Sunday, August 19, 2012
Everything gets remade these days, from classics like “Psycho”, “Dawn of the Dead”, and “Total Recall” to even lesser-renowned films like “The Stepfather” and “The Fog”; so absolutely nothing is sacred anymore…even Robocop. A surprise smash hit in 1987, the original “Robocop” is a classic action film that features more scathing social and political commentary laced in it than many other mainstream films from the era. Now here we are in 2012, and there’s a remake of “Robocop” coming very, very soon…for better or worse.
The new take on Robocop doesn’t come out until at least 2013, but there’s already been a fair degree of viral marketing to facefuck the masses with for now. From ads about OCP (the corporation behind the creation of Robocop) and the ED-209 (the homicidal, often malfunctioning robot that growled), to revelations of some big name casting so far (Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel, and Hugh Laurie among others so far), this new Robocop flick is coming along fairly nicely so far, and hey, maybe it’ll even turn out half decent…wait what am I saying? Of course it fucking isn’t…
First off, the prototype art of what Robocop’s new look is going to be was fucking laughable. For Christ’s sake he looks like a goddamned Micronaut. To make matters worse, elements of the film’s script have been leaked…and things are about to get more unintentionally hilarious. While the basic elements remain the same: Detroit cop Alex Murphy is killed in the line of duty and transformed into Robocop, things are drastically different in almost every other regard. He goes through different versions (including the classic and iconic look, which gets laughed at by a “criminal focus group”…yes I’m serious) until finally getting tested on Al-Qaeda terrorists. Oh, and he’s also a transformer. And he can make himself look human and normal when need be. And he has a pet cyborg tyrannosaurus that he rides like a horse. Ok, that last part I made up, but the rest is true.
Anyway, the idea of remaking “Robocop” I can understand. Back in the day, the film was such a hit that it spawned two inferior sequels, a plethora of video games and comic books, a live-action TV show, two animated series, TV-movies, action figures, and more besides…meaning that this was a cash cow once upon a time. Getting a modern day remake of it with the hope that there’s still a decent amount of cash to squeeze out of it makes sense, but making all these changes to Robocop don’t make sense at all. Updated technology is fine, but really making him fight Al-Qaeda? Really? Is he going to have a logo on his chest plate that says something like “Anti-terrorism Cyborg Cop”? That’s not being relevant with modern times, that’s just fucking stupid. And speaking of fucking stupid, why the fuck is he a transformer? Is he going to turn into different vehicles and have all kinds of artillery pop out of his orifices too? Good fucking lord, what a bunch of shit. It’s no surprise that when the plot points got leaked over the internet that it’s been ridiculed all over the place already, and it hasn’t even started filming yet!
All in all, you can tell that I’m not exactly thrilled about there being a “Robocop” remake, but I’m even less thrilled that we’d be getting what surely sounds like one big pile of shit. All we need now is it being in 3-D. Wait what? It is? Great. Stick with the original folks, and give this shit-tastic money-grubbing pile of fuckness a big old middle finger.
As I conclude my Top 10 underrated and overlooked video game gems for the 5 consoles that have had the most impact for me personally, here we are at what is quite possibly my all time favorite video game system in the history of fucking ever. Say what you want about it, but I fucking loved the Sega Dreamcast. When it first came out on 9/9/99, it made quite the impression. 128-bit graphics, arcade-perfect games, and a dial-up modem built into it that let you play multiplayer games too. It’s success and lifespan was short-lived, as Sega discontinued it in 2002 and then switched to publishing games across every other system available, but for everyone around at the time, the Dreamcast was (and still is) a beloved little console. It had its share of well-known and smash hit games, like “Sonic Adventure”, “Crazy Taxi”, “Jet Grind Radio”, “Marvel VS Capcom 2”, and “Phantasy Star Online”, but it also had a shitload of titles that were so damn good and so overlooked that it’s a crying shame they didn’t get more press. Seriously, out of all 5 lists I came up with for the other consoles, this was the hardest. That being said, here are my top 10 underrated and overlooked gems for the Dreamcast:
10. CANNON SPIKE (2000)
A multi-directional arcade brawler/shooter from Capcom, “Cannon Spike” features a cast from previous Capcom games (Cammy, Mega Man, Arthur, etc.) all duking and shooting it out with each other for no real reason whatsoever. Not that that matters though, because this game is super fun. It’s simple enough and kind of mindless, but it’s satisfying as all hell, and is only one of a shitload of excellent games that Capcom created for the Dreamcast. It’s also pretty damn rare, and sold for a budget price when originally released, so if you’re prepared to lay down some cash for some serious fun, check this out.
9. CONFIDENTIAL MISSION (2002)
Released at the end of the Dreamcast’s life cycle, “Confidential Mission” is a light-gun shooter based on Sega’s own arcade title of the same name. It shares a lot of similarities with “Virtua Cop” and offers up a great assortment of baddies and boss fights. If it has any flaws to it, it’s that the game is so damn short it isn’t even funny. Three missions, one sitting, that’s it. All that being said, it’s still a blast to play regardless, and features some great technical achievements for being little more than a light gun shooter.
8. OOGA BOOGA (2001)
Another game released at the tail end of the Dreamcast’s life cycle, “Ooga Booga” is one of the more unique games you’re likely to play. A multiplayer combat game where you use items such as shrunken heads and magic spells to take out your opponents, “Ooga Booga” also features a shit load of “masks” to unlock that change your abilities and the like. One of the most fun games to play online, this is a game that was made to be played by you and your friends. Check it out.
7. SWORD OF THE BERSERK: GUTS’ RAGE (2000)
Based on a long running manga, “Sword of the Berserk” Guts’ Rage” is a hack and slasher that puts you in the shoes (and very, very large sword) of Guts, as he comes across a town where a disease is running rampant that is transforming its victims into horrible, blood thirsty mutants. Notable at the time for its graphics and quick-time events (one of the first games that actually had them), “Sword of the Berserk” is a short but oh so sweet action blast that is plenty enjoyable whether you’re familiar with the manga or not. There’s great voice acting and an intriguing story as well, all of which will keep you glued to the screen from beginning to end.
6. TECH ROMANCER (1999)
What’s not to like about giant fucking robots? “Tech Romancer” is a Capcom fighting game featuring giant robotic mechs beating the shit out of each other. Originally an arcade game that received a perfect port to the Dreamcast, “Tech Romancer” features a surprisingly deep fighting engine/system for a game of this type. Though the controls may come off as kind of clunky at first, eventually you get used to the flow and feel of the game, and beating the breaking the shit out of your opponents is so much fun.
5. HEAVY METAL: GEOMATRIX (2002)
Another Capcom-published fighting game, but more of an arena-based brawler/shooter like the aforementioned “Cannon Spike” or Capcom’s hit “Power Stone” games for the Dreamcast. “Heavy Metal: Geomatrix” is based on the long running adult comic magazine of the same name, featuring busty babes and cyborg warriors all shooting the shit out of each other. The game’s art design is wonderfully based off the work of renowned artist Simon Bisley, and features a rollicking metal soundtrack that includes Megadeth, Corrosion of Conformity, Halford, and more besides. It’s fast, fun, and harder than hell, and it’s wholeheartedly worth your time.
4. FATAL FURY: MARK OF THE WOLVES (2001)
SNK’s long running “Fatal Fury” series is beloved the world over, but by the time “Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves” came out in North America, it was a Dreamcast exclusive that was ignored because the console was dying out. The real shame in that happens to be that “Mark of the Wolves” is by and far the best game in the franchise, featuring a re-vamped fighting system and a whole new cast of fighters in addition to series stalwart Terry Bogard. The animation is superb and the controls are fluid, and it’s still a crying shame that this game got as ignored as it did back in 2001. Over the years though it’s developed a following thanks to some re-releases on newer consoles as downloadable content, and as such carries a somewhat hefty price tag for video game collectors. That aside though, this is one of the best fighting games on the Dreamcast ever, which is saying a lot considering the Dreamcast had nearly nothing but excellent fighting games.
3. JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE (1999)
Based on a popular manga, Capcom’s “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” is a 2-D brawler where you do little else than kick the shit out of people. That being said, it’s incredibly fun and completely absurd. The first thing you’ll notice is the game’s wonderful art style, which often looks like a cartoon come to life. Also released for the Playstation 1 at the same time, this Dreamcast version didn’t suffer from graphical glitches and constantly long load times. This game is nearly perfect, and these days is a rare find, but rumor has it that a downloadable HD remake is on the way for current consoles, so maybe more gamers will have the chance to enjoy this wonderful piece of art.
2. THE LAST BLADE 2 (2001)
Like the aforementioned “Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves”, SNK’s “The Last Blade 2” is a brilliant 2-D fighting game that is revered for being one of the finest 2-D fighting games to ever come out of the development house. It also happens to be the best 2-D fighting game the Dreamcast has to offer right behind “Marvel VS Capcom 2” and “Street Fighter Alpha 3”. Featuring a handful of sword-carrying warriors to choose from, “The Last Blade 2” features wonderful production values and a lovely art setting, making it one of the prettiest 2-D fighters you’ll ever see. While SNK has achieved a lot of fame for their various fighting franchises like “King of Fighters”, “Fatal Fury”, “Samurai Shodown” and all the others, “The Last Blade” games are simply wonderful, and “The Last Blade 2” is by and far a glorious achievement that too many gamers sadly missed out on.
1. DRACONUS: CULT OF THE WYRM (2000)
A third-person hack and slasher, “Draconus: Cult of the Wyrm” is a medieval fantasy on crack. You choose between playing as a warrior and a sorceress, mixing hand to hand combat and magic attacks to take down your enemies. There’s great melee combat to be had and the longer it goes on, the more difficult this fucker gets. By the time you get to the final stages of the game, you’re going to be worn the fuck out, that much I guarantee. When originally released in 2000, “Draconus” received a mixed reaction from critics and gamers alike. Some who played it were mystified and turned off by its difficulty, while others seemed to love it. If anything, the game reminds me of the recent PS3 role-playing/hack n’ slasher “Demon’s Souls”, which was a hard son of a bitch but received universal acclaim. “Draconus” may come off as a poor man’s version of that if you’ve never played it before, but it’s an incredibly fun and well-crafted game that deserves your time and attention.
Well folks, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed this round of lists, and hopefully it’ll make you check out some awesome old games you’ve missed out on. Good night bitches.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
The original Playstation, also known as the PS1, marked Sony’s foray into the world of video games. It was the first CD-based video game console that was a runaway hit because it did everything right. Previous CD-based consoles, such as the Sega-CD, 3DO, and Sega Saturn, just couldn’t do what the PS1 did so well, along with the fact that it had a staggering amount of third-party support that a video game system hadn’t had since the original NES. With that in mind, there’s a shitload of PS1 games that everyone knows and loves, ranging from “Metal Gear Solid”, “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” and various franchises that include “Resident Evil”, “Gran Turismo”, “Final Fantasy”, “Tekken”, “Crash Bandicoot”, and tons more. But for all the well-known classics that the PS1 offers, there are a number of forgotten gems that deserve your time attention too. Here are 10 underrated and overlooked gems for the original Playstation:
10. STEEL HARBINGER (1996)
A top-down shooter where you play as a scantily-clad half-alien chick taking down hordes and hordes of alien invaders in a post-apocalyptic Earth, “Steel Harbinger” is mindless fun. You shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, occasionally devouring alien body parts to replenish your health (yes I’m serious) and get treated to some gloriously cheesy live-action cut-scenes in between stages as well. Like I said, “Steel Harbinger” is mindless as all hell, but it’s surprisingly satisfying smoothly designed, making it worth checking out.
9. DISRUPTOR (1996)
Developed by Insomniac Games before they would go on to bigger and better things with the “Ratchet & Clank” and “Resistance” franchises, “Disruptor” is little more than a glorified “Doom” clone, but man oh man, is it ever an excellent one. At a time when just about every first person shooter coming out was little more than a “Doom” rip-off, “Disruptor” was like a breath of fresh air, featuring an excellent selection of interesting weapons and abilities that set it apart from the rest of the pack. There’s also some challenging gameplay to be had as well, and the maze-like level designs manage to hold your interest without frustrating the ever-loving shit out of you in the process. Check it out, you’ll be glad that you did.
8. PROJECT: OVERKILL (1996)
A run and gun shoot ‘em up with an isometric view, “Project: Overkill” is a ridiculously bloody, over the top gorefest. You play as four alien mercenaries that are up against an evil empire. You shoot tons and tons of enemies, collecting various items and keycards along the way, solving the occasional puzzle too. There’s a shitload of levels to play through, and even though things may get kind of monotonous after a while, the game is still a shitload of fun to play through regardless. It’s also harder than hell, and a truly overshadowed gem of the Playstation library.
7. JERSEY DEVIL (1998)
Released relatively late in the Playstation’s lifecycle, “Jersey Devil” got a very lukewarm reception from gamers and critics alike, mainly getting flak thanks to the schizoid camera angles and sub-par graphics. However, underneath its flaws, the game is a surprisingly good platformer. Released by Sony themselves, “Jersey Devil” was expected to attain the same kind of greatness that their previous first-party platformers “Crash Bandicoot” and “MediEvil” managed to get, which made the hype surrounding this game all the more, and all the more disappointing when it wasn’t as great. Still though, there’s some kind of undeniable charm here underneath the surface, and the fact that the game has a wicked sense of humor makes things all the more enjoyable.
6. C-12: FINAL RESISTANCE (2002)
Released very, very late in the Playstation’s lifecycle, “C-12: Final Resistance” was a game that had it been released a few years beforehand, would have been a smash hit. By the time it was released, the Playstation 2 was already out, as were the XBox, Gamecube, and Dreamcast as well. “C-12” came out with what seemed like dated graphics and gameplay, but underneath that was a very surprisingly good third-person shooter. You shoot hordes and hordes of aliens and cyborgs and blow shit up…that’s pretty much it for gameplay-wise, but that’s really all there needs to be here. It’s simple, and incredibly satisfying, and the saddest thing here is that virtually no one played this. What you should all know though is that you can still find this game, brand new, for dirt cheap…TEN YEARS AFTER IT WAS ORIGINALLY RELEASED! That’s how few people played “C-12”, so few that you can find this game dirt cheap brand new a fucking decade later. So do yourself a favor and go fucking pick this bitch up!
5. EHRGEIZ (1999)
A 3D fighting game featuring a regular arcade mode in addition to a fucking quest mode, “Ehrgeiz” mixes both straight out beat ‘em up fighting with wrestling elements and RPG elements to boot. That and it has a roster of interesting fighters, including a handful of characters from “Final Fantasy VII” just for shits and giggles. That’s right, Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth (!) among others are thrown into the mix, which makes “Ehrgeiz” worth playing in itself. Sadly, the game wasn’t much of a hit when it was first released, even with the inclusion of classic FFVII characters, but it’s a super fun blast and features a surprising amount of depth that many fighting games of the time just didn’t have. While “Ehrgeiz” went underappreciated (and is a rare, expensive game to track down), it wasn’t nearly as underrated and great as the next game on our list, of which this kind of served as a spiritual spin-off…
4. TOBAL NO. 1 (1996)
The first PS1 release from “Final Fantasy” developer SquareSoft, “Tobal No. 1” is a fighting/adventure game featuring character designs from the guy that helped create “Dragonball Z”. Like “Ehrgeiz” would a few years later, “Tobal No. 1” featured standard fighting mechanics mixed with wrestling and RPG elements. There is also an adventure/quest mode where you troll through dungeon-esque environments and beat the shit out of people. The game was actually surprisingly publicized well, most likely due to the fact that it included a demo disc for the eagerly anticipated “Final Fantasy VII”, which helped the game sell somewhat, but nowhere near as well as Square had hoped it to. Still, the game was well-reviewed and beloved by those that played it, there just weren’t that many that did. There was a sequel that was released in Japan only, but despite that, “Tobal No. 1” is dreadfully underrated and deserves your attention.
3. THE UNHOLY WAR (1998)
A fighting/strategy game that nobody noticed, “The Unholy War” revolves around two warring alien factions in a distant universe. There’s melee combat and lining up your units to take out the opposition, which makes for a lengthy and deep experience. The alien creature designs are awesome and the campaigns are imaginative, but sadly the game was vastly overlooked when it was released. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s still worth checking out regardless, so give it a try.
2. TOMBA! (1998)
A side-scrolling platformer featuring 3-D models, “Tomba!” lets you take control of the title character as you stomp on and beat up hordes of evil pigs. One of the most imaginative titles to be released for the PS1 at the time, “Tomba!” was beloved by all that had played it, and while it enjoyed some moderate success, it didn’t become the smash hit that it should have. It did however spawn a sequel a few years later, which was nowhere near as enjoyable as the first installment, but was even more overlooked than this game. Still though, the game has such undeniable charm that you won’t be able to not enjoy it, even if it becomes incredibly difficult the longer it goes on.
1. HEART OF DARKNESS (1998)
Taking six years to be developed, “Heart of Darkness” is a cinematic side-scrolling adventure where you play as a young boy named Andy who is on a quest to save his beloved dog from dark and sinister forces. You solve puzzles and shoot down enemies, all while trying not to die horribly in the process. Notorious for its punishing difficulty and brilliantly animated cinematics, “Heart of Darkness” is a wonderful artistic achievement for its time and also incredibly frustrating and features some very graphic ways to get killed for being an all-ages rated game. The game also sold pretty well for its time, but all these years later is sadly forgotten. Though it was harder than hell to get through, “Heart of Darkness” featured some surprisingly rewarding gameplay and a well-told story that kept you playing, no matter how many times you died. That and just seeing how surprisingly bloody Andy’s demises would wind up being would hold your attention as well. Check it out damnit!
That’s all for now folks, be here next time for the conclusion where we look at the top 10 underrated and overlooked games for one of the most underrated and overlooked consoles of all time: the Sega Dreamcast.