Reviews

Retro Game Reviews: The Sonic the Hedgehog Series – A Retrospective

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Retro Game Reviews: The Sonic the Hedgehog Series – A Retrospective

I’m sure we’ve all heard the news by this point. Sega has recently revealed their secret “Project Needlemouse” as Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the next iteration of the 19 year-old Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. I’ve always been a fan of that speed addicted hedgehog that could put Speedy Gonzalez to shame, but even I have to admit that the series has been on a very deadly downward spiral for the better part of the last decade, beginning with the series’ major breakthrough into 3D gameplay in 1999. If Super Mario 64 can be considered a shining example of how to translate a 2D platforming series into 3D, then Sonic could be considered the opposite. While earlier 3D entries weren’t by all means bad, there’s been a very sharp decline in quality with every successive entry, ending with the atrocious Sonic Unleashed. And with fans begging for Sonic’s return to 2D, it seems that Sega is ready to give the fans what they want. But is it too little too late for the little blue speed demon? Where exactly did Sonic go so wrong? Is it even possible for him to redeem himself at this point?
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Retro Game Reviews: Metal Gear Solid (1998)

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Metal Gear Solid. Now that’s a game that I’ve got a long history with. Released in 1998 by Konami, you play as Snake, a retired special ops operative turned mercenary, brought out of retirement to help stop a rogue special ops group from launching a nuclear weapon. I don’t exactly remember what the hype for the game was, given that I was only 10 at the time. However, I remember being excited after playing the demo with my cousin. It was at the time that Pizza Hut was giving out Demo Discs (remember those?) with their pizzas, and we were instantly hooked. Eventually, we began quoting some of the lines from the game, something that persists even to this day. The demo itself was a lot of fun and, once I got the actual game in my hands, I was hooked. But, let’s take off the nostalgia goggles for a moment and see how it holds up today. Read On

Can't wait for Diablo 3? Torchlight has your back

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No, no, Diablo III isn’t out yet.  In the meantime, however, try the game Torchlight.  In fact, it’s an dungeon crawl RPG created by some of the same folks who worked on Diablo, Fate, and the never released Mythos.  Just hop on down to the Torchlight website and download your two-hour trial for free!  If you like it, it’s only twenty bucks for unlimited use.

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Retro Game Reviews: Kingdom Hearts (2002)

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Okay, so there are many who wouldn’t consider this game “retro” just yet, but I mean, the game is almost eight freaking years old already. Where does the time go?

Anyway, I mentioned in my last review that my tendency to overcompensate for the embarrassingly small game library I had in my younger days resulted in my owning a library of games that have gone largely uncompleted, despite the fact that the games have been sitting on my desk for years. Unfortunately, despite how good a game is, something else eventually catches my attention and I move on, revisiting the game at a later date until something else comes along again. It’s a vicious cycle and, unfortunately for me, it has deprived me of the pleasure of complete some pretty awesome games. One of which was Square and Disney‘s Kingdom Hearts.

Despite my excitement for the game when it was announced, I didn’t actually purchase it until nearly four years after the game’s release, relying on borrow the game from friends to get my fix. And, even after buying the game in 2006, it would be almost another four years before I would complete the game. And that is not an exaggeration, having barely completed the game, for the first time mind you, just a few days ago.

For those of you that may have missed the game, Kingdom Hearts is an Action RPG that crosses Final Fantasy with Disney. It may sound like an odd mix, but it works surprisingly well, though Final Fantasy fans might find themselves getting annoyed at the fact that their beloved characters like Cloud Strife, Squall Leonhart (who goes by the alias Leon), and Aerith Gainsborough take a back seat to all the Disney stuff, but the game works well, despite that, especially to fans of Square Enix’s penchant for storytelling. Read On

Retro Game Reviews: Super Mario World (1990)

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As big a gamer as I am, the list of games I played in my younger days is embarrassingly small. So, much like a man who buys a big gun to compensate for having a small penis, I overcompensated in recent years, leaving me with a library of games littered with titles I’ve never finished. Still, even with all those games left to play, I always find myself going back to basics, playing the classics from the small library of games from my past. And out of that small list, there is one game that stands out more than the rest. Nintendo‘s Super Mario World for the SNES. It’s a game that, for me, never gets old. It aged really well and, after nearly 20 years, is still as enjoyable now as it was back then.

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CES 2010: Razer – An Epic Tail of Six Senses

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Razer had one hell of setup at CES this year feature their new, upcoming XBOX360 controller and headset, plus their Sixense controllers. The XBOX360 controller, which was prototyped for the show, brought a whole slew of features. Their hyper responsive buttons employ a switch rather than the standard membrane. What does this mean? Its freaking easy to click, and has nice audible feedback. It has a lit edge, rubberized grip and is a pretty comfortable shape. On the top of the controller are two new shoulder buttons that are programmable via two sliders on the controller back. These two buttons can mimic the functions of any face button, including analog clicks. Speaking of the analog sticks, each has an independent tension dial to allow you to get the “just right” feel on either stick. Its MSRP is slated at $49.99 and will be available in the near future.

The XBOX360 headset was a nice piece of work as well. It features a wired base station that doubles as a charger and 5.1 surround support. When the system is powered off, the base station allows audio pass through so there will be no need to switching your receiver around. For tournament play, the headsets cab ne daisy chained together to provide a private voice chat network. The headset was also a prototype and is said to have an MSRP of $129.00 sometime in the near future.

For me, these two products were pretty nice, but were far out shadowed by the Sixense devkit that was on site. Sixense has been a work in progress and was only recently paired with a custom build of Left for Dead 2 with the help of Valve. We got to see the devkit in action as its developers showed off the motion input controls. Sixense will inevitably be compared to holding two Wii-motes but that would be a VERY bad place let it end. These controllers use a 12′ low-power magnetic field to provide absolute positioning and positional awareness. This product is probably one year from seeing a release but it already looks freaking amazing.

Words alone can not do it justice, pictures and video after the break…
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CES 2010 – Capcom: Hands On Impressions

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Looks like an updated version of Rolento's Stage from Alpha 2

Had some hands on time with Capcom’s upcoming games. Including Super Street Fighter 4, Tatsunoko vs Capcom and Monster Hunter. Also had the chance to see some Dark Void. Hats off to Bear McCreary the soundtrack is flippin great.

Impressions after the break.

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iPhone Game Review: Connect 4

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Some traditional family board games translate well into the modern era in digital format, some simply don’t. Monopoly was one of the first traditional table games to make it to a computer and it’s done fairly well over the various platforms it’s graced, let alone the iPhone. There’s always been a game that I used to love playing but have never before seen move into a digital format and that’s Connect 4. Now thanks to EA, Connect 4 has graced the iPhone with all it’s chip dropping goodness. Read On

Pocohontas as told by James Cameron

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It seems like James Cameron spent many years toying around with the technology to make Avatar the movie a reality. Too bad he couldn’t get an original story around it too. Oh and an original font. The next James Cameron film might as well be a story about a girl who wants to live in a different world, grow real legs and marry a prince, all while using Comic Sans.