By Video_Game_King 6 Comments
A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda
(....Just curious, but is this a Humble Indie Bundle game?) I mean, yea, I have it on Desura and everything, but I I also have The Oil Blue on there, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't a Humble Indie Bundle game. Let me check...Wait, this isn't a Humble Indie Bundle game? Then how in the fucking hell did I get it? It's not on this list, so does that mean I'm the world's lamest black-out drunk? Or did the universe decide that I deserve an awesome game like this? (I'm leaning more toward the first.)
So what's this game about? Who the fuck cares? It's the future and people are doing future things. Suddenly, things go wrong as sentient fart beings take over a space station and capture hostages or something and holy hell, it's obvious how little I care about the story, isn't it? Then why am I going into detail about it at all? Well, because the game puts a lot of work into it. Here's the intro cutscene followed by a statement explaining why that's relevant: there are quite a few scenes like that throughout the game. Hell, I'm pretty sure there's only one level in the entire game without one of these scenes. Yes, it looks pretty damn cool, but to what end? It's like the video I'm gonna put between this game and whatever obscure Genesis game I've stumbled across this week. (Yes, I will have went there.) But you know what makes up for methane suddenly caring about the Ozone because time travel or whatever? The old school feeling to it. I don't know exactly how to say it, but everything from the "shit's going down" music to the"I'm not gonna mention it yet" gameplay or the " " graphics makes this game feel like something lifted straight out of 1995. It's like Mega Man starring that stupid Shakespearean robot from Sonic Battle.
In fact, it is Mega Man starring that stupid robot, only without all the things that made the robot stupid. Here's how it works: you point at things and shoot at them until the game decides something else needs lasers. OK, so that's not all there is to it; you also get bombs and electric bombs and super-powerful bombs and a billion other things the game somehow manages to throw at you throughout, but let's be honest: you're going to stick to the lasers. Not that that's a bad thing, because somehow, ARES does A LOT with just this one concept. There's just something so compelling about moving from enemy to enemy, racking up combos and such, and I just can't pin it down. Is it because it manages to do this so smoothly? (Remember that word.) Is it because it maintains a near perfect level of challenge about it? Is it because there's sometimes some strategy to waving your gun around like a crazy space prospector? I have no goddamn clue. All I know is that somehow, some way, it manages to be effing amazing. And that's just with your guns. Remember those other things that I told you that you'll ignore? The game does things with those, too. Really cool things I'll probably hate you for ignoring, like well hidden secrets or seriously, why aren't you noticing these things? Why do I have to be the one pointing them out to y-no, can't go back there. I left that behind in Radiant Historia. This is no place for such negative commentary. Hell, I don't think I can come up with a single flaw for this game.
But I might as well try, right? Let's see....well, the frame rate is utter shit. Wow, that was pretty easy. Maybe I should explain it a bit, though, just to be sure. The frame rate bounces all over the place, making the game nearly impossible to play. I appreciate how fantastic the game looks, but not when it prevents me from double jumping (you know, that thing that a lot of the game relies on). Although to be fair, there's a perfectly good reason why the old daguerreotype on my bureau has more frames per second than this game: my computer. It got so hot while I was playing this that I typed this up from a local library. You know, after my laptop sublimated directly into plasma. Yet what I can't blame my computer for is the controls....kinda. Yes, the frame rate fucked that up big time, but even when things were running smoothly, I still had trouble with the controls. First, because it locks your mouse inside the window, making it hard to do things like take notes on the game or potentially look up a FAQ or something. Of course, if you want a real reason, I'll just tell you how cluttered the controls feel. I know, WASD, but for some reason, it doesn't work out too well. I constantly felt like I was tripping over my own fingers when I was trying to do things like use bombs or not die a horrible death. There are two ways to fix this: first, change the jump button from space to W. I know it sounds strange, which is why I'm going to recommend another, much better option: hook up a 360 controller. The game's automatically configured to use one, and while I wasn't able to use one (damn my computer and its driver problems and its instant sublimation), I can definitively say that anything is better than the control set-up I was using. Those two major-ish issues aside, though, I'm going to beat the hell out of you for not playing this game. Got any proof otherwise? I'm waiting.
- Imagine if Mega Man X had a subplot about environmentalist farts.
- Then again, it's still Mega Man X, and Mega Man X is still pretty damn cool.
- Play this on a decent computer that allows you to use an Xbox 360 controller.
...How do I fucking find this shit?
Bio Senshi Dan: Increaser To No Tatakai
(Hey, look at that.) What we have here is a very special game. No, not because Dan is the stupidest name you could give a warrior (even Bob is more recognizable than Dan), or because nobody can agree on what the fuck the second part says (I've seen it go all over the place), but because this is one of those rare Japan-only games that had an American release planned at one point. Now why the hell is that? I have no goddamn clue. Yea, it's a pretty cool game, but certainly not awesome enough that I regret it not getting an English language release until years later, when Aeon Genesis translated all the other games worth translating.
Wait, why was this game translated, exactly? I mean it's not particularly story driven or anything. The year is 2081, and writers have found a way to combine every science fiction trope possible into one horrible mess. It is now up to Bio Warrior Dan to travel back to the far-off space year of 1999 to kill aliens or s-wait, didn't I say that this wasn't a story driven game? Yes, I told you that, but for whatever reason, nobody told the game that. You know how I went into a bit of detail on the game's story? Well, the game goes into a lot more detail, throwing things like "pre-rendered" (IE somebody drew detailed pictures) cutscenes and an utter shitload of dialogue. Granted, none of that dialogue goes toward explaining things like why there are wizards in the year 1999 (it uses an AD system, so I know they're not using some obscure space calendar or some shit) or why squid ninjas are traveling back in time to fuck up poor Dan's shit, but it's the thought that counts. But speaking of thought, why did they think to put so much effort into the presentation? It's not like the story is especially any good (what I've outlined is about it, really) or necessary to the game. Why not put that effort into the graphics (they're not bad, but they do clash a little) or the gameplay?
Oh, I already know why they didn't put more effort into the gameplay: because it's already good enough. Now remember when I told you that Dan was sent back to the year 1999 to hunt down alien scum? OK, I didn't use the word "hunt", but I probably should have, because that's the best way to describe it. You're dropped into a labyrinthine mess of a level, and it's up to you to hunt down the resident Alien King and beat his ass down (let's not fucking do this). But there's no way in hell you'd ever want to do that. You're gonna want to explore a bit, maybe find some cool items or play some cool mini-games. Or anything else, really, because there's a lot to do in these levels, and it really pays to explore. Granted, it's stupidly easy to blow through the levels and head straight for the boss (oddly kickass final few levels aside), but you'd be missing out on so much if you did that. How else would you notice the minor upgrades to your weapons, the racism, or how the levels can go from Contra to the desert levels of Super Mario Bros 2 in the blink of a frame? (I know it's hard to tell, but those are things I like about the game. Yes, even the racism, in a strange, roundabout way.)
Actually, I'm pretty sure the only thing you wouldn't miss would be the controls, although that's probably because they're not particularly good. I've but two reasons for saying that: first, the jumping. It's that weird locked jumping system you find in games like Castlevania, meaning it's the weird locked jumping system nobody really liked about Castlevania. I don't think I need to say anything else about that, so let's get onto the other reason: Dan moves stupidly slow. It's hard to be motivated to explore the levels when it takes so damn long to get through them, and it's pretty difficult to deal with enemies when you're the only thing that doesn't move at normal speed. Granted, there's an item that allows you to move at a reasonable pace, but that seems like a cheap way to han-I think I forgot to mention that this game has items. I probably should have, as they're the main motivation for exploring the shit out of the levels. Again, how else will you get to become a monster (literally)? Or fuck up somebody's shit with a thunder sword? Or bombs? Or any of the other w....wea....Something just hit me: I've played Simon's Quest for two blogs in a row. Look at all the things I've outlined: the weapons, the level design, the atmosphere, even the controls are pretty much the same. I'd call it too soon, given that it was just a week ago, but remember that I actually liked Simon's Quest, just like I like this game.