Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wacky Videya Game Music

Ever since the technology was possible games had had musical scores to accompany the action. Whether its the catchy tunes of Castlevania or the epic scores of modern games like Mass Effect 2 and the Halo series games nowadays almost always have music.  I just had to make a  quick post to point out how absolutly abusrd the lyrics in some games can be.  Don't get me wrong  I loved Sonic Adventure 2, and its soundtrack but look at how absurd this stuff is.  .

Wild Canyon

Pumpkin Hill  (even has LYRICS)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Torentsu's Row 2

Whenever a game redefines a genre there will be clones. Every popular game franchise that started a trend can call out a clone. Unlike the days of MK and SF ripoffs where most ripoffs were pure unadulterated garbage alot of times clone makers get it right. The problem now days is genericness. Take a look at Survival Arts.

Words cannot describe how awful a fighting game it is, its a shameless Mortal Kombat ripoff, but it has some orginality to it. If anything when you play Survival Arts you will have fun at just how terrible the game itself is . Fortunatly sometimes modern developers who make clones get it right. Saints Row 2 is a perfect example.

So go back a year or so. GTA 4 hits the streets and its an instant classic. Gritty realism, a redone liberty city, and a dark noir story fitted with all the perversion we've come to expect from GTA. If you're like me you played through GTAIV and you enjoyed it, but you realized something was missing. GTA 4 is a marvelous game, but in my opinion they put realism before they put the thing that makes games games. Fun.  I had heard several people say that SR2 was an amazing game, but I was skeptical that it could be anything other than a GTA clone. How wrong I was. Saints Row 2 took the basic set up of all the GTA games, and made it better. Its essentially like if you took out all the lame stuff in GTA 4 and put in all the fun crazy stuff that you could do in San Andreas and MORE.  Saints Row 2 has the lowly bottom of the totem pole gang rising to rule the city story yes, but I dont think its really meant to be the true focus. Saints Row 2 lets you run the crime game setup your way. In fact the following sentence should tell you why its so awesome.

I set up my gang to dress in ninja garb and drive purple pimp cars around town.

The level of customization is awesome. You can buy several safe houses all over town and set each one up however you want it. You can customize your cars, (which respawn in your garage if destroyed), you can customize your gang , your appearance, the cars your gang drives, everything.  Missions are also all awesome. You know how in every GTA game the first few missions are always a re-enactment of Driving Ms. Daisy? Well in the first mission of Saints Row 2 you break out of jail, steal a boat, shoot down 3 helicopters and crash onto the mainland. If this were GTA 4 you'd be driving your mom to pick up groceries at this point in the game.  All the missions and sub-activities are all over the top nonsense , and I loved every minute of it. Sure there's no way any of that could really happen that way but it makes the game fun and that's whats important. Another great thing is the personality of your character (who is very deeply customizable). He's a true wise cracking butt kicker. At lot of times you'll find yourself laughing at the things he does to his enemies, as well as his one liners. You can also change his voice so on replays you can hear it all differently. Saints Row 2 really just has too much to list here. For any fan of the sandbox or crime game genres you must pick this one up. Its been out awhile so you can probably pick it up for 20 dollars or less anywhere where fine gaming appliances are sold.

Torentsu games, climbing in your windows snatchin' your games up since 1975

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Three classics you (may have) never played but should

In today's world of FPS wars , WOW and franchise saturation it can be most rewarding to take a look back at games of yesteryear. As mentioned I only got a 360 and became active in the current generation of consoles around 2009.  I did have a Wii from launch but sadly its usually only the first party games that interest me for that console. During this semingly endless drought did I just stop playing games? No you silly goose I was playing the classics!  Mortal Kombat , Donkey Kong Country , Mario, games you've never heard of , everything!  Today I  thought I'd name off a few games that are worth playing if you never tried them.

Dragon Saber -

If you're a fan of shoot'em ups (and not those scary Cave bullet curtain kind) I suggest looking into Namco's Dragon Saber. Dragon Saber is the direct sequel to a game called Dragon Spirit, which was alot of fun, but really just too hard to play.  The story is simple ( and it is told in most humorous Engrish). In the future humans have utterly boned the enviroment and all sorts of strange creatures now rule the world. Suddenly a floaty woman named Arlia gives two youths a saber that transforms them into dragons to take the fight to the enemy. Naturally they fly through 9 levels shooting down everything they see. This shooter is a top down shooter, and makes use of an air and groundfire function. I love shooters that do this because the ones that let you hit ground targets with your airfire always slightly urked me. I understand it was likely a technical limitation or something but it always bothered me. Anyway Dragon Saber , with 9 great levels , awesome music, and loads of original power ups is a great game for any shoot em up fan or a challenge seeker.

Daraku Tenshi The Fallen Angels-

After Street Fighter II revolutionized the fighting game genre there were a slew of fighting games to follow in its wake and try an compete. Some of these games like King of Fighters , Dan-Ku-Ga, and Mortal Kombat were all great, however some real stinkers came out. In this sea of fighters some sank and some floated, but some of them that sank didn't deserve to. Daraku Tenshi is an amazing fighter from the folks at Psikyo who are best known for the Gunbird series. In DT an earthquake has severed the city of Esaka Japan from the mainland and caused the city to fall into chaos. Ten years after the earthquake a crime boss known as Carlos rules the city. Everyone from a homeless martial artist to a transvestite bar singer have reason to take him down, so therein lies the game's backdrop. Featuring a dark ruined world and genetic modifcation subtones DT beats out all other fighting games of the time (In my own opinion of course). Sadly the game was never fully finished and lots of endings, character, and other features were cut before the final release. I myself run a forum, and wiki for this game. So google Daraku Tenshi forum if you're interested!

Kabuki Quantum Fighter

I don't remember how I came across this gem but I'm glad I did because its an original and challenging platformer for the NES.  In Kabuki quantum something is messing around with the world's nuclear weapons systems and the only way to stop it is to digitize a man and send him into the computer to fight the problem on the binary level. Naturally this means he has to run to the left (and sometimes to the right if he's lucky), and defeat a series of enemies and dodge all sorts of traps. The game gives you a new powerup after each level , and has you doing all sorts of tricky acrobatic manuevers to get across the levels. If you're into old school platformers this one is definitly worth your time. It falls in a bit short at only about 8 levels or so, but its pretty challenging and should keep you occupied for at least a few hours. The game does get harder in the last levels but its never unfair just challenging, which is a  rare combination to find in platforming games on the NES.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Castlevania and 3-D

So I was browsing Gamefaqs and I saw where the newest Castlevania entry is going to be hitting the stores in October. October has always been a great month for gaming. I remember last year in October I was waiting for Tekken 6 which came on somewhere around the 20th. 

There's alot of talk about this game finally doing Castlevania in 3D right. Well hold on a minute. I'll say it. The N64 Castlevanias were the best attempt at it thus far. I've heard all kinds of complaints about CV 64. Everything from poor graphics, to not enough enemies. While I will conceed that the camera can be a bit troublesome the game was very close to its 2D counterparts. Think about the old school Castlevania games. You walked from side to side opening doors, whipping enemies and dodging hazards. I found CV64's enemy placement to be spot on with the other games. Castlevania never really had you facing hordes of enemies at one time.  They even got the door opening cinemas right. Remember in the old game the door slapping open and you walking across it and seeing it slam shut again? The whole zoom to first person then show the door shut behind you thing was spot on.  We also need to think about the level design in CV64. Its a step by step, level by level romp through the castle. That's exactly what the old games were. Look at Castlevania Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. Each one of them had level structure yes , but they more or less just dumped you in an area from a hub or from the last level. Lament of Innocence had you doing the go to each world and beat the boss thing, and Curse of Darkness had one level that was Castlevania. The rest of the levels are pointless dungeon crawling and weapon forging. Now we all enjoy a game of SMT or Persona every now and then, but Castlevania and dungeon crawling are not two things that go well together (Unless you're using a web browser to crawl The Castlevania Dungeon oh ho ho ) .

Now don't think I'm downing IGA or his games. I enjoyed Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness, but they were both rather bland (COD being the most bland of the two).  For Castlevania to move foward Konami needs to realize they are never going to be able to capture perfectly the magic of Symphony of the Night. Making metroidvania after metroidvania with a REVOLUTIONARY NEW BATTLE SYSTEM NO REALLY ITS DIFFERENT LOL every time will not do it.  Lords of Shadow is a step in the right direction, despite it being KINDA like GOW the game itself is something different. Its not Metroidvania, its not a dungeon crawler, its a new form of Castlevania. I hope the game will re-establish Castlevania as a big name title. Since its a series reboot there is plenty of room for change since I'm sure there will be a sequel.  Look at Mass Effect. They started a series one way and the second game cut out alot of fluff and refined the core elements that made everyone love the first game. If Konami does this with Castlevania it will almost surely become a household game name again. Instead of just trying to recreate the feeling of SOTN they need to refine. Metroidvania's a good concept , it really is, but its also a bit dusty.

- Torentsu


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beginnings, and Mass Effect 1 and 2 .

For all 13 of the people who will ever read this I bid you welcome to Torentsu's game blog. You may remember me from my antics on youtube, and from my articles for Unseen64. Since its hard to make game reviews during the school season I decided to load up the ole Google account and use the Blogger feature.

A word about my gaming media.... Its not really that well themed. I'll talk about almost ANY game of ANY type at ANY TIME. If you don't believe me check out my youtube channel.

For example, today Im talking about Mass Effect, but tomorrow I could review some awful SNES game.
I'll admit it, I was a bit late to the current generation of gaming, and I only snagged an Xbox 360 around March of 2009. One game that I absolutly HAD to try once I updated was Mass Effect. I had heard alot about this game and how it had supposedly changed gaming , story telling , and the art of making bread, so I decided to mosey on down to the now defunct movie gallery and rent this bad boy. I wasn't disappointed. This was the first Bioware RPG I'd ever played and the dialouge options are really superb. Mass Effect to sum it up is a space soap opera about a military guy (who's background you decide) who finds out about an ancient race of aliens that will soon return to destroy the galaxy as they have done countless times. Mass Effect is planned as a trilogy so naturally the problem won't be solved in the first game, or even the semi new Mass Effect 2, which I have also just finished playing. As Commander Shepard (the previously mentioned military type (who's background you decide) who finds out about an ancient race of aliens that will soon return to destroy the galaxy as they have done countless times) you travel the galaxy searching for leads on a bad guy named Saren (who has become the agent of the evil alien machines known as the Reapers) . Apparently a staple in Bioware RPGS (This is the first one I've played) your characters reputation and personality are determined by you and the choices you make in dialouge. Lots of nice guy actions will open up more nice guy options to get you out of tricky situations, and likewise lots of mean actions will let you intimidate people into giving you what you want. Since Shepard is a Spectre (agents that can do anything they want as long as they get the job done) the dialouge system really lets you play the part. Being the loser goody two shoes that I am I played Mass Effect 1 and 2 the whole game through as a paragon soldier , but I did pick a few of the renegade choices every now and then, usually when it would make Shepard say something awesome. Most of the battle action is over the shoulder shooter stuff, but I like that. There's still LOTS of rpging micro management to do so never fret RPG fans....unless you want to play the second game.
Mass Effect 2 removed alot of the RPG elements (wonderful dialouge system made in back in though thankfully ) . It also revamped the HUD which was workable in ME1 but less modern, and they've also made it easier to heal teammates(who I thought died way too easily in the first game) . You're still going around the galaxy, but this time you must build a team to prepare for a suicide mission . I won't spoil much, but of course its possible to live or die during this mission when you finally get to it. The game plays alot more like a standard modern third person shooter. with elements of RPGs mixed in. Despite the heavy game engine changes you can import your character from ME1 to continue his story, and reap the consequences of your actions in the first game.
Like any game I play I must find SOMETHING to complain about. Both games have what I call sudden death syndrome. That is your character is likely to end up in situations (in most non wimp difficulties) where you drop dead from unknown enemies or reasons. In Mass Effect 1 this is especially frustrating because in order to facilitiate the text selection system you have to watch sometimes long cutscenes over and over again while trying to get past a frustrating part of the game. I recall a section in ME1 on the mission to rescue a kidnapped Asari scientist . After the rescue you must fight a Krogan which are the battlehardened near indestructable alien race of the game. the boss fight is conviently placed after :
1. Converstaion
2. A load time diguised as an elevator ride
3. More conversation
A simple autosave containing all the choices you made the previous time would have sufficed but instead you must watch it all again. Also annoying is the fact that the fight starts out with you wide open and facing two enemies. Eventually I found my way into cover and took out all but the Krogan. After my team mates sat there and let him kill them he decided to run and charge me (because one melee from him will devastate me however point blank shotgun/sniper rifle bullets will not stun at all ) . I activated my character's sprint and made it all the way across the room. , amazingly out of nowhere the Krogan followed me and ended the whole thing with a quick blow to the head. I turned around just in time to see his character model glide across the floor and kill me .WAY TO GO BIOWARE. Also Mass Effect 2's missions quickly fall into the go somewhere find a reason to kill everyone , repeat zone. While this is alot of fun it removes some of the depth the first game had. I recall a mission in ME1 where the whole first half of the mission could be done almost entirely through talking to the right people and saying the right things, ME2 pretty much has you going in knowing there's gonna be someone to shoot. These are both really nitpick things though and shouldn't hinder your enjoyment of the game (especially since the ability to swap difficulty after starting is there) . According to the developers they want more RPGness for ME3 so here's to hoping it'll be the perfect blend of ME1's RPG elements and ME2's focus on solid action combat.
Seriously though its a great game worth playing( they both are really) So try them out.


I'm commander Torentsu and this is my favorite RPG on the Xbox.