Showing posts from October, 2017

Treat - Silent Hill: Origins (Playstation Portable) - Ramblin' Review

Be Travis Grady, trucker. Be tired, driving at night through the rain. Decide to take shortcut by Silent Hill to get to destination quicker. Weirdo in a cloak comes dashing out of the woods into the road. Slam on your breaks. Get out to check on weirdo, isn't there anymore. Look at sideview mirror, see ghostly girl in mist approaching from behind. Turn around. Nothing there. Look in mirror, girl closer. Turn back to look, still nothing there.
Then, a little girl appears. Try to get girl's attention to talk to her, she runs off, disappearing into the fog. Start walking into the girl's general direction through the fog, end up in Silent Hill. See house on fire, run over there to see if anyone is in there. Walk through burning building, save on fire little girl. Pass out.

So begins the portable entry (later ported to PS2) of Silent Hill, which is a prequel to explain the events leading up to the first game. It starts off creepy, as it should, and feels very familiar. Issues …

Trick - Beetlejuice (NES) - Ramblin' Review

Beetlejuice holds a very rare distinction among video games in my memory. It was one of the very few games that I played as a kid that I just knew was horrible, but couldn't pull myself away from playing. It was based on possibly my favorite movie between the ages of 5-8, and as such I felt compelled to play through it, even if it wasn't as good as the movie. After I got a little older, I started to dislike the movie, as well. It just didn't really appeal to me anymore, for some reason, and I found that I started to enjoy the game more as I got older.
It isn't even that the movie got worse, or that the game got any better, I just changed my opinion on them for unknown reasons.
So, I still haven't watched Beetlejuice again as an adult, but I do know that I most certainly played this again, and it has aged as well as you'd expect- like milk on a hot day.

Where to start with this hot mess? You play as the titular Beetlejuice, and the first thing you'll probab…

Hotel Transylvania (3ds) - Ramblin' Review

Hotel Transylvania is obviously a licensed game made to help promote the animated Adam Sandler vehicle that was mostly appropriate for children. In it, Dracula has turned his castle into a large hotel in the woods of Transylvania as a safe place for monsters to go and hide from humans. He has done this because his wife, and mother of his child, is captured and burned by humans. He then takes on the role of an understandably overprotective father, and raises his daughter in the safety of the hotel, which is hidden from humanity by ways of an enchanted forest. At least, it's supposed to be. A bumbling human hiker, named Johnny, somehow makes his way to the hotel, and Dracula discovers him wandering around during his daughter's 118th birthday party before anyone notices, and captures him to disguise him as a monster to prevent a riot from his guests.
Along the way, many hijinks ensue, and his daughter, Mavis, falls in love with him.
In this game, Johnny has been kidnapped, and yo…

Switch Effect - Guest review for Revenant Saga

I recently did my first review for The Switch Effect, Revenant Saga on Nintendo Switch. Go check it out and crawl around the page. They have more reviews and some interviews to peruse. Whenever I post an article over there, I'll be sure to provide a link here, as well.

Revenant Saga on The Switch Effect

Nintendo Switch Holiday Buyer's Guide - 2017

Haunted Halloween '86: The Curse of Possum Hollow (Steam) - Ramblin' Review

While I tried to avoid including two games from the same series in my celebration of Halloween this month, this one was just too good to overlook. The biggest task a developer has when creating a sequel to their own game is to make a game that is familiar enough without seeming like a reskin. Retrotainment outdid themselves by creating a masterpiece that built on the original release, and cranked everything up to 11 with this soulful follow up. 

First off, you're given the option to play as two characters that can be swapped on the fly using the select button. This welcome feature extends your health by allowing you to switch to your reserve as the first gets low on health, and they made them familiar, but distinct enough in playstyles that switching between them isn't jarring, but makes them feel unique. Donny returns in his original punching form, and Tami relies on kicks as her primary mode of attack. 

To go along with this, you are also given the ability to upgrade your c…

Kid Dracula (Gameboy) - Ramblin' Review

In my buddy Colonel Fancy's Halloween Special review for Mr. Bones on the Sega Saturn (which I had never heard of), he opens by letting us know that he didn't want to cover the traditional horror genre staples since they had been done to death. It's a sentiment I shared when I set out on this journey of mine. While I did somewhat bend the rule by covering Resident Evil Gaiden, I thought that this was justified because it's obviously the outcast of the series, and most people don't take handheld versions of many games seriously. They're always watered down, which is often the case, but many still end up being amazing games.  This week, I'm bending the rule again. While I honestly could have made half of this month Castlevania games, seeing as how it is one of my favorite series of all time, and I can do a play by play commentary of SoTN in my head from memory, I decided that if I were to include the series, it would have to be this family friendly parody, m…

Yomawari: Night Alone (Vita) - Ramblin' Review

Yomawari: Night Alone is an interesting take on the survival horror genre. While it isn't the first game to make you explore a poorly lit area with no means of defending yourself, it does seem to be one of the few that puts you in a nightmare world that is all too familiar, and charges you with traversing this dangerous world as a very young, but very determined little girl.

We start the game by reaching the end of our nightly walk with our dog. This brief journey home is a convenient means of teaching us the basics of the game. Hold R to run, hold L to tiptoe, interact with items using "X", and pull up an inventory using the triangle button. Dpad and left analog stick moves your character around, and Start pulls up the map. The map will become more useful later on, as it is has a few already marked areas of interest.  So, on the way home, amidst the tutorial for using items that you have in your inventory, I threw my newly found rock into the road, and my dog chased af…

Violett (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Earlier this month when I began doing reviews, I noticed that the different point and click adventure games that I was playing would work so well on modern devices with their touchscreen interfaces, and was kind of confused as to why we really weren't getting more games or remakes in the genre. Enter Violett, a modern take on the classic point and click games of yore, with a whimsical art style that feels equal parts Coraline and Calvin and Hobbes. 

Exposition in the game itself is very light, and introduces the premise through an animated cutscenes that opens the game. A little girl is moving to the countryside with her parents, and doesn't seem too happy about the remote location, despite the house itself being a gorgeous piece of architecture. We get inside the house, and Violett's parents are having an argument. Violett escapes to her room, and she discovers a mouse hole in the wall. She reaches in to investigate, and pulls out an old necklace charm or brooch that beg…

Dementium Remastered (3DS) - Ramblin' Review

Short bit of history- developer Renegade Kid had taken Dementium as a prototype to Konami intended as a Silent Hill game, but were turned down. They proceeded to turn it into their own IP, and released it on October 26, 2007. In most North American timezones, this review will be posting on the game's tenth anniversary, which is a really cool coincidence that I had not noticed when I decided that today would be the day I reviewed this game, which I knew that I was going to do at the onset of this series. In fact, it's one of the few games that I planned on reviewing beforehand, primarily because it's both a survival horror game and it's made by an indie developer. While now "defunct" (Renegade Kid has split into "Atooi" and "Infitizmo"- the latter of which owns the rights to Dementium), I still wanted to make sure that I featured such an innovative game originally made for the DS.  It was revealed in 2014 via Twitter that Renegade Kid now …

htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary (Vita) - Ramblin' Review

This oddly, and redundantly, titled Vita puzzle platformer htoL#NiQ (Hotaru no Nikki- which translates to "The diary of the firefly") The Firefly Diary, takes place in a futuristic world that is both beautiful and oppressive.
An amnesiac girl awakens with no memory, and is guided on her journey through this post apocalyptic, heavily industrialized wasteland by a little firefly. You control the firefly by way of the touchscreen, and must use the firefly's relative position and direction to guide Mion, the amnesiac girl, around obstacles, up and down platforms, and away from shadow creatures.

The game also makes use of the Vita's back touchscreen by allowing you to tap the screen to go into the shadow world. While in the shadow world, you control the shadow of the firefly to travel through the shadows and interact with any other creatures or mechanisms with a glowing purple light. Generally if you find yourself stuck in any given section of a level, it is best to have…

Devilish (Game Gear) - Ramblin' Review

Devilish is an interesting twist on the classic breakout formula. Instead of just bouncing a ball off of a paddle to break blocks by hitting them in succession, but you also progress through each level on rails, defeating enemies as you go.
There are even a few pinball mechanics to help keep the experience fresh and original, such as holes and saucers.
There is even an occasional boss fight, usually activated by scoring a certain amount before a specific section of the level or breaking the appropriate boxes before the level progresses on it's own. Bosses are fought like the other blocks and enemies placed throughout the level, which is by bouncing the ball off of it. There's no health bar, so projectiles fired by the bosses merely act as distractions, as you can only fail by allowing the ball to drop off the bottom of the screen.

To assist you in keeping the ball in play, there are various configurations of the three paddles that you may switch through using the "1"…

Serial Cleaner (Steam) - Ramblin' Review

Serial Cleaner starts off with a cinematic introduction reminiscent of seventies action movies. Funky music, cars, shades and sideburns aplenty. It perfectly sets the tone for the game's environment. You play as the cleanup man for the mafia. You receive phone calls telling you where to go, then hop in your station wagon to dispose of bodies, collect evidence, vaccum blood, and maybe find some nice things for yourself as well.

When you get into your first mission (called "contracts") , you are tasked with recovering the victim's wallet and body. You need to sneak around the "enemies" on patrol (in the first level it was security guards, but it's usually cops after), collect any evidence or extras that you come across, and then recover the body (bodies in later stages), and then carry the body back to your station wagon. In other stages, you will have to clean up a certain amount of blood before you can finish the stage. There will be various body dispo…

Mutant League Football (Genesis) - Ramblin' Review

Mutant League Football is another interesting example of when Electronics Arts was still a company that excelled at innovation and quirky software releases. The developer proposed a monster themed version of Madden (using the Madden 93 engine) that allowed players to kill other players and the referee. Coaches talked smack about the opposing team and their own players. They encouraged dirty tricks, but disparaged players over getting caught.  There were landmines placed around the field, and exploding balls that could be tossed as an intentional interception that would destroy the receiving player. It was fueled by a late eighties hard rock soundtrack and illegible jibberish that was super absurd, and we loved the hell out of it. With the impending release of a modern day treatment by the original creator, Michael Mendelheim, it seemed a fitting way to conclude my "play as the monster" theme week. 

You start off the game choosing the team you wish to play as, and they have …

Splatterhouse 3 (Genesis) - Ramblin' Review

Splatterhouse 3 is the culmination of a trippy of horror beat 'em ups that epanned the arcade, TurboGrafx, and Sega Genesis consoles. If you've never played any of the games, I'll give you a quick rundown with some minor spoilers.
In the first game, college couple Rick and Jennifer wander into the purportedly haunted Mansion of Dr. West, a para-psychologist that has gone crazy and conducts unethical experiments. Jennifer is killed, and Rick is possessed by a Mayan artifact called the "terror mask" that grants it's wearer superhuman strength and has an insatiable bloodlust. Rick proceeds to kill everything to avenge Jennifer's death.
Enter the second game, where the mask returns and convinces Rick that Jennifer doesn't have to die this time, as long as he puts on the mask. Punch everything to death, Jennifer lives.
That's where we are for the third entry. Fast forward five years and Rick and Jennifer have a child together named David.
Jennifer and …

Spooky Bonus!! The Count Lucanor (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

Count Lucanor is a macabre adventure game with pixelated graphics and Bach- inspired chiptune music tracks. It not only creates an amazing atmosphere, but the minimalist graphics and sparse music and sound effects create a great sense of mystery, and the details your imagination fills in are more terrifying than what often cannot be seen. 

You begin your journey as Hans, whom is a poor child living in the countryside. When returning home, he asks his mother what she has bought him for his birthday, and it is revealed that they cannot afford any special treats. An ungrateful Hans replies that he is tired of being poor, and that he is going to leave like his father did(his father left for war, but never returned) to pursue his fortune.  His mom, concerned, but wanting to be supportive, gives Hans three gold coins, his grandfather's cane, and a wheel of cheese. 

Ten year old Hans then says goodbye to his dog, and looks around his yard for the last time. He sets off into the labyrint…

Elliot Quest (Switch) - Ramblin' Review

In this action platformer with lite RPG elements, you'll be playing as Elliot. You're on a quest (lol) to...actually, it's not entirely clear at the beginning of the game. But, wait, Ricky, hypothetical reader says to me...why are you including this game in your "play as the monster" week? Well, I'll enlighten you. 

Elliot, is immortal. You see, his wife has disappeared, and he just couldn't go on without her. The game puts you in his shoes at the point in which you get to experience this backstory, is at Elliot's rock bottom. He has brought himself to a cliff to end it all, and he (you) hurls himself from the cliff, only to fall and...not die. You actually don't end up with a scratch at all. Why? Well, the game doesn't reveal this, but any research into the game will reveal that Elliot has been cursed by a demon known as a satar, and that if Elliot can't figure out how to destroy the satar and remove the curse, he himself will become a s…