcade and retro podcast we decided to dedicate it to Hudson Soft since the company will be no more come March 1st this year. Here's the link for it, would love to hear comments and suggestions.