Category: Games

Spider-Man Movie Suits

Sam Raimi’s Suit

The battle suit developed from the Sam Raimi’s trilogy of Spider-Man movies from 2002-2007. The suit covers nearly a quarter of Peter Parker’s life from high school to college, encountering formidable adversaries such as the Green Goblin, Sandman, Venom and Dr Octavious. Similar to the classic version except that Spider-Man is covered with web patterns around his suit. Gamers can unlock this suit after downloading patch 1.13 on PlayStation 4. In my opinion, it is first in rank because the suit has been heavily and aggressively tested in particular, the battle against Dr Octavious in Harlem, Manhattan, New York.

Iron Spider Suit

The second ranked suit crafted by Tony Stark, made its appearance in the Avengers Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home movies in 2019 respectively. Technologies and components from the Iron Man suit are equipped into the Iron Spider. Feared by the enemies once the four spontaneously grown Iron arms unleashed during battles.

The suit design is similar to the Advanced suit, covered with golden skeleton and a slightly small embroidered golden spider on the Web Head’s chest. The golden skeleton with maroon and navy colors gives the elegant look during web-swinging and battles. My thoughts that this is the second best because of Web Head’s most important role as a superhero to protect the Avengers from the Power Gauntlet during the immense final battle.

Wrestler Suit

Although is the least mentioned. The suit designed by Peter Parker himself in 2002 in order to enter into the wrestling competition to earn some cash, opens the door of ideas for other suit designs in future movies and games. Battle suit power is not at its finest, web throw enemies without even webbing them up, relative to other suit powers.

However, the red and blue outfit represents the genuine symbol of Spider-Man that true believers would prefer. In my opinion, the suit sits at third because it is the turning point of Peter Parker’s life in acquiring power and responsibility, an advice he hold firm on after his Uncle Ben’s death.

Far From Home (Upgraded) Suit

The suit represents Spider-Man: Far From Home movie and is unlocked after downloading the patch 1.16. Similar to the classic version where the black and red colour is used instead, designed by Tony Stark from the Homecoming movie and featured towards the final battle against Mysterio. The suit replicates exact features of the Iron Man suit in the movie and supported by the artificial intelligence E.D.I.T.H on supplying the weapons. However, no associate suit powers in the game itself.

My thoughts that this suit lies at fourth because the suit has a cool appearance outlook and capable to uncover deceptions from Mysterio. However, the suit plays less significant role in Web Head’s life yet and it’s still progressing perhaps in later years.


Setting Without a Plot

THE POSITIVES

The Multiplayer – You choose these competitive multiplayer options from the Crucible, which is the Guardian’s way of blowing off steam, I’d expect. Destiny’s multiplayer, as expected, is pretty seamless. The different game types are really well done, and offer varying experiences based on player preferences. I prefer 3v3 “Skirmish” game mode instead of 6v6 “Clash”, for example. I find it more tactical and less chaotic. Some players will prefer “Control”, in which you and your team capture territory. There are a lot of options here, and it shows that they’ve really put some thought into it.

My one complaint is that vehicles aren’t used as often as they should. The “Combined Arms” limited game type allowed increased use of heavy ammo and vehicles, but it only lasted for three days in September! I miss the days of old when you and your friends would load up on a warthog just to get blasted into the air by a rocket launcher.

The Multiplayer – You choose these competitive multiplayer options from the Crucible, which it the Guardian’s way of blowing off steam, I’d expect. Destiny’s multiplayer, as expected, is pretty seamless.

The Strikes – Strikes in Destiny are the equivalent of instances in most MMO’s. These are interesting, usually culminating in a fight with a horde of enemies at the end, then a boss is introduced, and finally you have to beat both the boss and the horde of enemies. It’s predictable, repetitive, and so much fun when you have mics. I played the Strike playlist enough to buy most of my armor pieces, but I found the most enjoyment in playing with my friends in a Fireteam. In these groups, we were able to communicate and enjoy one another’s company while trying to complete some scripted event. It was so much fun.

The Strikes are very limited. There aren’t many and you typically play the same ones you played in the single-player campaign, just at a higher setting. This was fun at first, but as you play the same strike over and over, it loses its glimmer.

I once did the same Martian strike three times in a row due to random bad luck. The worst part was that we’d get to the end, then someone would quit, then the other guy would quit, and then I’d be left alone until I also quit. Despite white-knuckled fury, I wasn’t able to beat it. I did eventually, but in those three times in a row I ended up physically hating the Cabal by the end of it.

Three-Man Teams – I remember trying to conquer a boss in Destiny with my friend and I. After we got swarmed by the Cabal for the last time, we gave up. Originally we decided to partner up to tackle him, because we wanted to record gameplay for YouTube. Eventually we were unable to progress and a bitter feeling took root in our perceptions of the game. This is one problem with a three-man team: once one member leaves, you’re down 33%.

I’ve noticed you depend too much on your team mates for Strikes. A person who leaves abandons two people to take on a whole mission on their own, an awkward partnership forged in hatred of the guy who left. Inevitably that partnership will dissolve and then you’ll be alone to quit. This is a huge problem, and there needs to be punishments for abandoning Strikes. So far there’s a reporting system, but you need to have the player’s information on screen in order to report them for leaving, and typically it’s too late by the time they’ve left.

THE PROBLEMS

The Story – This has been a big problem for me, since I absolutely loved the game’s setting but abhorred the lack of story. The game is amazing, and the developers have previously commented that it was inspired by “a candle in the darkness”. That idea echoes throughout the game, from all alien races posing a threat, to the imminent fear of the unknown.

The story parts of the game are the cutscenes with your playable character and either the ghost or other side characters.

Players have asked, “Why couldn’t we go to other systems?” Well, within the context of the story, it makes perfect sense. You can’t go to other systems, unless you want to be devoured by creatures in the darkness. The one source of light in the universe (presumably) is the Traveller, who died before the game began. His shell remains as a light source for the Guardians, who seek to defeat the forces of darkness that plague the universe.

Great story, right? Well, that’s actually just the setting. The actual plot of the game is nearly nonexistent. The story parts of the game are the cutscenes with your playable character and either the ghost or other side characters. These never go anywhere, instead furthering a plot that ends abruptly with a boss fight-based conclusion, which only caps the end of the game without ending the story. The actual story concludes with a scene reminiscent of the ending to Star Wars: A New Hope, but more enigmatic and pointless.

Yes, I know, expansions are coming so a conclusion would be premature. However, I expected some kind of narrative structure, some format where an introduction, body, and conclusion were present. Instead we get a setting without a plot, a story that was so interesting, so tantalizingly teasing, that went nowhere. What are the goals of the Queen and her brother? Where are the Vex going, and why? Are there more Travelers out there? We get few answers, and even fewer characters.

The Raids – There was only one Raid when I played: Vault of Glass. It was insanely hard and I could never beat it. Finding people to connect with in a Fireteam before trying to tackle it was also an effort in futility. Even when I would have a good team, we’d lose and eventually one guy would quit and, like the Strikes, we’d be unable to progress with just the two of us.

The gear dropped in the Raids are superior to what you’d find in a Strike. However, it was so hard to find anything and you got so little reward for your hard work that the costs didn’t match the benefit. I think I once got a Mote of Light, but beyond that I never got any good gear.

And explain to me how Bungie could design matchmaking for both the Crucible and Strike game types, but NOT the Raids? I’ve heard they’re fixing this (or have fixed it) but it should have been an option day-one.

I wish there had been more character development, more advancing of the plot, and more characters in general.


Fire Pro Wrestling Returns

There are no drastic changes to the core Fire Pro game play. It’s the same solid grappling system long time fans have grown accustomed to. Those who are new to Fire Pro will need to spend some time getting used to the timing. The fighting system punishes button mashers. I would advice newbies to set COM difficulty to 1 and work their way up to a harder level. This is one of those games where appreciation is only gained after learning the ins and outs.

The series’ trademark features are tight game play and a huge roster. FPR boasts a total of 327 real life competitors. To avoid copyright issues, everyone has been given a name modification. Vader is named “Saber”, Kenta Kobashi is “Keiji Togashi”, etc. Feel free to rename everyone accordingly. You also have the option of changing the attire for default characters. You don’t have to sacrifice one of your 500 edit(CAW) slots when your favorite wrestler changes gimmicks.

FPR’s all-star roster features wrestlers, boxers and mixed martial artists from around the world. Puroresu legends like Giant Baba, Satoru Sayama(original Tiger Mask) and Jushin “Thunder” Lyger are selecible. As always the default roster is dominated by Puro wrestlers. Some of the fighters well known to American wrestling/UFC fans include Bret Hart, Sting, Andre the Giant, Petey Williams, Mirco Cro Cop and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

A new addition to the series is a “corner to center” attack. When your opponent is knocked down in the middle of the ring, you can hunker down in the corner to set up a spear, super kick or a few other maneuvers. This adds a bit more drama and accuracy to matches that feature characters who set up these attacks a certain way. Because of this new feature, you can create an accurate Shawn Michaels or Bill Goldberg if you were inclined to do so.

A traditional steel cage match has finally been added. Players can use weapons like barbed wire bats, or the cage it’s self to inflict pain upon others. Other match types include S-1(boxing, punches only), Gruesome( a 12 sided UFC inspired cage) and the Electrified Barbed Wire Exploding Deathmatch. While the has Hell in a Cell, The Japanese hardcore wrestlers hurl each other on electrified boards covered in skin shredding barbed wired. It’s different, but fun none the less

Buzz worthy features include Ref edit, Belt Edit, and Ring/Logo Edit. There is a GM mode called “Match Maker”, but is it very limited. All you do is set up matches between fighters and get graded by the percentage of crowd reaction of the match. There strange special events that happen during match maker do very little to expand beyond it’s limitations. For some inconceivable reason, created wrestlers are barred from use in Match Maker.

Presentation is nothing special. Menus are serviceable, but accessing some features can be a chore at times FPR’s 2D graphics remind me of arcade games like Wrestlefest. Character sprites are not hi resolution, but they are large and detailed. Spike could have easily recycled graphics from Fire Pro Wrestling Z. They instead created new sprites and reanimated some pre existing moves. Some animations seem a bit robotic, but are pretty smooth.

I’m sad to say Spike has once again mapped the pick up weapons button to the run button. Want to get a fluorescent tube from the corner while playing in an exploding barbed wire match? Make sure you are close enough to said tubes. Otherwise you’ll go running into the barbed wire ropes, thus end up looking like a complete fool. It doesn’t ruin the game or anything, but such neglect of the R2 button has me dumbfounded. Overall that is one of my biggest gripes with FPR.


Dark Souls Game

We should get one thing straight immediately; you’re set to bite the dust a great deal in Dark Souls. You will perish by more diminutive adversaries, fair sized animals, tumbling off bluffs, falling through gaps, and by monstrous and effective bosses. Furthermore, if that wasn’t sufficient, you’ll kick the bucket by different players invading your game as red apparitions. Yes, there are individuals whose sole motivation behind playing this game is to attack an alternate player’s world and take them out. Notwithstanding, what Dark Souls does so well is that with every demise, there’s a lesson to be learned. You take in enemy patterns, alternate routes, boss strengths and weaknesses, and so on. When you gain experience from your defeats (and there will be a large number of them), soon you’ll end up adept and be able to overcome the severity of this brutal game. It will take persistence and an extraordinary amount of time, however it can be done. When you do indeed beat a boss, a specific dungeon, or your first red phantom, it conceivably is the most fulfilling gaming experience you’ll ever encounter. It’s that challenging, yet satisfying, in a sick and twisted manner.

As fierce as Dark Souls can be, its gigantic setting can likewise be overwhelming, yet lovely in a grotesque manner. Your lethal trip starts in a refuge of the undead; yet you’ll likewise trapse through lower woods, sumptuous strongholds, unforgiving buckles, volcanic badlands, and dismal depths to name a few. Indeed, now and then the settings could be as unsafe, if not more so than the adversaries themselves. Case in point: the Tomb of Giants may be the most unfair deathtrap in gaming, which genuinely isn’t even reasonable to the gamer. This tomb is totally dark, requiring some form of light, which you may or may not have. Other than being totally bleak, there are various zones where you can and will fall of a great precipice. Granted. you can surrender a weapon or shield to convey a lantern (if you can find it in this black tomb); or you can cast a light spell, if you’ve learned one. In either manner, you’re surrendering security for light that you urgently need. To add insult to injury, you’re set to be battling mega skeletons, oversized arrows being shot at you, Silver Knights, and satanic skeleton puppies as you attempt to survive this somber prison. Fundamentally, and consistent with various gaming threads, the Tomb of Giants ranks as everybody’s top choice as their least favorite setting within the Dark Soul’s universe.

An additional barbarous turn offered by the game’s developers is the trouble of being cursed. When you get cursed (which you will), your health bar cuts in half. Believe me when I say you need each millimeter of that beautiful red health bar as you possibly can. In the dreary depths zone, there are basilisks (irritating frog like animals) who blow a haze of death directly at you. The main way to recover is to locate the healer that is far away, or discover the merchant who holds the anecdote. It is very likely that you have a long adventure to make due on an abbreviated health bar, while dodging death at every turn.

Thus, when all goes south, where can you grab your wits? Actually, in this game, there is no place of solace to run. What you are given are bonfires which are deliberately set as far and wide as possible. These act as your checkpoints. Bonfires are the place the player can renew health, repair or fortify weapons, level up, or outright holler. Remember, once you’ve rested at a bonfire, everything you’ve defeated up to that point (with the exception of bosses) respawns, requiring you to survive each portion once more.

As noted, you’re set die frequently in Dark Souls. When you do thus, you become hollowed. This is both a gift and a condemnation. The gift is that you can’t be attacked by red apparitions while hollowed. The condemnation is that you can’t summon an alternate player’s help while hollowed. This is harsh as there are numerous times a where one’s assistance is a magnificent thing; particularly provided that you’re lucky enough to summon a powerful phantom who can help you in your adventures. There are some decent NPC’s that are accessible to help out, however they are in no way, shape, or form as helpful as a genuine player might be, who recognizes what they’re doing. In the event that you are hollowed, you can use a sprite, to become human once more. These, however, are rare and ought to be utilized sagaciously as they don’t come around frequently. Without a doubt, there are a couple of territories where humanities have a tendency to drop; the rats you’ll experience appear to drop them every now and then, so remember that when you end up in need of some.

As a combative RPG, battle is of the upmost importance. In Dark Souls, you’ll have your pick of techniques and fusions. The excellent nature of this game is that you can change these as frequently as you’d like (at bonfires) to suit the present situation you’re in. You can attempt to navigate a zone as a chain heavily clad brute; or you can try for a light and deft approach with ninja clothes. You can wield a titan hatchet or try for brisk jabs with a set of blades. You can use a talisman to wield enchantments, or you can run in blasting away with the pyromancy enhancement. While both enchantments and pyromancy can be convenient, its not the little trick you could use to thrashing through much of Demon’s Souls. Sorcery and pyromancy will help, yet they won’t permit you to cover up in a corner and take out a demonic boss with shoddy moves.


Just Dance Versus Dance Central

I personally prefer the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as I find the motion sensing via the Kinect and Kinect 2 sensor are far more superior to the other consoles motion sensing peripherals.

Aside from that, Dance Central and Just Dance have some differences but are similar in many ways. Just Dance is more suited to those wanting to just have fun. Dance Central is more suited to those wanting to learn how to dance.

Dance Central is developed by Harmonix, who previously created the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. Just Dance is created by Ubisoft which isn’t quite known for their music or rhythm games.

Dance Central has been claimed to be the best selling dance game series so far. Dance Central was also one of the launch titles when the Kinect sensor first came out (previously called Project Natal when in development).

Just Dance has a pretty big following as well, with the first few games only being released for the Wii (later released as Greatest hits on other consoles). Just Dance is available on all current and last generation consoles. Just Dance has even released games for the PS4 and Xbox One (so far dance central has been shelved and is not in development for current systems).

Dance Central is more realistic and has more variable difficulty. Songs in Dance Central are graded from 1 to 5 stars based on difficulty. You can also choose individual difficulty for each song as well, ranging from beginner to hard. As you progress through the lower difficulty moves you can move onto the harder difficulties to try it out.

As the difficulty for the song is increased (by the player’s choice), the moves become more difficult and faster paced. They also build upon previous difficulties dance moves, with hard difficulty incorporating moves from easy and medium with new added moves. One minor drawback to Dance Central is that the dance moves don’t always flow as much as they do in Just Dance which I find to be a minor setback.

There is also a practice mode In Dance Central you can use to practice moves of a particular song. You can slow down the song, practice certain parts practice the whole song in practice mode.

Just Dance on the other hand doesn’t have any practice mode. Most of the songs have normal or hard difficulty and most songs are typically faster paced (more of a workout if that’s what you are looking for). Just Dance has flashcards for the upcoming dance moves scrolled across the bottom (going right to left) as you dance to the choreographed dance of the onscreen character to the song you chose.

Dance Central uses a similar system but has flashcards with the names of the dance moves, scrolled from bottom to top on the right or left side as you follow the on screen dancer/character dance to the song.

Just Dance allows you to unlock songs using mojo points (and in Just Dance 2014 Xbox Live points, Wii points/ PSN points) to unlock new/alternate dance routines for songs, mashups and battles. You can also download new songs via points or money (depending on system you are playing on).

In Dance Central you have the option of importing songs from previous dance central titles as well as new songs via DLC with points or money. With this you can create quite a large library of songs on one game with up to 100-200 songs on one game. With Just Dance you typically have to change game discs to get more songs or play different songs.


Xcom Enemy Within

Xcom Enemy Within is the first major expansion for Xcom Enemy Unknown, containing new gameplay additions and modifications, such as MEC Troopers, genetic modified enemy, a new enemy to fight (EXALT), as well as new alien types and council missions. Xcom Enemy Within also includes a lot more new maps, with older maps modified slightly to adhere to the new MELD game play mechanic, as well as additional multiplayer maps and brand new second wave options.

The additional game play mechanics does a fine job of being implemented, without altering the core aspects of the game. You will have to make a choice whether the MELD containers are worth the risk of your troops, and how you will spend the MELD you do gather. Do you create MEC Troopers, genetic soldiers, or a mix of both? It is up to you!

MELD

MELD is a new alien device feature on maps that apply to genetic modifications of soldiers, or creating MEC Troopers and their MEC suits. On the map there will be 2 sources of MELD, which must be reached by a soldier and then activated before the timer on it goes off, dealing damage to any nearby units. MELD is not an infinite source, as any missed opportunities will not be present if you visit the same map again. You can gather some MELD from destroying Mectoids and I believe Elite Floaters as well, but the gains is small compared to the MELD containers on the map. The MELD gives you a choice of risk versus reward, and it plays out very well. One MELD container will generally be close to your units, and the other one in a more remote location away from your units, begging the question of whether it is worth risking the life of your soldiers.

MEC Troopers

MEC Troopers are a unique addition to the game, allowing a more strategic options of heavier firepower, at the cost of permanently making a selected soldier a MEC Trooper. Any volunteer for the MEC Trooper program will have their limbs amputated and replaced with cybernetic limbs, which will allow them to operate the new MEC Suits. However, any MEC Trooper will never be allowed to use conventional weaponry, nor his human skill set again, and will be forever be a part of the MEC Suits, and will sport a more robotic voice. This sacrifice gives them access to the very powerful MEC Suits, allowing them to use heavy weaponry, such as mini-guns, rail cannons, particle cannons, grenade launchers, and so forth. There is three tier upgrades to the suits, which you will pick one option between each one. Do you pick a flamethrower or the Kinetic Strike Module, as you cannot have both and operates similar to regular human skill sets. They will also retain their stats prior to augmentation, so its best to reserve them for higher ranked soldiers.

Their original class prior to becoming a MEC Trooper also gives them a passive buff, and they will level up and gain new skill sets for the MEC trooper as they get promoted. They are great when you need to bring in the heavy firepower, especially against Mectoids and Sectopods, and other strong firepower units. You can also set them up for a support role, using restorative mist, and becoming a shield for other units, so the options are up to you!

Genetic Modifications

Genetically modifying your soldiers with MELD opens up brand new strategic options to your soldiers. As you perform autopsies on the aliens, you will discover new modification options for the soldiers. There is 5 different sections that your soldier can undergo surgery for. Brain, Chest, Eyes, Legs, and Skin are the options available for modification as you discover new options. These options offer interesting game play choices, such as higher leg strength to jump onto buildings, Bio-electric skin allowing you to sense near by enemies without alerting them, and making yourself immune to strangulation (Seeker attack). You can even give his/her brain neural feedback, which will cause psi attacks against them to be repelled back to the attacker, causing a great deal of damage, and putting all their psi attacks on cooldown. So as you can see, you can great some interesting genetic soldiers, and they will change in appearance as well, because their arms will be more exposed in their armor. As with MEC Troopers, they will be out of action for a time (usually 3 days), except if you have a soldier with multiple surgeries prepped for him, then it will be 3 days for each surgery, and will be out of action until being released.

EXALT

Exalt is a new enemy organization you will battle in Xcom Enemy Within. They are a terrorist organization designed to hinder and take down the Xcom organization, and are alien sympathizers, and will do whatever it takes to slow down the project. EXALT operates via cells in the world, and this opens up a new Covert Operations menu in the situation room. For a fee you can scan and locate EXALT cells, and send an operative inside to disrupt their work. Covert Op soldiers can only use a pistol and an item, and wear no armor, and when the time comes for an extraction, you must send in a squad to take down the cell and extract the operative, or he/she will be lost. Weaponry obtained from Exalt can also be used by your own units, and have the same base stats as XCOM created gear of the same type. For each operation completed against EXALT, you will gain new information about their base of operations and where it might be located. You can accuse a country of harboring them at any time, but making a false accusation will make country leave the project and add another mark to the Doom Tracker, so choose wisely! If you choose correctly you can launch an assault on their base of operations, and if successful, take them out of the fight entirely!

There is 2 types of extraction missions. One involves protecting the data in a “king of the Hill” style game player, where you must protect a square area with the computer inside from EXALT from hacking it and locating the other transmitters. The other mission your covert operative must hack two EXALT Comm Arrays and then proceed by getting the operative to the Skyranger Extraction Point.

New Aliens

XCOM enemy Within also includes two new aliens to battle, the Mechtoid, and the seeker. The Mechtoid is a Sectoid inside of a large bi-pedal mech similar to the MEC Trooper suits, and just as dangerous. They can even receive mind merges from other sectoids, giving them a shield above their normal hit points.

The Seeker is a squid-like floating enemy which can stealth and go invisible, and will then seek out lone units in order to strangle them. They will reappear and strangle their target, slowly killing them and making them unable to act while in the act, although there is genetic modifications and items that help against strangulation. They prefer “hit and run” tactics and will generally strike when you least expect it.

Other additions

In addition to a base defense mission, and including Project Progeny (which was originally a scrapped DLC, but redone and included in Enemy Within), there is additional Second Wave options (options that can drastically change the game in a number of ways), changes in certain skills and level ups, and much more. New items has been added, such as brand new grenades, and brand new foundry changes, which works with the new MEC trooper additions.


First Great Console War

The video game industry isn’t quite as dangerous as the Normandy landings, but with a finite number of potential buyers wielding a finite amount of money to spend, console manufacturers will do what they need to do to sell their product to the masses. When Pong was first released in a home version it had to duke it out with a slew of knock offs for market supremacy. Later came the Atari 2600 which dominated sales against largely forgotten systems like ColecoVision. After the North American video game crash of ’83 it looked like console gaming was done for in the States, but Nintendo and SEGA were about to enter the fray, and console gaming would be changed forever.

Nintendo were a card game company that had seen the interest in board games and card games decline since the arrival of arcades, and like any good company that sees the market they’re in shift, they adapted. Moving into arcade gaming and toys, Nintendo found some measure of success with their new ventures, and the next logical step was to move in on the home video game market. Atari were the big name in gaming but the crash of ’83 had decimated the company, leaving the industry wide open for a new challenger to take over. In 1983 Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan, and after a successful run in their home country, made plans to go international. In ’85, the Famicom (as it had become known) was rebranded as the Nintendo Entertainment System and launched globally.

Meanwhile, SEGA were primarily known for making coin operated arcade machines, but they made an attempt at cashing in on the home console market too. Their SG-1000 console actually launched at the same time as the NES, but due in part to the aforementioned industry crash in North America, the lack of games available for the system, and the fact that their machine was underpowered in comparison to the Nintendo console, the SG-1000 never really found any footing. These days, the SG-1000 is largely forgotten about, remaining little but a footnote in the pages of video game history.

While the SG-1000 failed to make much of a splash, the success of the NES proved that console gaming could be a viable way to make money, and SEGA still wanted a piece of that pie. The SEGA Master System was launched in 1987 to directly compete with the NES for market share. Technically, the machine was more powerful than the Nintendo console, but with the NES having already been on the market for a few years, the Master System struggled. Gamers already had the NES, and trying to convince them to switch to a new system would be hard work; a problem made even harder because third party publishers were largely afraid to take a risk by releasing games on the system for fear of repercussions from Nintendo, and so the number of games available was limited in comparison to the NES.

The Master System didn’t come close to overtaking the NES as the number one gaming console, and so SEGA, still wanting to control the video game industry, decided to change their strategy. How do you convince people to switch to your console when they already have one that’s basically the same? You don’t. You make a better console, and then there’s no debate. And so that’s what SEGA did. In 1989 SEGA released the Mega Drive (named Genesis in the United States), a 16-bit home video game console that was so far ahead of the NES in terms of hardware power that it amounted to the next generation of gaming. In order to capitalise on the generational leap that their new console had made, SEGA decided to take the fight to Nintendo in marketing too, with the now infamous slogan, “Genesis does what Nintendon’t”. And with that, the first great console war had truly begun.

SEGA’s aggressive marketing of the Genesis was something that rubbed off on gamers. Kids would pick up the latest magazines, see the marketing mocking the NES and championing the Genesis as the future, and adopt it for themselves. Unlike any of the previous skirmishes between console manufacturers, the battle between SEGA and Nintendo drew gamers in and effectively put them on the front lines. Being at school in the late eighties meant that you were either a SEGA kid or a Nintendo kid, and you fought for your console regardless of whether you were in the right or in the wrong.

Thinking about it now, it never really made any sense, although you can still see that mentality today if you spend five minutes trawling gaming forums on the Internet and looking at some of the ridiculous things that PlayStation and Xbox fans say to each other. Anybody with their head screwed on properly can see that these companies are all essentially the same; they want your money. And while some might go about it in better ways than others, that fact never really changes. A lot of people talk about Nintendo like their HQ is a sort of gaming Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; happy minions spending hours crafting games and the only payment they’ll ever need is a child’s smile. Life simply isn’t like that, and like most wars there’s rarely a clear cut “good guy”.

That being said, SEGA’s marketing strategy did seem overly sassy, even at the time. And I was originally a SEGA kid. While the insults might look tame today, at the time it was quite shocking to see a company not only address their competition by name, but publicly call them out. To their credit, it worked, and sales of the SEGA Genesis started very strongly, particularly in Western Europe where the Mega Drive, as it was called there, was a bona fide smash hit.

Nintendo were astonishingly slow to reply. They didn’t even announce their Super Nintendo Entertainment System until 1989, and it wasn’t released until the end of 1990 in Japan. It was released a year later in the States, and a further year later in Europe. This meant that SEGA had a relatively long time to get their claws into the market, and they also had time to prepare for the arrival of a new Nintendo console.

SEGA decided that they needed a mascot to rival that of Mario for Nintendo. They’d tried to make Alex Kidd a thing and bundling Alex Kidd In Miracle World in with the Master System was a clever move, but Mr. Kidd had never really taken off like Mario had. Now, with a brand new Nintendo console hitting the streets, SEGA needed their own mascot. What they came up with was Sonic the Hedgehog. He was bright, colourful, fast, cool and he had attitude to spare. In many ways, his creation summed up what SEGA were about at the time. The Genesis was seen as the cool, exciting new console while the NES was seen as a toy for children. The Genesis was taking games to the next level. Except when the SNES was released, the Genesis was instantly outdated. And that was a massive problem for SEGA.

The Genesis continued to sell well even after the launch of the SNES, but with the Super Nintendo being noticeably more powerful than the Genesis, they’d lost their ultimate bargaining chip. The Genesis was no longer the future. It was no longer the exciting console that laughed in the face of the competition. It was outgunned. And handsomely so.

To their credit, SEGA were at least quick to react in that they changed their marketing slogan to “Welcome to the next level” almost immediately after the SNES arrived, as though not wanting to leave themselves open to attack when people realised that “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” only works when the Nintendo console is weak. But it wasn’t power that was SEGA’s biggest problem. It was games.

Every Nintendo console, whatever you think of it, has had great games. The Wii U is a colossal failure for the company right now, but Mario Kart 8, the latest Smash Bros. and Super Mario 3D World are all stellar games. What is true now was true back then, only tenfold. The SNES has one of the greatest libraries of games ever amassed, and while the Genesis was quick out of the blocks and it made an impact, it simply couldn’t compete in terms of the quality of games.

The Super Nintendo had the likes of Mario RPG and Mario Kart. It had stacks of quality Japanese role playing games, with the likes of Final Fantasy VI still being talked about today as one of the best of all time. There was Zelda and Donkey Kong and Starfox. Even the likes of Street Fighter II, which could also be played on Genesis, was considered to be at home on the SNES thanks to the vastly superior controller on the Nintendo console. But nothing highlights why Nintendo are still in the game and why SEGA are now out of hardware more readily than the comparison between their flagship games.

Sonic The Hedgehog was created as a cooler alternative to Mario, but for all the attitude and all the speed, the games simply didn’t resonate with people in the same way that titles starring Mario did. Even today one can play Super Mario World and appreciate the impeccable game design that still holds up in 2016. Playing Sonic The Hedgehog today, unless you have the benefit of nostalgia, is not remotely as pleasant an experience.

As more and more quality games released for the SNES, sales grew, and Nintendo were gaining on SEGA. By the time the console generation wound up, the SNES had caught and overtaken the Genesis, with the Nintendo console sitting at around 49 million units sold, and the SEGA system being on just under 31 million.

SEGA made Nintendo sweat, but ultimately, they were bested by a stronger system with a better library of games. If SEGA could have capitalised on the strides they made in this generation and improved with their next console then perhaps they’d still be a major player today. Unfortunately, a series of catastrophic errors of judgement meant that their next two consoles failed. The SEGA Saturn was given a surprise release that caught everybody off guard meaning there were no games for the system at launch. After the failure of the Dreamcast, SEGA couldn’t stomach the financial hits any longer and decided to concentrate on software only. Today they’re mostly known for releasing increasingly terrible Sonic the Hedgehog games. And most of them are on Nintendo consoles.

As for Nintendo, their triumph was short lived. After going back on a deal with Sony to make a CD compatible version of the SNES at the last minute, an annoyed Sony used what they’d researched to develop their own console and enter the war in the mid-nineties. The Sony PlayStation laid waste to the Nintendo 64 in sales, and the PlayStation 2 went on to be the best selling home console of all time. Today, the PlayStation 4 battles the Microsoft Xbox One in the current console war while Nintendo are largely considered a quaint relic of a bygone era, outclassed and outsold by more forward thinking competitors.


Titanfall for Xbox

Leaving the Military Game

Don’t get me wrong, Call of Duty and Battlefield are great games. I’ve enjoyed many years of service with those games. When I started playing Titanfall to write a Titanfall review, however, I remembered the good old days with extreme physics, crazy weapons, and cool, futuristic battlegrounds. For so long I had been confined to a military-based games with weapons based on real weapons, battlegrounds straight from Iraq or eastern Europe, and actual physics. As soon as I started I started jumping high and throwing grenades 100 yards, I thought to myself, “Oh yeah, video games don’t have to be real. They’re actually really great when I can do things that I can’t do in the real world.

Weapons, Weapons, Weapons

Once you break out of the military standard for a arena-based shooter, I found when play for the purpose of writing a Titanfall review, I loved the machines and the weapons you get to play with. Just having a larger gun and big mechanical suits that the game makers balance very well. Having a Titan load and dropping down into the battle is great fun and flows seamlessly during gameplay.

Nothing’s Perfect

There are a few things that Titanfall doesn’t have that were large reasons why I enjoy some other games like Call of Duty or Battlefield like branching objectives, evolving maps or destructible scenery. The game play is great and fluid but even a few more maps would have been nice.

Overall, however, Titanfall was a joy to play. It made me step back and appreciate a first-person shooter that wasn’t based in my reality. I got to play in a new, although not interactive, maps and pilot large machines that flowed nicely from player-to-machine gameplay. All-in-all, Titanfall is a must have for any fan of arena-based gaming. What it may lack in features like interactive maps, game modes, and objectives it makes up for in shear fun and entertainment.


About Gauntlet

Menu is quite simple, for the first time you play the game it helps you jump in tutorial directly and it teaches you about basics and heroes. There are 4 heroes, the Warrior Thor, the Elf Questor, the Wizard Merlin and the Valkyrie Thyra. All heroes have 4 abilities, left click for regular attack, right click for heavy attack, shift for a fast movement ability and space for main skill. Right click is pretty useful for all heroes, it needs time to focus but it one shots most of the time. You can spam shift ability to dodge attacks or jump in the middle of the action, it is up to you how to use this fast movement skill. Space is the best skill and we need to wait to use it again. Yes, cooldown thing!

Warrior dishes out a good amount of damage but I can’t say he is defensive, you just need to swing your axe carefully. While you focus and attack some enemies, other enemies may hit you from other sides damaging you heavily and breaking your combo chain. Whirlwind (space) ability helps a lot. Rush (shift) is good to get out of trouble or break enemy lines before attacking them.

Elf is an archer with a nice snipe skill (right click). He is very fragile so you need to use your Dash ability (shift) carefully, you can spam it but be noted that you can be attacked while you are dashing as well. Throwing bomb (space) is good to damage lots of enemies once.

Valkyrie is a strong defensive hero, she can raise her shield to avoid serious damage, she can damage several enemies throwing her shield, she is very fast. If you find it hard to play with other heroes I definitely suggest you to play with Valkyrie. she is definitely the best for beginners.

Wizard is the hardest to play among all these heroes, I could not even figure it out, you just press some buttons to change your skill set and then you use them. Wizard has more skills than other heroes but he is harder to control, you need to combine your skills carefully.

There are 5 levels and different difficulties, you are awarded if you play harder difficulties. You get more gold and you get better looking items! I played at normal difficulty and this was just for me. Of course I tried hard difficulty but it is a bit ehmm… hard…


Space Rangers

Hybrid theory

But before I get caught up in my own drinking anecdotes, terribly amusing though they may be, I’d better get on with it. I am after all in the business of assigning words and eventually numbers to subjective experiences such as this particular piece of entertainment, and it’s not often that I get to rant about a game quite like this one. You know all those times you imagined yourself as a game designer, thinking “why doesn’t anyone combine many genres into one immersive, omnipotent package?”

Well, mostly because games of this type tend to become awfully bland, because none of the elements really work. Rockstar might have achieved something like it with their GTA franchise, but even though that may be free-form gaming at its finest, GTA is not nearly as much of a hybrid experience as Space Rangers way back then. It’s like the design philosophy of the Russian guys at Elemental Games involved ignoring all the warning signs, and then happily driving right off the old cliff. You’d think this would result in an awful lot of crashing and burning, but it really doesn’t. Space Rangers is a charming, deep game, and what it doesn’t do right, it makes up for in sheer charisma.

Choose your destiny

Right, that’s an awful lot of words without even scratching the surface of the game itself. I hope you’re with me thus far, but Space Rangers really is the kind of game that you just cannot describe within a few paragraphs. Conversely, it’s also the kind of game that you can spoil by writing too much, so I’m walking a fine line here.

You see, like Elite, this is a game of owning your own space ship, and taking it for a spin round the Galaxy, in search of fame, fortune and sheer adventure. You play as a so-called space ranger, who travels among the stars. The setting has five different races, and you can choose to play as either one of them at the onset of your career. It’s up to you to maintain good relations with the different factions, and you can do so by performing missions for the local governments, by being a peaceful trader, or by defending transports against evil space pirates.

But those are only a few of the choices available to you. As a space ranger, you’re part of a force that keeps the Galaxy safe, but it’s entirely up to you how you want to do it. You can even ditch your responsibilities and make a fortune trading drugs, alcohol and weaponry, or you can play as a marauder, attacking innocent ships and stealing their money, or simply blast them to bits and sell… well, the bits.

You can’t take the sky from me

As a rookie space ranger, you will take of from your home planet, which was Earth in my case, since I played as a human. The game is turn-based, with each turn taking one day, and this is the first thing you learn once you take off. You can choose a few helpful tutorial missions, or you can dive headfirst into the universe, in search of fame, money and adventure. But you’re likely to get overwhelmed at first, because of the wealth of destinations available to you.

Each of the numerous star systems on your map has several planets, and most of them are usually colonised. Every planet has a government that you can talk to and get jobs from, a trading station, a shop with parts for your ship, a galactic information centre that gives you news about interesting events from all over the place, and a hangar where you can refuel your ship and repair any damage to the hull. Usually, once you touch down on a planet, you will check the trade centre and see if the current prices are higher than what you paid for your goods. There are hefty profits to be made from trading, and you should always carry something to sell.

The information centre will sometimes tell you where goods are needed, and you can then go there and make a bundle. Some races ban different substances such as drugs or weapons, so selling these commodities can make you a wanted criminal in different systems, but a wealthy hero in others. It’s all up to your sense of morality, and your need for cash. The Galaxy is a hard place to survive in, and everyone must do whatever it takes to make a living. In this regard, Space Rangers bears an uncanny resemblance to the TV series Firefly, if anyone is familiar with it.

Set phasers to maximum

But trading is not everything; you will need to get jobs from the various governments to make money and gain experience and ranking. Experience can be used to improve any of your six ranger skills, which range from leadership to skill in battle, and your ranger ranking signifies how well you stack up to the fifty or so other rangers that roam the Galaxy. The jobs can be anything from simple fetch and deliver quests to escorting ships, and fighting 3D real-time strategy battles using different robots that you can construct in the game’s simple, but functional ground battle engine.

It’s not the next Command & Conquer, that’s for sure, but for a minor part of the game, it’s surprisingly well done, and it looks the part too. You can even take control of one of your robots and fire its weapons yourself. The strategy is limited to building lots of robots and then assaulting the enemy more or less head-on, but frankly, that’s more or less what every RTS is about in my mind anyway. I don’t like the genre in general, but the sweet thing here is that it’s only one of many possible activities, and that it’s entirely optional if you want to play it or not.

And if this wasn’t enough, some jobs require you to complete planet-based text adventures, which can be fairly extensive, and are certainly fun, if you can decipher the poor spelling and grammar which plague the game a bit. But have a look inside the manual. Here, it’s explained that the game uses “Future-Speak,” because English from a thousand years in the future sounds a bit odd to us now. It’s the lamest excuse I ever heard. It’s also the most charming one.

When you’re not trading, doing jobs, or looking for good floating in space, you can choose to pick fights with anyone you don’t like, such as pirates. Fighting is also a turn-based affair, where you select your weapons and your enemy, and then go at it. You can speak with any ships in the vicinity and request help. And help you’ll need, because taking other ships down on your own is quite hard, especially in the beginning of the game. They also have a nasty tendency to land on planets and repair themselves, just when you thought you had won. What happened to old-fashioned duels to the death?

We are the Borg… Err… Dominators

Okay, let’s rewind time a bit. I had just left Earth as a rookie ranger, I had learned the ropes, made some money and my ship now had some decent equipment and weaponry. I’d been in a few skirmishes and lived to tell the tale, I’d seen planetary battle and I’d even ventured into a black hole and seen the Beyond. In short, I felt pretty good about myself and my abilities. I knew that the high-tech cyborg Dominator race was on the loose in the Galaxy, and that is was my job as a Ranger to stop them from assimilating everything. So I ventured to a Dominator system to see what I could do. To my surprise, I found that I could do absolutely nothing. After two days, the Dominator ships had reduced my vessel to space dust, and my life was over. From beyond the grave, I felt awfully unheroic.

See, this is my only real gripe with Space Rangers, it’s not fair. Sometimes it just turns on you and kills you. The odds can be stacked against you in ways that will make you tear your hair out, such as when you’re running close to a deadline on a really sweet delivery deal and the Dominators suddenly invade the system you need to jump through to get to your destination, or when some pirate and his friends show up and demand all of your money or he will blow you away.

But speaking of the Dominators, they’re what the game is really about. We’re talking a race of cybernetic organisms that are hell-bent on taking over the entire Galaxy. And you can’t stop them alone. Apart from the different planets, you also come across different space bases, that offer various means of help against your enemies. On some bases you can do research on the Dominators, and on others you can acquire modules for taking them down. And lots of other things. Lots and lots of other things.

By now, It’s becoming apparent that no matter how many words I use, I cannot describe this game fully, and yet in essence, it really is so simple. Just you and your ship going around the Galaxy doing whatever pleases you. There is no need to go into detail with the 15 types of weapons, the unknown ships, the black holes, the 250+ planets across 60+ star systems, the way the AI ships communicate among themselves, the research probes for unexplored planets, the asteroids, the special equipment, the joint assaults and the way the world is persistent in such away that you can follow specific ships all the way across the Galaxy and monitor their individual actions. No, you should explore it all for yourself. That’s what this is all about.

Oldschool presentation

Apart from the quite nicely rendered (and poorly voiced) introductory CGI sequence and the 3D planetary battles, this is 2D goodness all the way. But in spite of its oldschool sensibilities, Space Rangers both looks and sounds remarkably good.in a very nice retro way. All the 2D sprites are expertly done, and the galactic background looks quite astonishing.

As you move, planets revolve around the suns, other ships fly back and forth, and meteor showers and asteroids flourish. The sprites move in different planes from the background, in the fashion I believe was once referred to as parallax. But no matter what the word is, it looks surprisingly much better in action than it does on sceenshots. Planetary 2D graphics are also well done, and remind me of Master of Orion II and Galactic Civilizations, which is not a bad thing, actually.

And as for the music, I’m pretty much in heaven… we get synthesised music that bring the Amiga days to mind – catchy little tunes with that rare musical flair that games such as Lotus II and Turrican II had. There’s not that much of it, mind, and my opinion is definitely biased by nostalgia, but it does fit the game very well indeed. Sound effects, although a little sparse, do their job, and luckily, the only voice-over I heard was found in the intro. As a whole, the game comes across as a very cohesive and fresh package, in spite of the many retro elements and genres involved.

There are problems, though. The interface can get awfully clunky at times, and locating your enemies in relation to your own position gets a little fiddly. Furthermore, every time you wish to jump from a system, you have to watch many days pass before you get to the jump point on the outskirts of the system. I can see why this must be so, because what if something happened on the way to the jump point? But still, it gets a little old.

Battle is also a little cumbersome, and often takes an awful amount of turns. You can set your ship to auto-battle, but this doesn’t always work. The first time I tried, my ship actually flew into the sun and burned up. I was not impressed. And lastly, the balance does get a little odd, and you can die very suddenly if you’re not aware of what’s happening. And sometimes you won’t be. The game’s manual is very thin, and although there is an extensive in-game manual, that too doesn’t seem to explain everything in detail. A bit like this review. Only much more so.

But if you’re ready to forgive a somewhat steep learning curve and some curious mutilations of the English language (for instance, when you’re quitting, the prompt asks you if you care to “Finish the game?” But yeah, I guess I do want to finish the game at some point… ), this game has a lot to offer. It’s a huge space-based sandbox with a lot of charm, you can pick it up fairly cheap, and it will last for ages. What’s not to like?

Oh, and just to clarify one thing: the release we get over here is actually Space Rangers 2: Dominators. The package also contains the original in its entirety. It’s basically a simpler version of this, and you get to battle a race known as the Klissans. But it’s added value to an already hugely valuable package. It might not be for everyone, but if anything in this review has piqued your interest, go pick it up. It really is quite refreshing to see something like this in a world of fast-paced fancy shooters with huge hardware demands and indecipherable online RPGs. And furthermore, it runs well even on low-end systems.