With a relative dearth of games I'm interested in lately, and just new games in general I, like many others have been raiding their back catalog's in order to squeeze a few more drops of fun-juice out of games we might otherwise never play again (or at all if you're anything like me).
Completely unable to make such an important and complex decision as "What to play?", I rely mostly on a random game generator at the moment although I've been focusing on trying to clear my NES collection. So I'm gonna talk briefly some of what I've played in the last month or so and whether or not I could recommend them to anybody:
Bart vs The Space Mutants - NES Status: Completed
Frustrating controls, terrible and repetitive music, unclear and outright bizarre puzzles at times and sub-par basic platforming make this game one to be avoided. Yeah, most people know this game is terrible anyway but like a couple others on this list, I wanted it out of the way. Only play this if you're a masochist, game historian, nutjob, idiot, or the world's biggest Simpsons fan and you've literally run out of Simpson's games to play. The worst part about this, is there there are in fact worse Simpson's games...
Recommended? Absolutely not.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - NES Status: Completed
Another absolutely terrible NES game. Again, purely wanted to tick it off the list. I did end up having a small amount of fun with this game though, just because of how ridiculous it is, a few pints made playing this a laugh. Awful controls, abysmal level design, broken and buggy enemies, fucking bizarre bosses and shit music.
Recommended? Yes. But only for the sheer spectacle of it. You have to see some of it to believe it.
My expression for most of the game
The Battle of Olympus - NES Status: Incomplete
This one is actually pretty decent. It's got mildly awkward controls that take a bit of getting used to, but once you start to upgrade your equipment by meeting the various gods you're able to pretty easily take down most enemies and bosses, provided you figure out a few tricks here and there. It's got reasonable graphics for an NES game and pretty varied locations, enemies and bosses. It gets frustrating in areas but overall I had a lot of fun with it so far, I'm on the home stretch but don't have access to my PC just yet having just moved. Yes, I'm playing these on emulator despite owning the carts. It's a solid action-adventure with some RPG elements.
Recommended? Yeah, just don't expect Zelda or Contra levels of quality.
Limbo - XBLA Status: Complete
What a beautiful game. I was a little skeptical at first simply because I was worried the core gameplay might be too simple and a little boring, but there are some fiendishly clever puzzles and only a tiny amount of frustration to be had. The controls work well, nothing special but they get the job done, there's not too much need to high levels of precision. The world itself is gorgeous, creepy and uninviting, and the HUD-less gameplay helped with immersion, I feel we don't see enough HUD-less games.
I was reminded of a lot of similar classic games, Heart of Darkness, Another World, Flashback and even of the cult British kids TV show, Trapdoor.
Perfect Dark HD - XBLA Status: Incomplete
I didn't like this when it was originally released on the Nintendo 64, but rather like Metal Gear Solid 2 I think as I've changed a lot personally since I was what, 14 or 15 when this released? I've done somewhat of a switcheroo of opinion.
I've been really enjoying playing it fresh, the HD version looks crisp and nice, there's some varied and interesting levels and while I can forgive some of the slightly frustrating aspects of it given it's age I do wish they'd made more of an effort to re-do the controls for the re-release. I'm currently shooting for the achievements so I'm only about halfway through it on Perfect Agent difficulty and it's really starting to kick my arse.
Solid shooting action, some interesting puzzles and objectives scattered throughout a nicely varied set of locations. Great game.
The Last of Us - PS3 Status: Completed
I don't need to say too much about this, I wrote a lengthy blog about it a little while ago. I didn't talk too much about the game itself though but I will say I had my issues with it. But most of them were issues of potential, there was a lot of things I wanted The Last of Us to be (Survival Horror, for one) which it just wasn't. But I can't bring myself to let that nitpicking get in the way for once. Which is rare for me.
Highly polished stealth action with some really unique twists and turns in both gameplay and the exceedingly high quality plot.
Recommended? Abso-fucking-lutely. The Last of Us is great and while I feel a slew of 10/10's might be a little too much, you should still definitely play it.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 - 3DS Status: Incomplete
Only a couple worlds in, I got it free with my new 3DS and have been playing it while waiting for Project X Zone to arrive. This is the second game in this blog to surprise me. I did not like NSMB1 very much and so imagine my surprise when I had a big childish grin on my face as I stomped my way through the first world. It's got solid platforming controls that perhaps don't quite come close to the classic Mario Bros, Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World, but are still responsive and slick enough to guide you through the games interesting and entertaining levels, a lot of the old nostalgic enemies are back (as well as some of the more bizarre and less interesting ones) and are just as fun to stomp on. There's a somewhat bizarre emphasis on collecting coins, though, and it seems too easy for the most part so far. But that's ok.
Recommended? I wouldn't pay £35 for it, but yes.
LAIR - PS3 Status: A piece of shit.
I thought Bart vs The Space Mutants and Home Alone 2 were bad. Holy fuck they look like retro classics compared to LAIR. I believe LAIR was a launch PS3 game (although I'm not sure about the US, as EU PS3 launch was delayed 6 months) and I remember it being heavily criticised for it's fucking awful Sixaxis control scheme.
"Oh don't worry, they updated it to use traditional flying controls. It's fine now." a fan of the game advised me as I picked it up for something like £4. The controls are fucking unusable, the game is borderline unplayable. You control a dragon rider who's job is usually to perform some bullshit tasks on a large battlefield, such as taking out enemy dragons or large units, protecting barge's as they move slowly down a river, etc.
This fish is less slippery than the controls in LAIR
It's got some interesting set pieces and locations, but as a launch game both the framerate and graphics are pretty abysmal, even for a launch game. There's next to nothing to be found here in terms of plot or story at least as far as I got into the game.
The game uses somewhat standard flight controls, you've got a boost button and an airbrake, as well as looking around to determine your direction. But the dragon turns and sways like a fucking zeppelin caught in an updraft. It's nearly impossible to maneuver precisely enough to initiate combat with enemy dragon riders, and when you do it becomes a clusterfuck of unresponsive sixaxis bullshit and an asinine combat minigame that has you pressing buttons to block the enemy dragons attack and counter-attack, but it's usually more effective to just mash on the "Breath fire" button.
Lair is an unplayable piece of shit.
Recommended? Not even if somebody offers it to you for free.
That's the highlights, I also played some other NES games and attempted (and failed) to get into Advance Wars again. My random game selector this time, moving away from the NES stuff for a bit, has given me Croc: Legend of the Gobbos to play through. Which should be interesting because I know one of the developers, and remember hating it as a child.
What have you been playing? How are your back catalog's looking? Do you have a lot to play or just a handful of things? I want to hear what you've all been playing and what you thought of it.