Retro Games

Retro Gaming Reviews: Parasite Eve (Squaresoft, 1998)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Parasite Eve (Squaresoft, 1998)

In the late 90s, with the popularity of the survival horror genre on the rise, RPG giant Square decided to throw its hat into the ring with its own take on the genre.  The result was Parasite Eve, a survival horror/RPG hybrid based on the 1995 Japanese novel of the same name.

The first Square game to ever be rated Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating BoardParasite Eve was a bit of a departure from Square’s standard repertoire of fantasy titles, such as the Seiken Densetsu series and, of course, Final Fantasy. Released in 1998 on the original PlayStation, it was not an adaptation of the original novel, but rather a continuation of it.  Taking place in New York City some time after the events of the novel, the game introduces a brand new cast of characters alongside the new setting.

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Crash Bandicoot (Naughty Dog, 1996)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Crash Bandicoot (Naughty Dog, 1996)

When people think of platformers, characters like Mario or Sonic are usually the ones that come to mind, being the most prominent and well known among gamers. But, back in the mid-90s, another would-be mascot graced the video game world; one that had the potential to rise to greatness before crashing and burning when the original developers moved on to bigger and better things. I am, of course, talking about Crash Bandicoot.

Released in 1996, Crash Bandicoot was seen as newcomer Sony’s answer to popular mascots Sonic and Mario. A 3D platformer, the game put Naughty Dog on the map, a company that would eventually go onto such projects as the Jak and Daxter series and the Uncharted series. And, while the Crash Bandicoot series would fall by the wayside after Naughty Dog moved on, the original games would remain classics.

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Zone of the Enders (2001)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Zone of the Enders (2001)

If the name Hideo Kojima comes up, chances are that you’ll probably equate his name with the Metal Gear Solid series. Many other titles he’s worked on often get overshadowed due to the popularity of Metal Gear. In fact, you could probably list titles of games he’s worked on to Metal Gear fans and they probably won’t know what you are talking about. Add to the fact that games like Snatcher and Policenauts were never released in the US and it’s easy to see where the lack of recognition. However, there was a series Kojima produced that was released in the US that, again, was rather ignored. That is the giant robot action game known as Zone of the Enders.

During production of Metal Gear Solid 2 and the impending release of the PlayStation 2, Kojima’s team began working on an anime inspired mech action game, taking place in the 22nd Centure. While it was a good concept, it is evident that being developed side by side with Metal Gear Solid 2 hurt the game. It felt rather clunky and rushed to release. It was fun…to an extent. But in the end, the game was rather short and left the player feeling a bit unfulfilled. Read On

Retro Gaming Reviews: The Final Fantasy Series – A Retrospective

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Retro Gaming Reviews: The Final Fantasy Series – A Retrospective

23 years is a long time for a video game series, or any series for that matter. I mean, think about it. Assuming the average wait time between games is about 2 years, that means an average of about 11 games will have been released for that series. It’s a rather daunting thought, especially if you’re a game developer. Aside from Nintendo games and sports games, you don’t really see any game series’ reaching the double digits, at least not while becoming incredibly stale in the process. However, despite recently having released its 13th installment, not counting spin-offs or remakes, Final Fantasy still continues going on strong. Sure, some of the more recent games, while critically acclaimed, have drawn the ire of series fans, though whether this is due to an actual decline in quality or an increasingly unpleasable fanbase is debatable. Still, for a series that’s gone on for 13 games, with a 14th in the works and due for release later this year, Final Fantasy is doing pretty well for itself. But how did Final Fantasy come to be? And how did it survive this long? Read On

Retro Gaming Reviews: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (2007)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (2007)

Meet the Protagonist: Zack Fair

Look, I already know what you’re going to have to say, so you don’t have to say it. Crisis Core IS NOT a retro game. In fact, the game was released in 2007 in Japan and 2008 here in the US, so it isn’t even borderline retro. However, following my FFVII review, my plan was to take a crack at possibly the most polarizing of Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy VIII. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII left me wanting more, possibly due to the game being so overhyped and so I decided to break out my copy of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, which I had put on hold after losing my data when my old PSP was stolen. And, finally having Final Fantasy VII under my belt, I felt it was finally time to go through it once more and finish what I started. So, consider this a supplement to my Final Fantasy VII review as I delve further into the mythology of the world of Final Fantasy VII. Read On

Retro Gaming Reviews – Final Fantasy VII (1997)

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Retro Gaming Reviews – Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Cloud and his crew arrive at the Gold Saucer.

Given that I’m a big fan of plot heavy video games, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m a fan of the Final Fantasy series. After all, RPGs in general tend to be all about the story and the Final Fantasy series, along with The Legend of Zelda, is probably one of the most widely known RPG series, thanks in part to Squaresoft’s (now Square Enix) Final Fantasy VII for the Sony PlayStation. In fact, prior to Final Fantasy VII, the series had not yet hit the mainstream scene on an international scale. While definitely a popular series in Japan, North America had only seen a few glimpses of the series in the form of Final Fantasy I, IV, and VI (II, III, and V were not released outside of Japan) and Europe hadn’t even seen a Final Fantasy release until Final Fantasy VII. Read On

Retro Gaming Reviews: Mega Man X (1993)

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Retro Gaming Reviews: Mega Man X (1993)

When you think side-scrolling shooters, it’s hard not to think of Mega Man, the little blue robot whose NES offerings, especially the earlier entries were notorious for their difficulty. And even after the SNES hit the market, Capcom continued releasing new entries on the NES, a practice that went on for about 3 years before Capcom finally felt ready to take the series into the 16-bit age. However, when the time finally came for the series to make its grand debut on the SNES, rather than be greeted by the familiar Blue Bomber, Capcom introduced us to Mega Man X, his slightly more mature and edgier counterpart. Read On

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

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