Hello, and itís a big welcome back to Mr. Batthink, one of the many lurkers that this wonderful site called Destructoid has. For those new to me, and wondering who the hell I am, this amazing lad of 27 years of age who has overcome mental trauma, public and popular distain, as well as the odd mistake in the job-seeking department, and got life back on track (thanks in most part to God). A gamer since the C64 years, Iím on DToidís IRC channel, trying to get attention like the attention-whore that I am, and occasionally farting and sneezing at the same moment (the IRCers there may know what I mean, since they actually saved my documentation of the slightly painful and surprising incident).
Anyway, Iíve had to recently move house, which explains my sudden almost-disappearance from the internet. Still, Iíve been able to use my local libraryís connection, whilst BT constructs a 6MB broadband connection in a bid to keep my custom. That connection better be enough for my Xbox 360 to play online decently.
In the way of gaming, Iíve concentrated my efforts on Far Cry 2 (360), Eternal Sonata (360), SNK Arcade Collection Volume One (PSP), and Star Ocean: First Departure (PSP).
Far Cry 2
I have finished, and found it a worthy enough effort by the boys at Ubisoft. It plays well, with only the frequency of weapon-rust and, subsequently, weapon-jamming becoming an annoyance. Well, that and one particular mission where everything went FUBAR. Upon entering the corrugated iron-shed of the head of one of the factions (war-torn African country, yísee), I spotted the aforementioned target. He cried, ĎCharlie, whatís going on?í before I increased his weight somewhat with a hail of lead bullets. The target then decided to curl up on the floor, and, in the middle of a gunfight with understandably angry bodyguards, spasm out of the building through the south exit. Said bodyguards displayed use of the ability to float upwards against the building, even to the point of shooting through the roof. I knew this was going to be a hard mission, but honestlyÖ
As for Eternal Sonata
, Iíve had to put playing the game on hold. A very lovely looking game, along with a research of Chopinís life that helps the game achieve a personal touch. However, a couple of little stinkers (I wonít name names) misplaced my scart connection at the youth club where I took the 360 to, so Iíll have to wait until I get it back to finish it off. I just hope the ending was a bit better than Far Cry 2ís climax. Note to self: try to persuade someone on Retroforce Go! (DToidís best podcast) to parody Polkaís whiny voice. Hopefully Topher Cantler will be made to have a go.
This has lead me to plug away at the PSP (my DS, for which I need to complete Final Fantasy III, is still being fixed; I canít be bothered to set up the PS2/Wii yet). Iíve completed most of the games (sixteen, count Ďem) on the SNK Aracde Classics
, and I must admit, Iím interested to see what they release for volume two. I heard there was even a version for the little Wii. Do tell me how the controls ended up for that, will you?
Iíve never been a big one-on-one beat-em-up fan (only six foot, sadly), so Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, KOF í94
and World Heroes
(the poor manís time-travel ruckus) did little to change my view. However, Samurai Shodown
(Showdown? A play on Shogun?) actually had me grinning. Playing as Charlotte, I cut, and was cut down by, the opposition in a similar manner to the other bunch of games, but I found it more fun than the rest. Could it have been the fact that less moves were required to learn on each character? Or just fighting with a sword made the difference? Or a final boss where you didnít feel you needed to spam a single move? Either way, I want to check the other games in the series. This might be the beginning of a wonderful relationshipÖ
Otherwise, more diamonds in the rough. Looking a little ragged were Sengoku
and Burning Fight
, a couple of scrolling brawlers that stand in the shadow of Streets of Rage. With tins begging for change. In need of a change was King of the Monsters
(enough said), the half decent Last Resort
couldnít get sued by R-Type because there was no Ďspaceship and droneí copyright and Top Hunter
was an okay platform adventure. And there is no easy mode to Magician Lord
, a game cursed with the most diabolical translation imaginable (ĎBe dead down there!í).
The diamonds started appearing in the form, constructed by the bases upon the dirt within the stadium, of Baseball Stars 2
. To my mind, it is in the running for Best Arcade Baseball Game Ever, unless someone knows a coin-op that says otherwise. The right amount of character, sound effects and drama to draw the casual player in, and enough to enthral the hardcore one.
Then, what can we say about the game that is synonymous with the letters SNK, Metal Slug
? Iím sure you already know that it is the best parody of commando-based shooters out there, with lovely animation and drawings to boot. A little less slowdown could have made things better, but it is still fun. Coming along one year later in the Neo-Geoís life-cycle, and Shock Troopers
could have taken that award that I mentioned above. More arcadey, more-anime-ish than Metal Slug, with a top-down perspective than a side-on one, it has a place in my heart but not on the pages of history.
The only game Iíve left to mention is Neo Turf Masters
, or to put its full title, Neo Turf Masters 3: The Next Glory FX Turbo Hyper Kitchen Sink Unnecessary Long Title Edition (try to guess where I added words). Itís arcade-effort on the beautiful game, whether you call it football or soccer you neednít argue about, since SNK didnít offend anyone by including either word in the title. A very good effort too, but some way of increasing the time of a half surely? This is an arcade classic, after all.
And finally out of the SNK-gasm, and into the RPG haven I regularly inhabit (btw, did SNK do Koldeka, the PS1 RPG with the Worldís First Welsh Videogame Heroine? Iím pretty sureÖ). Star Ocean
is a game that never made its way to British shores in its original SNES form. I am sad about it, but no more. I purchased a copy of the highly-regarded series in its new Directorís-Cut Hyper 2008 Edition for the Sony handheld, and I am happy. It has a ĎStar Trekí plot from the view of those the other side of the Prime Directive. Iíve travelled through the land, levelling up my group to Level 30+ proportions, and Iím about to have a friendly chat with four kings of Roak. No doubt theyíll be happy to see two Earth space-travellers, two be-tailed warriors with the most unlikely hair-colours imaginable, one highlander, one emo-featherfolk (*cough*angel*cough) and a lady handy in orb-mashing (who may or may not be undead), ask about an Eye of somethingorother. A joke can be made out of this, surely?
And for some reason, there seems to be a cut in the first cut-scene of the story. It seems to happen just before Millie announces that Ďitís all settled, thenÖí and then you start control of the game proper. Do you think that short period had to be removed in order to fit the rest of the game in? Would that scene be floating around the internet, the desktop recycling bin or the cutting room floor?
And that brings an end to my activities for the while. By the time you read this, Iíll be seeing if my internet connection is up to snuff on the 360. In the meantime, a little thought; just because Sony isnít doing all that well with the PSP, doesnít mean that theyíve Ďfailedí.
Looking above, itís quite clear why I show my support. Retro-games or new versions of them get released quite a lot on the PSP, and at the beginning, that was nearly all the PSP had on offer. Games like Exit and Loco Roco came out, but didnít help change peopleís minds about the amount of identi-ports. It became a serious problem in my eyes, since I heard a rumour that Level 5 would release a Dark Cloud sequel on it and got me salivating for its mere presence (the game that they eventually released was Jeanne Díarc, an RPG I still havenít had the pleasure of trying). You canít help but feel let down by Sony and their PR.
Nowadays, people here are waiting for that Final Fantasy Game Where You Have A Chance To Beat Up Tidus, but the fact that anyone is fapping to a game that is on a handheld that isnít made by Nintendo is akin to a minor miracle. Sony has done amazingly well to just get a foothold in a market where Nintendo dominate. Remember the Game Gear? The Atari Lynx? The Neo Geo Pocket, even? Didnít they do well? But did they do better than the Sony PSP?
Iíve got a few personal reasons of my own to support it. Europe is getting games that never got on the PSP, like Tales of the World or Star Ocean. This may be true also of the NDS, which I love as well, but that is no reason to knock the other handheld.
Rant over. Soon, Iíll be introducing a new blog with a different topic that you can contribute to. All I can say is that the title is ĎPerfect Matchí. See if you can guess what that means.