The fact that The Firemen exists is a weird thing. An action game about battling rampaging fires, it shows developer Human Entertainment’s love of the seemingly never-ending onslaught of B-grade action movies that Hollywood farted out in the 80’s. Think Die Hard minus all the cowboy stuff (so not really Die Hard at all, I guess). What’s tragic is that this super American gem never made it State-side. It’s a product that on paper shouldn’t be half as great as it is, and on your SNES shouldn’t have really even ever come out.Continue reading “The Firemen: Into the Fire”
The early-to-mid 90’s set the stage for one of the most beautiful production company and development studio relationships to exist in video games with the pairing of Japanese companies Quintet and Enix. While their first game, ActRaiser, a mesh between classic platforming and Sim City style urban planning, was an insanely fresh, original idea that would lead to their eventual ‘Quintology’ it wasn’t until the release of their next title that the duo would really show their true genius.
This review is for the XBLA version of Spelunky. There is an extremely similar free version online, but this critique pertains to the specific changes made for the console release.
Embrace Death and Rise Above It
Most great things are difficult to qualify in words. You can tell somebody that the Mona Lisa is a great painting of an ugly lady, or that Blade Runner is a great movie about robots, but that does nothing compared to watching Rutger Hauer deliver his final soliloquy while slowly deactivating in the rain. It’s not solely what something is objectively that’s important, its the lasting effects of experiencing something that make it impactful. With that said, Derek Yu’s long-worked-on Spelunky (there’s a free version online showing just how long it’s been tweaked) is not simply an indie platformer hell-bent on crushing your spirit, even if sometimes it’s hard to see past that.
A Much-Needed Validation of iOS/Android Gaming
I often feel anger towards people whom I know to be smart describing something as ‘stupid’. Partially because most of my favorite things are stupid, but mostly because it’s a cheap and lazy way to communicate one’s opinion on something without having to spend a second thinking about why they don’t like whatever it is they don’t like. And that’s sad because when it comes to judging something’s worth, it’s not only important to look at what that something is, but also precisely what it aims at being. Without doing so, nothing could rationally be considered a success. Being successful is everything.
When I try to make a concrete decision as to what my favorite game of all time is, the answer tends to change from day to day. More often than not, however, Bioshock is the first thing that comes to mind. My initial arrival in Rapture was a swift kick to the face, forever opening my eyes to how it feels to be in an atmosphere so thick I could taste it. Not since that precious moment so many years ago had I experienced a world so fully realized and enticing as presented in victorian Dunwall.
Why All We Needed Was More Dark Souls
If there even is a proper word for the confusing mixture of emotions I felt in the first 30 minutes of booting up the long-awaited add-on to last year’s utterly exhilarating Dark Souls, it’s not in my repertoire. What I do know, is I was immediately struck with a very profound childlike excitement that had me giddy, all due to the fact I was simply doing something new. Having spent well over 200 hours exploring the dense, beautiful and wholly unique world FromSoftware had granted me last year, I pretty much knew everything you could about Dark Souls proper. Every pressure-plate triggered trap, every well-hidden enemy, every nonsense attack a boss could throw at me. Every single obstacle the game could lay on me I had painfully experienced, triumphantly overcome, and gloriously mastered.
Radical Entertainment’s 2009 release of Prototype was welcomed with open arms, even though it dropped a month after the fundamentally similar Infamous. Over 400 thousand people were happy enough to aid in its journey to reaching Platinum status (which it did fairly quickly) for obvious reasons. Being an open world game centered on a biologically enhanced anti-hero capable of scaling buildings and slaughtering entire military units in a fashion that brought to mind John Carpenter’s The Thing, none of this came as much of a surprise.
The aspects of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that place it in everyone’s mind as an Elder Scrolls knock-off disguised in a bright, cartoonish atmosphere are probably the least important of all. Yes, you are in a rich fantasy world fighting typical fairy-tale type monsters. Yes, you can choose to play as a decent, upstanding individual or to roam the world looting what is not rightfully yours. In 2012, these are common facets in most great open-world games. It is the fully realized manner in which Big Huge Games offers these features here that make for a truly satisfying experience.
When The Darkness came out in 2007 it was an enigma of a game. While it was received extremely well and was successful enough commercially, it was almost immediately evident that it would quickly exit stage left and fall into the realm of the occult.