A few things recently have got me thinking about old game, I don’t mean PS2 games or PS1 games, I mean really old games. From those who read this I’d be interested to hear what’s your first game, but here’s a list of a few games that have been on my mind and why these random games hold any kind of significance.
The Chaos Engine (Amiga 1993)
This will be the only game on this list that I expect anyone to remember (Likely Danny O’ Dwyer). The closest comparison I can think of is Gauntlet, but if you watch a small part of the video you’ll quickly get the idea. Sadly the Bitmap brothers never released their GBA version as they announced but since we saw Speedball on the XBLA I hold hope that this series isn’t forgotten
Kennedy Approach (c64 1985)
A strange game for a 7 year old to be playing, but without the internet and IMs I barely knew my way around a keyboard. Kennedy Approach is a keyboard driven game where each plane needs to be called by typing its ID and giving it a direction and altitude, it’s all rather rudimentary but it sure did teach me a lot about ol’ QWERTY at a young age.
Kettle (c64 1987)
I’ve been playing a lot of OCremix tunes recently, some good tunes without lyrics do wonders for my concentration when I’m trying to work/write and there’s a lot of noisy distractions around. Kettle is one of the first games that I ever just stopped and listened to the music.
Atic Attack (Spectrum 1983)
Very popular back in its day, Atic Attack was made by the the same guys that founded Rare, back then they were known as Ultimate. One strange thing about this game is that every time I see that turkey I can hear Hugo Myatt saying “Careful team, your life force is draining”
Liberation: Captive II (Amiga 1994)
I wrote rather extensively about this back in March (http://www.gamespot.com/users/Elk/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25355260). Captive II was my young Oblivion, the game was huge and there was a whole lot to do for a tiny Amiga game. It’s sad that I can find nothing about the developers and the publisher is now doing games that have Noel Edmonds on the cover.
So congrats to you if you’ve played any of those games, you’re officially old.
Also I wanted to take a few moments to talk about my distain for Sonic Unleashed. Sonic Heroes was the last Sonic game that I played, I think actually own a copy that I’ve only played for 10 minutes, which is a little strange as I didn’t have a ‘bad’ experience. There’s a demo of Unleashed out there right now which is a glowing example of everything that’s good about the game, plain and pure Sonic running along. Now even this best part of Sonic has some pretty fundamental issues which I’ll get to later, but sometimes I wonder if they added some of this extra stuff just to kill the scores of the game. I didn’t play through the whole game so I’m not going to get into a lengthy review, instead I’m going to break it down into bullet points so it’s suitable for a future PowerPoint presentation.
5, Human’s don’t look right in a Sonic game: There’s plenty of creatures that have been discarded (Nack the Weasel anyone?) why can’t cities be full of other creatures rather than these cartoonish out of place humans in these middle areas?
4, The middle areas: Memory’s never been a strong point for me, but the central hub in Sonic Adventure worked pretty well, kind of like Mario Sunshine, however in Unleashed you have hubs set in may different areas that are rather a pain to navigate and it’s never very apparent where you need to be going.
3, The Werehog: Now although these sections are by far the weakest point of the game I do have to applaud Sonic team on trying something new, obviously their existing formula isn’t working out but Sonic games aren’t really about combat. For those who haven't tried Unleashed, the combat works God of War style but far slower and a whole lot less enjoyable…. Actually now I think back to Sonic team trying something new, I didn’t much care for the Knuckles levels in Adventure and the Tails levels were just horrible.
2, High Speed: Sonic is all about speed right? But speed shouldn’t mean constant trial and error to achieve anything because you only have a split second to react to any obstacles around you. If you want to give us this high level of speed then do us a favor and zoom out so we can see what’s coming. Yes I know Sonic looks very pretty in HD and you want to show him off but when we are “Rolling Around at the Speed of Sound” it’d be nice to see more than a few meters in front of us.
1, Artificial lengthening of the game play: One of my biggest pet peeves and perhaps the main reason I never finished the game. Unleashed requires you to collect so many Sun and Moon medals, to collect these you have to replay older missions and rely replaying some levels time and time again to find an item because you have to jump right at a certain point. Before playing Sonic Unleashed I’d just finished dealing with this same damn mechanic on Prince of Persia and that almost crossed the line and that game is FUN for the most part, the areas in Unleashed were bad the first time around, I don’t want to keep going back and playing them to find a damn item!
Back in the later 90’s there were a lot of platform games that simply copied Mario, I wish Sonic had taken this route 10 years ago and worked on a few 3D platforming fundamentals before things have gotten this far. Honestly I don’t think the feel of the Sonic controls have ever really felt right in 3D, there’s just too much emphasis on speed and not enough of tight and precise movement, like they are trying to run before they can walk.
Bottom line, Sega need to swallow their pride and ask Nintendo for some help, sure it won’t come cheap but there aren’t that many who know how to make a solid platformer these days, even Rayman seems to have given up.
Phew that was long, but I haven’t focused on gaming in my blog for as long as I can remember. Hopefully most of this makes sense, I usually allow myself time to read back through my blog posts and tighten them up but I’m feeling a mixture of laziness and tiredness, so you’ll have to make do with my disjointed rambling.