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Bargain Bin Laden

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Bargain Bin Laden #38: Thrasher: Skate and Destroy


Jun 11
// 8BitBrian
In the collective consciousness of skateboarding games, Tony Hawk has been the only one to hold the throne. There was never a rivalry, like with 2K Sports and EA Games. Challengers came and went, sure, but for the most part, ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #37: Second Sight


Feb 17
// Jim Sterling
Psychic power in videogames was an idea that had not been fully explored by 2004, and still hasn't been fully whored out, strangely enough. It was a complete and utter shame then, that by some cruel stroke of dastardly coinci...
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Bargain Bin Laden #36: Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening


Feb 07
// Jim Sterling
With Devil May Cry 4 hitting American shelves this past Tuesday, and leaping proudly into the hands of Europeans tomorrow, I thought it was high time we featured some of Dante's exploits in Bargain Bin Laden. I know, I know, ...

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Bargain Bin Laden #35: Killzone


Jan 17
// Jim Sterling
Ah, Killzone, how I weep for thee. Killzone is one of hype's most tragic victims, a game so built up as a "Halo killer" and so expected to be the next big thing in first person shooting, that it was never going to b...
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Bargain Bin Laden #34: Killer7


Jan 10
// Joseph Leray
As the U.S. release of No More Heroes draws nigh, it's only appropriate that this week's Bargain Bin Laden take a look at Killer 7, which, for many gamers, served as an introduction to writer-director Suda51. Killer 7 receive...
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Bargain Bin Laden #33: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty


Jan 03
// Jim Sterling
Ask anybody, I'm a massive Metal Gear Solid fan. For me, Hideo Kojima is a God when it comes to developing characters and storylines in games. This series stands next to Konami's other great line of titles, Silent Hill, and o...
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Bargain Bin Laden #32: Resident Evil 4


Dec 26
// Jim Sterling
Welcome to another edition of Bargain Bin Laden, where we bring you the best of the cheap in the world of games. While some of my previous choices have been quite obscure, today's edition is a game you should all be more than...
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Bargain Bin Laden #31: Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior


Dec 20
// Jim Sterling
The wares of Games Workshop have been a bone of contention throughout much of my life. Drawn in by the wonderful backdrops, the fantastic designs and the lure of an engrossing tabletop game, my only problem so far has been th...
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Bargain Bin Laden #30: Sonic Advance


Dec 12
// Jim Sterling
It's fair to say that Sonic the Hedgehog fell on hard times when the industry moved out of the 16bit era. Despite a few glimmers of hope, the once-beloved mascot never truly coped with the evolution of videogames and has beco...
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Bargain Bin Laden #29: XIII


Dec 05
// Jim Sterling
The first person shooter genre has, for a long time, not been known for its wealth of engrossing, plot-heavy games. With the exception of Valve's Half-Life series, one would be right to think of FPS games as little more than ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #28: Indigo Prophecy


Nov 27
// Jim Sterling
We haven't done this in a while, but you should be pleased (or horrified) to know that I've offered to officially take over Bargain Bin Laden for a while, lest Destructoid fans be without knowledge of the best games currently...
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Bargain Bin Laden #27: Silent Hill 2


Oct 17
// Colette Bennett
Oh, poor Aaron Linde. He doesn't realize what he's done. By lending the reins of BBL to me this week and approving the rabid horror enthusiast within to venerate Silent Hill 2, you may be stuck with one of the most long winde...
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Bargain Bin Laden #26: Taito Legends 1 & 2


Oct 11
// Tristero
[Hey all, Linde here. I know it's been awhile since I've been regular with the BBL updates, but what with review crew and Podtoid and all, keeping it up to date has been kinda tough. But rather than let the ol' column fizzle ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #25: Bushido Blade


Sep 09
// 8BitBrian
You want a realistic game? It doesn't get much more realistic than Bushido Blade. Imagine a fighting game where if you take a solid hit, you're done. It wouldn't be much fun, now would it? That's where you're wrong. It's inte...
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Bargain Bin Laden # 24: The Legend of Dragoon


Sep 02
// Joseph Leray
As our revered Mr. Monocle informed us last week, the venerated Aaron Linde is in Budapest eating bears, as we speak! So, I was asked to cover this week's Bargain Bin Laden, and I humbly accepted. This week, I want to retrosp...
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Bargain Bin Laden #23: Metal Arms: Glitch in the System


Aug 26
// Jim Sterling
Hi gang, once again I'm holding down the fort while much of the staff are out of the office, which is why I'm covering Aaron Linde's Bargain Bin Laden post for today. I'm very pleased to be able to write it this week as well,...
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Bargain Bin Laden #22: Psychonauts


Aug 12
// Aaron Linde
Psychonauts. Yeah, I know -- sort of like Beyond Good and Evil, one of those games that needs no introduction, that almost hourly enjoys some sort of running of the mouth by one journalist or another. I'm introducing it as su...
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Bargain Bin Laden #21: R-Type Final


Aug 04
// Earnest Cavalli
Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, "I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #20: Gunstar Super Heroes


Jul 30
// Aaron Linde
Today, BBL rolls up on the big two-oh. I was planning on some grand gesture to celebrate, like some sort of Destructoid team photo where we're all fighting each other while riding bears or something, but I hear that's illegal...
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Bargain Bin Laden #19: Otogi


Jul 22
// Aaron Linde
Things look pretty bleak for the next month or so, don't they? Ah, summertime -- when the gaming industry actually offers a pretty compelling excuse to get off your ass and get outside. There's not much between here a...
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Bargain Bin Laden #18: Maximo


Jul 08
// Aaron Linde
You guys smell that? Oh yes, it smells like violent death. That's right, kids, welcome the newest inductee into the "So Bloody Hard It's Awesome" club of BBL selections: Maximo: Ghosts to Glory!Now, bear in ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #17: Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga


Jul 01
// Aaron Linde
There's a particular point in this week's BBL that I'm going to say now, because I'll invariably get kicked in the face for saying so -- let's get the face-kickin' out of the way as quick as possible. ...
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Bargain Bin Laden #16: Zone of the Enders


Jun 24
// Aaron Linde
Long-time BBL readers know that I'm no stranger to giant robots. You might recall when I covered... huh, okay, no giant robots in the games I've covered, anyway. But I dated one in college, which was awkward, especial...
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Bargain Bin Laden #15: Crimson Skies


Jun 10
// Aaron Linde
Today we reach back to hallowed antiquity in a loosely related sort of way. Back in The Day I covered an oft-overlooked title for BBL called Sky Odyssey, and it's difficult to write up this week's feature, Crimson Skies: High...
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Bargain Bin Laden #14: Freedom Fighters


Jun 02
// 8BitBrian
Aaron Linde is busy hunting terrorists with Jack Bauer, so I'm taking over Bargain Bin Laden this week. This week's game, Freedom Fighters, is one that I've actually discussed with Mr. Linde at some length. This i...
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Bargain Bin Laden #13: Dragon Quest VIII


May 13
// Aaron Linde
This week's selection ain't exactly obscure, but it is one of the best RPGs ever made. If you haven't already played Dragon Quest VIII, it's likely that you've spoken with someone who has, or read one of t...

Super Bargain Bin Laden Gaiden Turbo EX: The Red Star

Apr 28 // Aaron Linde
The Red Star (PS2)Developed by: Acclaim (sans their hallmark suckery, mind)Released: April 24, 2007Bargain Binned on Arrival: Only $19.99 new, but you might have trouble finding it. Read on to find out why.The story behind Red Star, as I understand it, goes something like this: Acclaim developed a game based on the graphic novel of the same title by Archangel Studios, completing what was essentially a finished product in 2004. Around that time, Acclaim had finally gone belly-up and bankrupt, and Red Star went off the radar. XS Games bought the rights to publish the title and, with some help from Union Entertainment, made some minor tweaks and improvements and set The Red Star in line for release in late 2006. Ask anybody who was looking forward to this game and they'll tell you terrible tales of watching the release date push back again, and again, and again. For all the trouble of rescuing The Red Star from limbo, XS Games couldn't seem to hammer down a firm date. Then, to the surprise of just about everybody, the game suddenly -- and perhaps magically -- shipped to stores on April 24th, earlier this week.Some caveats, though. Since the PS2 has come to be regarded as more or less inert by retailers in the face of next-gen, there has been little to no push by the major brick-and-mortar shops to get this game sold. I've heard that many GameStops around the country received few, if any, copies of this game, provided they weren't pre-ordered in full ahead of time. Ask for Red Star by name and employees will stare at you blankly. This is a low-profile release with what looks to be extremely limited shipping numbers; your best bet to find a copy is either the we'll-sell-anything department stores and online merchants.  Keep at it. It's worth seeking out.The Red Star can be best described as an old-school mixtape of gameplay; there's some Final Fight, some Smash TV, some Ikaruga, and plenty of style to boot. Where many games have sought the kind of smooth blend of a variety of genres into one complete game, few have done it so well as The Red Star. At first glance, the game seems a relatively familiar beat-'em-up sort of game, with some pretty hip combination attacks, juggles, and air combos to shake things up. Building upon this foundation, The Red Star complicates the genre by infusing the ass-kickin' with a healthy dose of shmup, equipping your character with three different long-range weapons. If you're wondering how that works, I'll tell you: surprisingly well.Each of The Red Star's three characters -- Kyozo, Makita, and Maya -- all control very differently, have various strengths and weaknesses, and offer three unique ways to play the game. Regardless of which character you choose, The Red Star's combat flow remains largely the same. Combat is composed of two primary focuses: melee and long-range, adapted from beat-'em-ups and shmups, respectively. For the most part, you'll be using melee to handle the ground troops that come after you, reserving your firearms for crowd control and weakening enemies from a distance. There's also those great and terrible shmup-style bosses, but we'll get to those in a minute. The controls are simple enough: square is your basic attack which is linkable into combos, the cross button activates your shield, and circle fires whatever gun you currently have selected. Holding R1 while attacking activates special attacks unique to each of the game's characters, and linking these special attacks with basic strikes is the key to pulling off some really brutal combos. The huge variety of baddos in Red Star come in all shapes and sizes, some of whom are weak to melee attacks over shooting and vice versa, keep things from getting stale as you work your way through the game. One of the biggest draws of Red Star, however, are the bosses.Imagine a boss from Ikaruga, one of them huge mechanical beasties that sling a hojillion bullets at you from every angle. Similar tyrants bookend the levels in Red Star, and they're an absolute riot. As you near the target, the camera swoops up to assume a more comprehensive perspective, granting the player a more traditional top-down view on the boss battle. While you're gunning down weak points, you're also made to dodge complex and swift bullet patterns and, in the later levels, negotiate some melee targets while you're at it. It gets a bit messy, but it's a whole lot of fun, and it's the infusion of shmup elements into The Red Star that really makes it feel like a complete experience. Some of the later bosses are simply unforgettable.And like any worthy shmup or brawler, The Red Star offers co-operative play throughout the game, and working your way through with a buddy makes for a hell of a good time. One frustrating element to the combat in Red Star is wrapping up a combo just as a cadre of thugs have lined up to hand you your ass, which they do, just as soon as that attack animation wraps up. If you've got someone watching your back, it makes for a slightly more forgiving experience throughout the game. The help is definitely handy, especially in the later levels when the difficulty ramps up and The Red Star's biggest flaw rears its ugly head: no mid-stage checkpoints, and a level-by-level save system. While the game might feel a bit easy at first, you'll definitely feel the absence later on. Length is another issue. The Red Star can be knocked out in a matter of hours -- which is what you might expect from a game from either of the genres that influence it -- and when you finally lay the final boss to sticky pulp, you're left wanting a little more. Fortunately, having three completely different characters with which to tackle the campaign adds a great deal of replay value. Co-op goes a long way in extending the life of The Red Star, too. For a gamer like me, Red Star has just about everything I need. Solid gameplay, great co-op, and it doesn't look half bad, either (it even has progressive scan). It's not quite a shooter, not quite a beat-'em-up -- The Red Star has many faces, and you'll see 'em all in every level throughout the game. Can't beat that for twenty bucks.  
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Good evening and happy Friday, friends, and welcome to a special edition of Bargain Bin Laden. As those of you familiar with how we work it up here in Bargainville (located in northern Dealvania) are already aware, covering n...

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360 backwards compatibility update includes Panzer Dragoon, others


Apr 19
// Aaron Linde
Holy God, Microsoft just answered two of my biggest prayers. The latest upcoming backwards compatibility update for the Xbox 360 covers a round of half-decent titles, but also includes the A-List But Sadly Forgotten (And Thus...
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Bargain Bin Laden #12: Scurge: Hive


Apr 15
// Aaron Linde
This week's Bargain Bin Laden begins with a personal gripe: Nintendo and NST really crapped in my cereal with Metroid Prime: Hunters. Not because it was a bad game -- quite the contrary, actually -- but just because the o...
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Bargain Bin Laden 11: Contra: Shattered Soldier


Apr 08
// Aaron Linde
Happy Holy Zombie Day, pixies -- since all but ten to fifteen of you have meandered towards a computer and away from drunken relatives arguing over divinity and chocolate eggs and large sums of borrowed money, I figure I'...

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