Culturally, this blog is (quite literally) all over the place.

Burnout 3: Takedown

(Oh, this oughta be fun.) Wait, apprehensive sarcasm doesn't carry through text, so allow me to explain that statement: the only racing games that I've played (or at least the only ones I can remember myself playing) have been Mario Kart games. I'm certain that explains everything rather nicely. So how much of a goddamn train wreck will this be? There's only one way to find out (and I promise you that you won't like it).

Normally, I'd delve into the complex story that the game delivers, but, and I'm just receiving word on this (because, apparently, this blog is live), there is no story in Burnout 3. Granted, it has plot anomalies (once you notice the drivers, it's too easy to interpret it as some type of Buddhist hell), but oddly no plot for such weirdness. I guess that's why to make up for it, Criterion decided to make this game look effing amazing. You're at a struggle to name any better looking Xbox games. (I said "you" because I haven't even played ten games for the original Xbox.) I know that I'm saying this quite a bit, but I'd sometimes forget that I was playing an original Xbox game. That's how good looking it is. Wai, that's not how good looking it is; it's even better than that. Sometimes, it can be too good looking, like with the lighting. Most of the time, it's just as good as the rest of the game, but then there are those scant few tracks where the sun gleams off the track just so to destroy any chances of victory. Keep in mind that I said that these moments aren't too often, so I'm not retracting all of those nice things from before. Instead, I'll insult the hell out of the music, because there must be balance in this paragraph (for whatever reason, it's required when you utter the word "Buddhist"). I know that this will make me sound super old, and I know that as a nearly 400 year old entity, I shouldn't be concerned with that, but it all sounds like a bunch of whiny teenage bullshit. How did any of us survive the 2000s if this was the music we were listening to? I suspect the answer was "suicide".

Yea, that's great and all, but I'm trying to avoid CRASHING INTO A SEMI-TRAILER.

Or maybe people were racing it up in Burnout. I guess that's a decent substitute for killing yourself. (Wait a minute...) Now like I said earlier, you're on an epic and heartfelt quest to conquer the world with your racing prowess, so this obviously means that you drive from place to place so you can drive against other people. How does that work out? OK, but with a few problems. First, no shortcuts on any of the tracks, at least to my knowledge. Second, the turning isn't as good as it could be. Most of the time, you can only turn in strict zero degree angles, which doesn't bode well for a lot of...well, everything. Of course, you can always use the brakes for wider turns, but most of the time, you'll turn 90 degrees into the nearest wall without crashing. (More on the crashing later, though.) Actually, I shouldn't insult the racing, as it's actually pretty good. The tracks can be pretty cool, and the AI seems to think that you're the one who chose the songs for this game, so there's plenty of challenge to be had in winning a race against the aggressive AI. Throw in a Spriggan Powered-esque boost system, and things suddenly get ten times more interesting. Keep in mind that things were already pretty interesting, so take that as me yelling a recommendation at you.

But what sets Burnout apart from other racing games? Hell if I know, but if I had to guess, I'd say "crashing". Tons and tons of crashing. See, Burnout 3 is a street racing game, meaning that you occupy space alongside other drivers, meaning you're gonna crash a lot. Rather than fix that, Criterion decided to design a system around it. Unfortunately, it fucks up the actual racing bits pretty damn hard. When you crash (not "if you crash"), the game will wait quite a while before it decides to shove you back on the map, and by that time, the other racers will have left you in the dead air (the dust will have cleared by the time you come to again). Your only hope is to steer your wreck onto them when they come by, but at this point, steering is only a mild suggestion, partly because the camera can't always decide where it wants to focus. Speaking of the camera, that's gonna kill you quite a bit. I'm not saying that it's a problem while you're driving (you'd have to be terrible at driving games to fuck up the camera angles), but, rather, when you ram a foe into the nearest wall. At this point, the game decides to focus on their wreckage, as if to tell you how totally fucking awesome it was that they crashed into a granny doing 20. (I'd mention that those grannies and truckers are also a pain in the ass, but that's what you get with the Spriggan Powered thing I mentioned before.) I can see where they're coming from with this, but do you understand how hard it is to drive your car when the game decides to focus on a totally different car?

Fortunately, though, the crashing is far more awesome when you're not trying to cross a finish line, otherwise known as "half the game". How do they manage to do this? By making crashing a good thing, like in the Takedown mode. You know how the fun of ramming an enemy gets sucked away the minute you need to worry about getting in first? Well, this time, it's all about making dudes crash into the nearest wall. Suddenly, it's a lot easier to enjoy watching a car wipe out into the nearest red X, especially when it counts as a signature takedown (think achievements before achievements, except without the iota of satisfaction). Oh, but it doesn't end there; you also get a mode that turns your fuck-ups into the main goal...meaning that your not-fuck-ups will become fuck-ups. Somehow. That was confusing, so allow me to explain: you crash into as many cars as physically possible. That's pretty much it. I know that sounds simple, but it really isn't. There's a lot to manage, like timing, multipliers (that don't stack, for some (very obvious) reason), traffic flow, and so much more. It's amazing just how much they were able to squeeze out of that one concept. But that's not all; you also get....wait, no, that's pretty much it. What? You were expecting something else? You greedy piece of shit. You get all this cool stuff, and you expect more!? Just enjoy all this other crap; it isn't that hard! Great. You've angered me. Now I'm gonna have to get the mods to lock you in this blog (mods can do that, right?).

Review Synopsis

  • Man, this is an awesome looking Xbox game. Sadly, the PS2 version looks like crap (as I found out when looking for that screenshot), but I'm not talking about that, now, am I?
  • It's a racing game-ass racing game, I guess. (Not entirely sure what to say about it.)
  • Crashing: fun except when you're trying to win a race.

OK, can somebody explain this Internet meme? Before you yell, "Japan", keep in mind that the only Japanese to be found in this video is in the lyrics.

Phelios

(Again, I encounter a game that even I haven't heard of, even after beating it.) I'm getting far too obscure with this stuff (and I don't plan to stop any time soon). Now I'd go into some type of elaborate history of this game or something, but I can't remember ever hearing of some elaborate history behind this game. It's just a Japan-only shooter with a vaguely sexual name.

Wait, why does it have a sexual name, again? I'm guessing it's because it's a Greek-ass game, something that it makes evident when it first brings up its complex story. See, there's this princess, and she needs rescuing. I'd say that there's more to it, but from a story perspective, there really isn't. Kind of odd, in retrospective, since it puts so much work into its story. At the end of each level, you get a cutscene that easily could have been ripped from Menace Beach, and it only gets Menace Beach-ier from there. You keep expecting Artemis (I think it's Artemis) to take her top off or something (DON'T YOU LOOK AT ME THAT WAY), but you never get that type of pay-off. I'm guessing because the developers think that the anime cutscenes are pay-off enough....and they are. I know, I'm always a sucker for decent anime stuff in older games (it's the only reason I'm even remotely interested in Valis), but look at this. See any major flaws? I thought not. Hear any major flaws? Oh, wait, it's a picture. I should explain: you know how Altered Beast had shit voice work? So does this.

This is your ending. It goes on for-fucking-ever.

OK, enough of talking about things that really don't matter. Time to talk about the shooting stuff, even though there's not a lot for me to say. What the hell do you want me to say? It's an overhead shooter, and you shoot stuff until you decide not to shoot stuff. It does that part pretty competently, offering some decent levels and challenges to weave in and out of. Granted, it kinda repeats a lot of those areas (especially when you're two feet from the Greek Monster Du Jour (no idea why I'm using French for a Greek boss), but it's pretty good about delivering some decent levels. Wish I could say the same about the power-ups, though. (Note that I may not be able to comment fully on them because it's hard to remember something that only appears two times in a seven level game.) Like I said in the parentheses, you don't get to see them a ton, and I feel like the game resents you for even having them, because you only have them for five seconds each. So I guess it's pretty much speed power-ups, two options, and charging (oddly more useful than in other games) throughout the entire game. Awesome.

You'd think that would make the game challenging, but...wait, I'm confused. You know, just like this game's difficulty. (Can you hold the derisive laughter until the end of the blog?) I mean, I really want to say that this game's pretty challenging. After all, the levels can be pretty packed, so expect to blow through your HP pretty quickly. Throw in the fact that health refills only happen twice, and this should be a hard game, right? Not exactly. Again, charges just blast through everything, and even if you die, the game does a pretty good job of catching you up in terms of power-ups, making things just as easy as they were before. Damn it, this isn't working. Oh! Maybe the bosses will provide a clear answer! Wait, I've played this game, so I know that they don't. Instead, they just bounce all over the place. Some are pretty easy (like the final boss), some are pretty difficult (like whatever the hell this is). Overall, though, they're pretty average. You know, like this game is, in general.

Review Synopsis

  • What do you get when you combine Greece and fan-art? Greek art? Yes, but also, this!
  • It's like a ton of other shooters, but with barely enough meat on its bones.
  • Well, this blog was terrible.
3 Comments
4 Comments
Posted by Video_Game_King

Burnout 3: Takedown

(Oh, this oughta be fun.) Wait, apprehensive sarcasm doesn't carry through text, so allow me to explain that statement: the only racing games that I've played (or at least the only ones I can remember myself playing) have been Mario Kart games. I'm certain that explains everything rather nicely. So how much of a goddamn train wreck will this be? There's only one way to find out (and I promise you that you won't like it).

Normally, I'd delve into the complex story that the game delivers, but, and I'm just receiving word on this (because, apparently, this blog is live), there is no story in Burnout 3. Granted, it has plot anomalies (once you notice the drivers, it's too easy to interpret it as some type of Buddhist hell), but oddly no plot for such weirdness. I guess that's why to make up for it, Criterion decided to make this game look effing amazing. You're at a struggle to name any better looking Xbox games. (I said "you" because I haven't even played ten games for the original Xbox.) I know that I'm saying this quite a bit, but I'd sometimes forget that I was playing an original Xbox game. That's how good looking it is. Wai, that's not how good looking it is; it's even better than that. Sometimes, it can be too good looking, like with the lighting. Most of the time, it's just as good as the rest of the game, but then there are those scant few tracks where the sun gleams off the track just so to destroy any chances of victory. Keep in mind that I said that these moments aren't too often, so I'm not retracting all of those nice things from before. Instead, I'll insult the hell out of the music, because there must be balance in this paragraph (for whatever reason, it's required when you utter the word "Buddhist"). I know that this will make me sound super old, and I know that as a nearly 400 year old entity, I shouldn't be concerned with that, but it all sounds like a bunch of whiny teenage bullshit. How did any of us survive the 2000s if this was the music we were listening to? I suspect the answer was "suicide".

Yea, that's great and all, but I'm trying to avoid CRASHING INTO A SEMI-TRAILER.

Or maybe people were racing it up in Burnout. I guess that's a decent substitute for killing yourself. (Wait a minute...) Now like I said earlier, you're on an epic and heartfelt quest to conquer the world with your racing prowess, so this obviously means that you drive from place to place so you can drive against other people. How does that work out? OK, but with a few problems. First, no shortcuts on any of the tracks, at least to my knowledge. Second, the turning isn't as good as it could be. Most of the time, you can only turn in strict zero degree angles, which doesn't bode well for a lot of...well, everything. Of course, you can always use the brakes for wider turns, but most of the time, you'll turn 90 degrees into the nearest wall without crashing. (More on the crashing later, though.) Actually, I shouldn't insult the racing, as it's actually pretty good. The tracks can be pretty cool, and the AI seems to think that you're the one who chose the songs for this game, so there's plenty of challenge to be had in winning a race against the aggressive AI. Throw in a Spriggan Powered-esque boost system, and things suddenly get ten times more interesting. Keep in mind that things were already pretty interesting, so take that as me yelling a recommendation at you.

But what sets Burnout apart from other racing games? Hell if I know, but if I had to guess, I'd say "crashing". Tons and tons of crashing. See, Burnout 3 is a street racing game, meaning that you occupy space alongside other drivers, meaning you're gonna crash a lot. Rather than fix that, Criterion decided to design a system around it. Unfortunately, it fucks up the actual racing bits pretty damn hard. When you crash (not "if you crash"), the game will wait quite a while before it decides to shove you back on the map, and by that time, the other racers will have left you in the dead air (the dust will have cleared by the time you come to again). Your only hope is to steer your wreck onto them when they come by, but at this point, steering is only a mild suggestion, partly because the camera can't always decide where it wants to focus. Speaking of the camera, that's gonna kill you quite a bit. I'm not saying that it's a problem while you're driving (you'd have to be terrible at driving games to fuck up the camera angles), but, rather, when you ram a foe into the nearest wall. At this point, the game decides to focus on their wreckage, as if to tell you how totally fucking awesome it was that they crashed into a granny doing 20. (I'd mention that those grannies and truckers are also a pain in the ass, but that's what you get with the Spriggan Powered thing I mentioned before.) I can see where they're coming from with this, but do you understand how hard it is to drive your car when the game decides to focus on a totally different car?

Fortunately, though, the crashing is far more awesome when you're not trying to cross a finish line, otherwise known as "half the game". How do they manage to do this? By making crashing a good thing, like in the Takedown mode. You know how the fun of ramming an enemy gets sucked away the minute you need to worry about getting in first? Well, this time, it's all about making dudes crash into the nearest wall. Suddenly, it's a lot easier to enjoy watching a car wipe out into the nearest red X, especially when it counts as a signature takedown (think achievements before achievements, except without the iota of satisfaction). Oh, but it doesn't end there; you also get a mode that turns your fuck-ups into the main goal...meaning that your not-fuck-ups will become fuck-ups. Somehow. That was confusing, so allow me to explain: you crash into as many cars as physically possible. That's pretty much it. I know that sounds simple, but it really isn't. There's a lot to manage, like timing, multipliers (that don't stack, for some (very obvious) reason), traffic flow, and so much more. It's amazing just how much they were able to squeeze out of that one concept. But that's not all; you also get....wait, no, that's pretty much it. What? You were expecting something else? You greedy piece of shit. You get all this cool stuff, and you expect more!? Just enjoy all this other crap; it isn't that hard! Great. You've angered me. Now I'm gonna have to get the mods to lock you in this blog (mods can do that, right?).

Review Synopsis

  • Man, this is an awesome looking Xbox game. Sadly, the PS2 version looks like crap (as I found out when looking for that screenshot), but I'm not talking about that, now, am I?
  • It's a racing game-ass racing game, I guess. (Not entirely sure what to say about it.)
  • Crashing: fun except when you're trying to win a race.

OK, can somebody explain this Internet meme? Before you yell, "Japan", keep in mind that the only Japanese to be found in this video is in the lyrics.

Phelios

(Again, I encounter a game that even I haven't heard of, even after beating it.) I'm getting far too obscure with this stuff (and I don't plan to stop any time soon). Now I'd go into some type of elaborate history of this game or something, but I can't remember ever hearing of some elaborate history behind this game. It's just a Japan-only shooter with a vaguely sexual name.

Wait, why does it have a sexual name, again? I'm guessing it's because it's a Greek-ass game, something that it makes evident when it first brings up its complex story. See, there's this princess, and she needs rescuing. I'd say that there's more to it, but from a story perspective, there really isn't. Kind of odd, in retrospective, since it puts so much work into its story. At the end of each level, you get a cutscene that easily could have been ripped from Menace Beach, and it only gets Menace Beach-ier from there. You keep expecting Artemis (I think it's Artemis) to take her top off or something (DON'T YOU LOOK AT ME THAT WAY), but you never get that type of pay-off. I'm guessing because the developers think that the anime cutscenes are pay-off enough....and they are. I know, I'm always a sucker for decent anime stuff in older games (it's the only reason I'm even remotely interested in Valis), but look at this. See any major flaws? I thought not. Hear any major flaws? Oh, wait, it's a picture. I should explain: you know how Altered Beast had shit voice work? So does this.

This is your ending. It goes on for-fucking-ever.

OK, enough of talking about things that really don't matter. Time to talk about the shooting stuff, even though there's not a lot for me to say. What the hell do you want me to say? It's an overhead shooter, and you shoot stuff until you decide not to shoot stuff. It does that part pretty competently, offering some decent levels and challenges to weave in and out of. Granted, it kinda repeats a lot of those areas (especially when you're two feet from the Greek Monster Du Jour (no idea why I'm using French for a Greek boss), but it's pretty good about delivering some decent levels. Wish I could say the same about the power-ups, though. (Note that I may not be able to comment fully on them because it's hard to remember something that only appears two times in a seven level game.) Like I said in the parentheses, you don't get to see them a ton, and I feel like the game resents you for even having them, because you only have them for five seconds each. So I guess it's pretty much speed power-ups, two options, and charging (oddly more useful than in other games) throughout the entire game. Awesome.

You'd think that would make the game challenging, but...wait, I'm confused. You know, just like this game's difficulty. (Can you hold the derisive laughter until the end of the blog?) I mean, I really want to say that this game's pretty challenging. After all, the levels can be pretty packed, so expect to blow through your HP pretty quickly. Throw in the fact that health refills only happen twice, and this should be a hard game, right? Not exactly. Again, charges just blast through everything, and even if you die, the game does a pretty good job of catching you up in terms of power-ups, making things just as easy as they were before. Damn it, this isn't working. Oh! Maybe the bosses will provide a clear answer! Wait, I've played this game, so I know that they don't. Instead, they just bounce all over the place. Some are pretty easy (like the final boss), some are pretty difficult (like whatever the hell this is). Overall, though, they're pretty average. You know, like this game is, in general.

Review Synopsis

  • What do you get when you combine Greece and fan-art? Greek art? Yes, but also, this!
  • It's like a ton of other shooters, but with barely enough meat on its bones.
  • Well, this blog was terrible.
Posted by buzz_clik

(How did I miss this blog?)

I'm actually quite the fan of Phelios in both its arcade and Genesis/MD incarnations. I have no real idea why, mind, but there's just something about the game that has always tickled my gaming fancy. Objectively, I can see how it's an average game, but I still love it. I've spent many hours on public transport playing the Sega conversion on my trusty Nomad and always enjoyed it, although the level where everything speeds up and you've gotta dodge barriers flying towards you is a bit of a bitch with a tiny old screen that blurs when things move quickly.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King

@buzz_clik:

I'm still trying to get over how you owned a Sega Nomad. Did you believe in some sort of battery corporation conspiracy theory?

Posted by buzz_clik

@Video_Game_King: I still own it. In fact, I only got my first Nomad in the early 2000s and was using it (in public) in some bizarre phase of purist nonsense or something like that. I've actually got two now, one MIB.

As for the battery thing, I've got the rechargeable battery pack that was probably essential back in the day. Even these days, though, it's way easier just to plug that thing in than charge up a bunch of separate batteries. Mind you, it's probably even easier to get an emulator running on a more portable device than a friggin' Nomad...

Moderator