A shorter post this time. Figured I'd do a quick writeup of a From Software experience that doesn't make me feel horrible, like what I feel when I play Demon's Souls or Bloodborne (never did play Dark Souls 1 or 2).
My dad got me a Sony Playstation as a surprise gift around 1997 or so. It came with three games: Beast Wars, Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle, and Hexen. I played all three like crazy, even if Beast Wars was pretty bad.
My system came with another disc, though. Oddly enough, I would play this a lot more than other games, at least at first. This disc was a PS1 Demo Disc from 1997.
Remember these things? They're basically a bygone relic of a pre-digital distrubution era, as well as a pre-social media era. Now, companies barely put out demos because they don't want to lose out on sales if the game happens to be low-quality. Back in the days of the Playstation 1, you couldn't get enough of these things. They came with magazines and newspapers. You got them with retail games on occasion. Hell, a couple of free-with-purchase demo discs got me to eat terrible pizza, courtesy of Pizza Hut and their brilliant marketing ploy.
Demo Discs were awesome, albeit a product of their time. Higher file sizes and bigger games meant that the format just faded into the aether, more or less.
The disc from 1997 was a real crowd-pleaser: It had demos of some awesome stuff: Crash Bandicoot 2, Intelligent Qube, PaRappa The Rapper, Jetmoto 2, and, of course, a trailer for Gex: Enter The Gecko, which features voiceover by my favorite comedian, Dana Gould.
Oh, and Armored Core was one of the demos on there, too.
I've always been a huge fan of mech combat games: Cybernator on the SNES was my first real experience with mech combat, and Armored Core would always be compared to it because I had the most fun with Cybernator. Does it live up? Yeah. More or less. It's hard to compare the two since they're completely different styles and on two completely different consoles, but I'd say that Armored Core fulfilled my wishes.
I played the Armored Core demo like crazy. I definitely put more time into this demo than most of the other ones, mostly 'cause I was all about mech combat and blasting away at things with a machine gun. To me, Armored Core played like a grittier, objective-based version of Virtual On that wasn't in arcades, and a lot of the mech movements and animations reminded me of VO, probably out of the fact that they both feature mechs, nothing more than that.
The game hasn't aged particularly well, especially if you aren't a fan of corridor-based shooting. The controls also leave a lot to be desired, but that's common with a lot of earlier Playstation games that needed to be playable without analog sticks. It's worth next to nothing on the aftermarket, so you can totally buy this game for pocket change if you look hard enough.
Come to think of it, you can buy the demo disc for about the same price, too. Don't you wanna check out the hottest games of 1997 for yourself?