Sunday 26 December 2021

Gaming for the year of 2021

So in the vein of my toys of 2021 (in draft, but my games post finished sooner), I briefly want to talk about games that I have acquired over the course of the year.  "Modern games" which I use the term loosely as I often buy games that are years old when cheap have been relatively few.

Retro games - ie games for my Saturn were looking rather thing until a certain point in which I got rather excited and went nuts.  Most games I'll play at least briefly when I get them, so can comment on everything. Let's do it

First off derp Modern games

- and this will consist of Nintendo Switch/PlayStation 3/4 games.  It'll be interesting to see if Sony bust out the hours you spent on a game list again this year.  Last time it was many many on Shadow of Mordor/War.  My Nintendo Switch lists my most played game.... as.... the YouTube app.  And yes, it's handy to watch YouTube through without having to slap up the tv to the internet etc.  I don't even watch that much YouTube Or so I thought...

Anyhoo, click the jump to progress to the info

Turrican Flashback

Good fun collection of four version of Turrican.  The Amiga version of 1 & 2, SNES Super Turrican and Megadrive Mega Turrican.  I had to import from USA and while excited at finally playing the Amiga version, I was bumbed there was no version of the C64 game there. After all, that was the first one.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. Switch version

Donkey King is fun up until you get to levels with instant death holes everywhere.  This version has lots of help areas and it was fun, but now I'm up to an area with (yup) lots of death holes everywhere.  I get it there has to be challenge, but I was enjoying it and now I'm not so much.  Sure they throw extra lives at you like money to a stripper, but its still annoying as hell to have to restart the same level over and over again.

Bloodstained Ritual of the Night (sold)

A Castlevania Symphony of the Night clone and no surprised as it was made by one of the guys known for castlevania.  A solid game, filled with terrible slow dow on the switch and wee-aboo targeted voice actors.  Seriously, I hated the English voices AND the Japanese voices.  Maybe shoulda tried Spanish or something.  It was ok, but just didn't grip me all that much.

Sonic Colours Ultimate

Oh god, the Ultimate version is far from it.  Updates aplenty required, but still fairly fun.  I love(d) the music. The new one has slightly less impressive remixes to it and I rather enjoyed the Wii version many years ago.  

This one seems ok, although I find myself tiring of the Wisp system.  After experiencing them in Colours, Generations, Lost Worlds and colours again, I find myself irritated that I've suddenly bee forced to play as not-Sonic once again.

Mad Max

Aw shit. this game tickles my fancy mightily. Repetitive? Yes. Simple idea? Yes.  Good fun? YES.  So much so I did a gameplay video.  The game follows the lead of the Batman Arkham and Shadow of Mordor system with easy punchy but adds cool vehicular combat.

A movie tie in game has no right being this much fun.  Also helps I only paid 5 bucks for it.  Full price, I'd maybe feel different, but it is certainly up my alley.  There are some odd gameplay choices made which I might go over in a more detailed post one day.

Oh, it also has an awesome photo mode, which also allows for recording footage.


A musical Panzer Dragoon.  Fun and relaxing.  Also free.


Another rhythm game and rather interesting.  Great with earphones and a little trippy.  Awesome game for when you wanna shut yourself off from the world for a bit. Also free!

Ratchet & Clank

Kind of fun, if a little repetitive with a nice tongue in cheek story.  Also free!

Streets of Rage 4 DLC  Mr X Nightmare

Wow, 10 bucks and I'm not normally one for buying DLC, but this was rather nice.  Essentially a survival mode option with a bunch of new playable characters. In between each round you get to choose a skill.  Quite a lot of fun and manages to add a nice bit of variety to the original game.  Which was a lot of fun in the first place.

Uncharted 1-3 pack thing

Uncharted.  Great story and acting, and looks nice.  Predictable and I've played 2 &3 Already.  It was nice to play 1 without the stupid motion controls required for chucking grenades.  Motion controls are BALLS.

It was kinda cool to see the evolution of the series as well.  Also Free!

 Duke Nukem 3D World Tour
I had this on the Saturn and it was a lot of fun.  This was super cheap and came with extra maps and levels.  It is still pretty good.  It also has a director's commentary attached to some areas, so that got me interested as well, sadly though the areas with commentary are surprisingly few...

Super Mario 3D World

I bought this as I had lots of fun with Mario Galaxy and have always wanted to play more of Mario 64.  While I can understand the though process behind this pack, it's a lazy conversion.  They didn't even add a widescreen option for 64. Lazy

64 was a ground-breaking game at the time and I've always sucked at it.  Sadly I have not gotten any better and it is showing it's age.  I respect it's historical impact on gaming, but the camera really annoys the shit out of me and I don't really enjoy it.

Mario Sunshine is another that I've never really played before.  There are somethings that are cool, but there is a LOT that is shit.  It's a confused game that lacks focus and direction.  Like, you can be playing quite merrily along, getting used to the back back moves (of which this game uses as the main gimmick) then all of a sudden there is a stage with insta-death holes and you've lost the backpack.  All of a sudden a new way of moving around the level needs to be learnt and most mistakes result in death.

Not a sunshine screen shot.

Mario Galaxy is still fun, but since I've played it all before it doesn't quite grip me a whole lot.  Oh and one area insists you use the gyro controls of the Switch for control with no options to switch out.  Sure the motion controls were a part of the game on the Wii, but this is supposed to be an improved pack.  Get rid of that shit dammit.

Capcom Arcade Stadium
Initially downloadable with a free copy of Ghosts n Goblins, I nabbed it for that alone.  They started selling the games in expensive multipacks and while I wanted some, I didn't want the excess, so I waited.  And I'm glad I did as I was able to cherry pick the games I really wanted.  They're cheap at 200 Y and its cool to get the ones I really dig, as well as try a few I wanted to, but never had the chance.

It also has cool presentation.

I ended up getting Forgotten Worlds as I wanted to experience the arcade game.  It doesn't have the best controls.  It would really benefit from the dual sticks, using one to aim and one to move, but it's stuck with using one to rotate the gun an the other to move.  A tad awkward and the later levels are damn busy.  I wonder if anyone can 1CC this thing?

Strider is a classic platformer which I've played many version of over the years.  A great smooth running platformer.

Bionic Commando I played on the c64.  It was cool.  I wanted to see what the arcade was like.

Ghosts n Goblins and 194? (something) were free.  Great arcade versions, and hard as bones, but with a cool rewind option.  All the games here have that, which makes things a bit more relaxing.

Sunset Riders

A favourite run n gun from my youth with a western theme.  This is a straight arcade port and it's frikking great.  I still love the shit out of this game.  Many fond memories playing this with my best pal from high school! Bob is the best btw.

Bob likes the ladies.

Dark Souls PS3

Quite an interesting game.  I heard it was hard, so didn't really bother with it, but after, hrm, let's say, some persuasion I started playing it and yes, it is hard, but it is reasonably so.  It's not cheap in its difficulty.  Most deaths that occur will be entirely up to your own fault.  

I'm rather pleased to say that I have a nice powerful magic user, that can totally wreck bosses, and yet still receive a wrecking from two or three average enemies.  Taking it slowly is my tactic.  Although I will say the framerate in Blighttown was almost a deal breaker. Bugger me it was terrible.

Retro Gaming

Ahhhh the Saturn game time talk time.

This year started rather slow... but then something clicked (addiction) and it flew into high gear.  In general order of me getting them, here we go.

Death Throttle.
A kind of violent crazy taxi viewed from within the cab in the future.  Has a very interesting music selection and controls that feels heavy at first, but kinda flow reasonable well when you get used to them.  Not too bad at all.

SEGA Touring Car
This got hyped to the sky by Sega Saturn Mag and then was a bit of an uncontrollable jerky mess.  It's not terrible, but is nowhere near the quality of SEGA Rally.  Which is kind of what people were expecting as it came out pretty late in the Saturn's life and was done by SEGA themselves.  Playing it now, it's ok.  I've played much worse.  The music is pretty awesome though.

Magical Hoppers
Or Pandemonium as it's known outside of Japan.  I had the PAL version and it's a decent 2.5 dimensional platformer.  I mainly got it to see what differences were made, and aside from cutscenes and a change in the two main character models, that appears to be it.

Night Striker S
An interesting "superscaler" type of game along the lines of Space Harrier, but in a car on a planet.  The car can drive on the ground and fly in the sky.  It seems to demand a high price, but isn't all that spectacular.  Levels and enemies are very similar and it looks a bit samey.  Space Harrier is better.  Night Striker S is rarer.

Race Driving
I mainly got this because it is awful.  I'm not sure how I knew, but I know the conversions of it Hard Driving were bad back in the 80s.  Race Driving (the sequel) even has the original tracks.  And it's just as bad.  Amazingly they completely managed to leave out any sensation of speed. 

In a racing game!?

Hang on GP
Very smooth motor bike racing game with only two tracks I think.  Good cheap fun.

Soviet Strike
I had this for the PlayStation back in the day and it was a bit jerky and not the best.  This Saturn Version is better, although the fascination with digitised graphics curses the game.  The camera is a bit close to the chopper.  I need to spend some more time with it.  I had heaps of fun with Desert and Jungle Strikes, and a bit of fun with Urban and since this is the same kind of thing, once I get used to the zoomed in view, I predict liking this as well.

A kind of shooting FPS role playing game.  Fascinating world with creepy animals and a growth & progression system I don't yet understand.

The Crow
My lust for beat em ups is insatiable.  So I bought this fully knowing how bad it is.  The mag reviews back in the day didn't lie.  It's awful. 
But hilariously so. 
From the way the the controls are tank like first generation Resident evil controls, to the static camera angles messing with inputs.  Oddly the character model is animated very smoothly and he has a variety of moves as well.  Most amusing though is his walk and run cycles, he looks like he's desperately trying to keep a poop from popping out.  It has to be seen to be believed. 

So bad it's good.

Ooh very nice racing game. Most people should know of this game.  It's slightly less refined that 2097 but plays well.  Oddly the boost pads don't quite give you the feeling of speed that you want and the jet stream things while there are a bit lacking in sexiness (and the mesh doesn't bother me that much).

Titan Wars
A space flight shooter using a polygonal world to fly through with polygonal enemies and a sprite for your spaceship.  Live action sci-fi videos to progress the story.  It's kinda fun to play.  It's called Solar Eclipse in some areas.  Also on PlayStation.  Not bad.

Off World Interceptor Extreme
Very similar to Titan Wars, but you're in a car instead.  Again you have a polygonal map to get around and have to nab petrol and ammo as you go while shooting hoards of enemies. 
It's chaotic, like seriously it's a mess.  There is very little skill required.  I would call this game,


Wolf Fang
I must've played this in the arcades once or twice when young.  It's a pretty good run and gun.  You can design a mech to your own style from the selection of bits n pieces and a cool selection of weapons.   I specifically remember the laser being something new in the way it's represented. 

When your mech is ruined, the pilot jumps out and you play as the pilot, until you get hit.  It's two player, has a lot going on and great levels to play through, it was pricey, but worth it.  Recommended.

Gun Frontier
Another pricey one.  A Vertical shmup generally viewed as a precursor to Battle Garagagaegagegaregger. Gameplay wise its pretty basic, but I do like that you can power up the bomb easier than powering up the shot.  Interesting concept, but it suffers from dropping you in bad spawn points after death.  

What I do like about this game though is the aesthetic.  The player's ship looks like a pistol and all the enemies are based on guns and stuff in some whacky way.  I like it.

Three Dirty Dwarves
This one went into the Beat Em Up genre collection.  I've been after it for a while.  I gotta admit, I don't really consider a BMUP as such.  It's along the lines of Pu Li Ru La as most enemies only take a hit or two and there isn't much in the way of combo hits.  Great style though and the music and atmosphere is very good.  I juts find the gameplay a bit lacking.

Sokko Seitokai -Sonic Council
My favourite genre of Vs fighting games.  The girls fighter.  

Well.. almost (it has one guy). Apparently based on characters from a Japanese computer mag comic it's a fairly decent street fighter style game.  Some really nice effects, and copious use of transparencies for effects, a focus on building and using supers as well as a varied selection of themed characters.  Each character represents a Japanese school Bukatsu (after school club activity) such as a science group, volleyball, baseball etc.  

It looks good, sounds good and plays well.

One of the few 2d platformers on the Saturn.  It has prerendered graphics for Gex as he wanders around TV themed worlds.  It's actually not too bad a game and very similar to the PlayStation version.  What I find really interesting though is that Gex has the American voice actor.  When I had this for PlayStation and the PAL version, it was a different voice who sounded a tad classier.

The game is still fun.

Detana Twinbee Deluxe pack
My first Twinbee game.  Gawd damn I find this game hard.  The power up system is tricky requiring shooting the bells to get the power up you want, while avoiding bullets and enemies that fly over the incredibly bright background.  Crazy stuff.  But I'm gonna keep trying.

A fascinating game. 
A 3d platformer along the lines of Tomb Raider, but with a cartoon Ninja Penguin.  The game kinda works as a parkour game, as the goal is to get to the er, goal as soon as possible.  This means that you have to keep running and the momentum up as you sometimes need a triple jump, which is tricky to pull off.  

What I find most fascinating though is the game's graphics engine.  It looks pretty solid and very similar to the one in the Sonic World section of Sonic Jam.  It's not.  But it's very well done, I would have liked to see a few more games use it as it could well have helped improved the "Saturn poor 3d games" machine thinking. 

Slam Dunk the Animation
A basketball game based on a very popular anime.  Nice sprites scaling and the courts looks pretty nice.  When I played it, it felt a tad jerky and I did poorly, but I rarely pay sports game.  The last basketball game I played was NBA Jam in the arcades, and even then it was briefly and only once.  Boomshakalaka

Mr. Bones
Another platformer(or so I thought) which also uses prerendered graphics.  A strange game as each level is pretty much a different game.  While it has a decent story line, some of the levels are pretty badly implemented.  For example, the very first level is a boring run away from the bad guys that goes on for too long.  Sure it makes sense for the story, but it sucks for a game, especially as your first introduction to the game.  Each level has a new gameplay style and of course, not all of them are fun.  

Space Invaders
How much do I need to say?  It's space invaders, simple fun.  It even has the option to simulate the "colour" versions that used coloured cellophane on the cabinet screen.  Quaint.

A big sprited platformer known for impressive graphics.  It's 2d and looks fantastic with great backgrounds and an imaginative world.  It plays... OK.  Not quite worth the price of admission if you ask me.

Thunderforce V
A horizontal Shmup.  I played a LOT of Thunderforce IV on the Megadrive. I don't know why I didn't get this sooner.  

This one was somewhat of a grudge purchase as well... I had access to a car and so drove to a shop I like but don't go to often as it's a bit of pain to get to without a car.  However getting there took me a good half hour longer than I thought it would.  After having a look at their game selection, I spied Thunderforce V, and did a quick price check, and it seemed OK.  So I bought it.

Luckily the game is pretty darn good. Awesome music, fun worlds and decent graphics.  It's polygonal, and sometimes slows down, but fairly enjoyable.   After playing it I thought it was well worth the effort I went to.  Grudge purchase that went well!

Sonic Wings Special
A vertical Shmup that is very average.  I don't mean that in a bad way, it's not terrible, but not amazing.  It does have some interesting screen settings that interest me.  Aside from the usual tate/yoko (standing/sideways) options there is a progressive scan kind of option wish squishes everything up.  I wonder if it was designed for a specific monitor or something.

Tomba! (PlayStation)
A RPG/adventure platformer.  I've wanted to play this for a long a time and friend bagged this and we did a swapperoo.  I had Mortal Kombat 2 which I didn't really like.  It's not bad and has a good fun atmosphere to it.  I think it's also related to Wonderboy somehow.

Mortal Kombat II (Saturn)
Oh man, what a shit conversion this was.  I thought it would be pretty awesome, but while having all the animations for the characters, voice samples are missing, load times mid-fight and lots of other stuff that indicate a total lack of care.  Like its seriously bad.  If you pop a special move, the game will pause to load (sound effects?) sometimes every time!  Obviously this messes with the flow somewhat.  They have allowed some options though.
If you play as Shang Tsung, you can choose a no morph option, or a morph into you opponent option, or a morph into anyone option.  The anyone option then gives you a loading delay mid-match.

What I did find interesting is that with the anyone option, you actually get a lower resolution sprite for both players.  Fascinating.  Some kind of memory saving option?  But even then, it loads anyway, so what's the point?

Here's a sample shot of Baraka:  Left is full res, right is low.

It was a complete cash grab conversion.

Now I want it for my collection again.....

The summary

Overall a pretty good year for me.  I would say this year I spent most of my time on Dark Souls, Shadow of Mordor and Spiderman Miles Morales.  Until I got Mad Max, which I have exclusively played since, oh and was cheap.  In a way my modern gaming has been very cheap this year with lots of free games.  All thanks to COVID-19, which won't just piss off.  I'd rather have paid for games than 2 years of stagnancy and having to mask up every time I leave the house to be completely honest.

Retro game wise has been pretty good, as I've bagged a nice varied selection of games and managed to pick a few games that I wouldn't have really bothered about.  A lot of what I got was either curious 

What's this gonna be like?
This'll be nice for my collection.

I've stated before that my Saturn collecting will have to come to a stop sooner rather than later.  I'm at the point where many of the games I don't have are the ones that command OBSCENE prices for them.  Like seriously, Hyper Dual looks fascinating to me and I want it super badly, but forking out 500 odd bucks for a 20 year old game just can't be justified. I'd rather mode one of my Saturns with one  of those SD card shenanigans.

Hrmm, Project for 2022 methinks.

Anyhoo, my game of the year came down to Mad Max.

A game that has no right being as good as it is.  Truly a bit of a surprise to me and I would love to see a sequel with some expansion in the vehicle combat.  Like the movie Fury Road and Mad Max 2 both have massive trucks, but even the convoys in this game have just small trucks as convoys.  

With a bit of refinement, it could be quite something.  I doubt I'll see a sequel, but Avalanche games, if you happen to be reading this, know that I would buy it (if it's really good even at full price).  OH and also, make a GOOD Just Cause 5 please.  Number 4 was rather lacking and forgot what it was about.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments under moderation until I find around this spam thing.