By lightwarrior179 5 Comments
Hello dudes and dudettes,
Sorry it took a while for this to come up. I had been suffering from something called a "blogger's block" which was mainly due to my lethargy and not because I had run out of ideas. Don't worry there are more bigger "write-ups" coming up soon..
As usual I am following a two-section blog for this one. The first comprising of the Mini Reviews section where I will be giving you a brief review (more of a final verdict) on some of the games whose full-fledged reviews I can't make myself right. (Not because these games are bad but simply because I just can't write a full review on them). The second section is an update to my gaming life.
Part 1 : Mini Reviews (Clearing Up the Pending Work)
Need For Speed Underground 2 (PC)
A generic racer that sticks too closely to the tried-and-tested formula and comes out to be anything but new.
Underground 2 pretty much sums up what I have always hated about the Need For Speed series in a single bland racing game. It tries to look flashy,tries to look cool,tries to make the gamers feel as if it's *insert a useless gameplay element* will be the selling point of the game and will revolutionise the genre. Far from revolutionising the genre Underground 2 often has problems focusing on what it actually should be doing. Racing. The racing when it does come down to it isn't half-bad but the lack of sense of speeds at even 300 Kmph really takes away the thrill of racing.
Underground 2 has different racing modes which test all the different abilities of a driver from drag races,to "sharp-cornered" street race,to a circuit race there is something for everyone. These racing modes do give certain amount of variation to the racing to an extent. Damage-Modeling is non-existant and your car will appear shining new after dozens of crashes. Damage has no effect on car's performance re-establishing Underground 2 as an arcade racer. However no arcady feel to racing since it lacks speed. It even has a GTA-like free-roam mode which is a burden since to participate in races you need to go from one corner of the city to other.
To distract you from visible flaws Underground 2 has a "duh" story told through Max Payne esque comic book $tyle Voice acting isn't bad and one must give credits to EA for the flashy graphics. However the game suffers from frame-rate issues to...so that's a negative point as well.
Underground 2 isn't a bad racer. But it often loses focus from what it should do courtesy to unnecessary cutscenes,even more unnecessary driving around the city. Even the racing is nothing special. Best avoided unless racing isn't your main priority in a racing game.
Score : 6.5/10
Street Fighter II Turbo (SNES)
Undoubtedly one of the most important and influential fighting game of it's era...SFII Turbo changed the way people began looking towards fighting games. This was really where fighting genre REALLY got mainstream. One of the things which made SFII such a delight to play through were it's tight control scheme and it's excellent combo-mix which was unique to every character.
Plus SFII had an amazing roster with cult favorites like Ryu,Ken,Guile,Chun-Li along with couple of others. The power-finishers were easy to execute and the fights were quick with good doses of strategy involved in them. The Story Mode was unique to every character and had an ending cutscene too another revolutionary aspect for fighting genre. This game also had an amazing amount of replay value and 2-player matches were challenging and enjoyable.
SFII was a game that left it's mark upon the genre and such a deep impression did it leave upon the genre's fans that it took quite a while for a game to surpass the legendary status of SFII.
Score : 8.5/10
WWF No Mercy (N64)
Wrestling games had little stand of their own against the much popular 3D fighting games until this game arrived on the N64. Boasting of new Rumble Pak and Multiplayer modes,No Mercy is a mammoth-equipped wrestling game on all fronts that teaches it's future successors of exactly which path to follow. Introduces a unique stamina/momentum based fighting rather than the "life-bar" and button mashing of the older ones. Wrestling includes a lot of strategy and it's oft better to balance between one's offense and defense so that one doesn't end up lying down on the mat.
The enemy AI is quite sharp and often reads some of your moves cleverly dodging them. There are couple of counters too which can be activated upon certain weak grapples. Different game modes further add up to the spice. Besides the customary Championship and Exhibition Matches there is a King of the Ring tournament, a Special Referee match,a Cage Match and the ultimate mayhem of Ladder Matches.There are issues with outdated graphics but that can be forgiven considering the worthy gameplay.The roster also is quite updated for it's time and the ability to create custom-superstars right from scratch like from filling their details,to their entrance,to their move-set everything about No Mercy is highly influential to the previously-uninspired wrestling genre.
Score : 8.0/10
Ninja Gaiden (NES)
The game which popularised the concept of speed-runs on the gaming front and introduced the cutscenes on the technical front has gotta be awesome. And it sure is. Ryu Hayabusa's first outing on the NES is a side-scrolling action/platformer. What makes this game such a thrill to master and play is it's insane amount of difficulty level. With only three continues and no extra lives available Ninja Gaiden becomes a tough mountain to scale if one sees the amount of enemies thrown at you and the kind of damage one hit of theirs can do to you.
Add to that some huge odds set up against you. Like in one of the levels in NGII, the blizzard changes it's direction once in a while so you need to be careful you time your runs and jumps otherwise you can end up with a Game Over. Another level is absolutely pitch dark other than the occassional lightning which illuminates only for couple of seconds the entire level. These not only make the game immensely challenging but completing them gives you huge satisfaction something even it's Xbox successor retains.
The boss battles deserve another mention since they are pretty much on a large scale itself. Not only are these bosses number of TIMES harder than the usual enemies but the circumstances in which you fight them along with the death penalty being to repeat the entire stage can be quite intimidating to some. Story of Ninja Gaiden is stylishly told through cutscenes and add some tense retro music and you have a well-flavored plot experience. Ninja Gaiden is an amazing experience in whichever perspective one looks it from.
Score : 8.5/10
Full Review of Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time or Terranigma coming next blog.
Section 2 : Gaming Life...
Firstly. Final Fantasy VIII. Completed. Thrilled to the death at the ending and just can't find words to describe the roller-coaster of emotions I have went through this epic game. Plus it's probably one of the very few JRPG's where I had an equal amount of fun with the gameplay as well as the story. That's right I completely dig the Junction System and Draw System complements that. The fact that the under-leveled characters can just kick the final boss's butt is something which the genre needed to learn a LONG time back. It TOTALLY removes the concept of level grinding.
To top that all up the game has some emotional crescendos...and holds the rare distinction of being the only entertainment stuff to have made me cry. Hell ya! It had that kind of effect on me. And to little surprise to all...I give Final Fantasy VIII a...
FFVIII Score : 10/10 (Would give it 11/10 if I could. It's not perfect...but HELL man it's MY KIND of game. A review will come when I feel like it)
Also....TWO THINGS NOW...
I got a.. BRAND NEW XBOX 360 (REPLACEMENT UNDER THE WARRANTY) Took less than a week.
AND............GOT THIS COUPLE OF HOURS AGO.....(drums)