Retro Game Friday: Splinter Cell

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that really took the Stealth genre and made it popular. It’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell!

Plot Synopsis: In April 2004, the President of Georgia is assassinated, allowing Georgian billionaire Kombayn Nikoladze to seize power with a bloodless coup d’état. In August 2004, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and Gulf War veteran Sam Fisher is recruited by the National Security Agency to work within its newly formed division, “Third Echelon.” Working with his old friend Irving Lambert, Fisher is introduced to technical expert Anna “Grim” Grimsdóttír, and field runner Vernon Wilkes Jr. In October 2004, Fisher is dispatched to Tbilisi, Georgia to investigate the disappearance of two CIA officers.

Plot: The plot is pretty standard Military Thriller which should come as no surprise as this is part of the Tom Clancy franchise.

Gameplay: This game took the stealth genre and made it mainstream paving the way for future games like Assassin’s Creed. The main draw of the gameplay was the use of the light and shadows. You were encouraged to take your time and carefully move from shadow to shadow to get around. You couldn’t really go in with guns blazing and just shoot your way through the game. You had limited ammo, and even than your armaments were usually more non-lethal than anything else.

Artwork: Sadly the art has aged incredibly poorly, but at the time they were pretty damn good.

Music: I don’t remember any of the music sadly.

Overall: A fun game, but with a very aged art and gameplay compared to modern day games, it’s probably best left in the bargain bin.

For those who like: Military-Thrillers, Tom Clancy, Stealth.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Retro Game Friday: De Blob

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a cult classic. It’s De Blob!

Plot Synopsis: Initially a lively and colorful city populated by its equally colorful and diverse citizens, the Raydians, Chroma City is suddenly invaded by the INKT Corporation. A corporate military dictatorship, INKT is led by the villainous Comrade Black and dedicated to the eradication of color through its “War on Color”. Chroma City quickly falls to the invading army of Inkies and color-draining Leechbots, leaving its landscape barren, its flora withered and its fauna in hiding. The citizens are rounded up and turned into “Graydians”, encased in homogeneous gray prison suits distinguished only by a bar code on the back of each shell. The Graydians are forced to serve as both menial labor and as a living resource of ink, the latter of which is mined literally from their sadness…

Plot: The plot is nothing amazing, and it fits the family game setting that De Blob has. So nothing amazing, but nothing super bad either.

Gameplay: The gameplay is pretty simple, you get paint of the three primary colors and paint the world to restore it. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s pretty fun for a while. That being said it’s a bit a one trick pony as the gameplay doesn’t really ever change all that much.

Art: The art is okay, but is dated. Thankfully there are ports with updated graphics to the current generation of consoles including the Switch.

Music: The coolest part of the game, at least to me as a person who knows game design from coding to artwork, is the fact that the music changes as you play. As you continue painting objects the music becomes more and more active, and Blob’s current color determines the instrumental being soloed. It’s pretty interesting, and a brilliant piece of game design.

Overall: If you get the chance, you might want to check this out if it’s on sale.

For those who like: Platforming, Fun Gameplay, Great Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

 

 

 

Retro Game Friday: Trauma Center

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another game for the Nintendo DS. It’s Trauma Center: Under the Knife!

Plot Synopsis: Derek Stiles is a doctor at Hope Hospital. After the near-death of a patient due to his negligence, he encounters the scene of a car crash and ends up working on a patient with incredibly severe injuries to the heart. Just as it seems like the patient is done for, a power within Derek is unlocked, and miraculously saves the patient. The power emerges once more, and Derek saves another patient when a seemingly routine operation gets dangerously out of hand. His superiors recognize the ability. They tell him that his power is said to be that of a descendant of the Greek god of medicine, Asclepius, and his gift is known by the same name, though is more frequently referred to as the Healing Touch….

Plot: Honestly I forgot that this had a story, as I was never very keen on this whole game. I have a huge fear of needles, so this entire game is more than enough to put me into a panic. Honestly I touched this game like once, before never thinking about it again until I read the title somewhere recently.

Gameplay: You play as Derek, and perform various operations. Doing so quickly and flawlessly is the goal and is measured in points. To be fair the gameplay was tough due to the gimmicky nature of the touch screen controls. But those who could handle that would find that they can play the game very well.

Art: The art is highly aged, and even the 2D portions have aged rather poorly.

Music: I don’t remember a whit of it, sorry.

Overall: A game that is noteworthy for it’s take on the classic board game Operation more than anything else.

For those who like: Performing Surgeries, Touch Screen Gimmicks.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Nintendogs

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a title that was launched with the Nintendo DS. It’s Nintendogs!

Gameplay: This is a basic game in that it’s purely a pet simulation game. You interacted with the various breeds and picked one to play with. It used the various gimmicks included in the Nintendo DS, from the touch screen to the mic. Frankly it was purely a game made for showcasing the various gimmicks, rather than any meaningful gameplay.

Art: The art has aged incredibly poorly, but that’s to be expected from a game made purely in 3D.

Music: Not much to talk about here, it’s all very bland.

Overall: A skippable game, who’s only noteworthiness is that it was a launch title for the Nintendo DS.

For those who like: Dogs, Pet Raising Sims.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Tenchu

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that I didn’t get to play quite a lot. It’s Tenchu: Stealth Assassins!

Plot Synopsis: In feudal Japan, a pair of ninja: Rikimaru (力丸) and Ayame (彩女), are members of the Azuma Ninja Clan since childhood. The two ninja serve the heroic Lord Gohda, and work for him as his secret spies to root out corruption and gather intelligence in his province. However, the evil demonic sorcerer Lord Mei-Oh seeks to destroy Lord Gohda, and using his demon warrior Onikage who wreaks havoc throughout Lord Gohda’s province.

Plot: The plot was okay from what I remember. Honestly I didn’t get a whole bunch of time to play this game as my cousin only rented it once or maybe twice. That and I didn’t get to play much as I was rather young at the time and my parents didn’t want me to play it.

Gameplay: The game was really unusual for the Action/Adventure games of the time in that it included a sense of verticality that wasn’t present in many of it’s counterparts. This was done through the grappling hook that the player could use. In addition it had two playable characters who were quite different. Rikimaru who is slower, but more powerful and Ayame who is faster but less powerful. My favorite to play was Ayame, as I’ve always preferred the speed archetype and the fact that she had more combos was awesome.

Art: Sadly the game is very aged, and the artwork is very polygonal.

Music: I don’t remember it at all, sorry.

Overall: This was a fun game at the time, but I’m unsure if it’d be satisfying to players now.

For those who like: Action, Adventure, Stealth, Ninjas.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Gex

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the first in a series that most people have forgotten. It’s Gex!

Plot Synopsis: Gex, a young gecko, was born to a family of geckos on the Hawaiian island of Maui as the oldest of 3-and-a-half other siblings. His father, who worked as a researcher at NASA, is killed in a rocket ship explosion during a zero-gravity mission. In the wake of this tragedy, Gex turns to the comfort of watching television in order to provide an outlet for his grief, eventually becoming addicted. After several fruitless attempts to get Gex to leave his TV set (including moving the family away from Hawaii to Encino, California), Gex’s mom eventually gives the TV away to a band of gypsies in order to get him to live his life. Gex, frustrated with his mother, runs away and vows to never return to her house again, living in a friend’s garage and making petty money by doing errands for other people.

One day, when Gex is riding his skateboard through the streets of California, he happens upon his mother, driving a black limousine, who informs him that his great uncle Charlie, a rich entrepreneur and the creator of a famous T-shirt brand logo, had died three days after Gex’s departure, leaving them with over $20 billion. The entire family goes on a massive spending spree, whilst Gex takes a small sum of the inherited money and opts to leave the family and retreat back to Hawaii in order to pursue his lifelong dream; using his riches, he buys a giant house in Maui and fills it with a massive television set, vowing to spend the remainder of his life secluded from the rest of the world only watching TV.

After a few days, Gex has fully achieved his desire, sitting solitary in the confines of his mansion and watching TV and eating snacks. One day, while looking for a good show to watch, he consumes a passing house fly. This insect turns out to be a small drone, being controlled by Rez, the overlord of the Media Dimension. Rez uses the small droid to “bug” Gex, and pulls him into the Media Dimension, intending to use him as the network’s new mascot character. In order to escape, Gex needs to traverse the Media Dimension and find remote controls which he could use to destroy the TV sets…

Plot: Don’t remember most of that plot? Me neither, as it was included in the game manual rather than the game itself like so many other games did back in the day. It’s a fairly ridiculous story, but considering that it’s a game meant for kids, that’s not too surprising.

Gameplay: The game was pretty tough, although I found out why when I was looking up the Wikipedia of the game. Only the 3DO version of the game included the ability to save, the other versions requiring the use of passwords to start up again. If you lost all your lives you had to restart the game, and if you didn’t have a pen and paper handy to record the passwords you’d be screwed if you died.

Art: The art is okay, but has aged a bit poorly. It’s not too bad though as it’s mostly 2D and that stuff ages pretty well.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A tough game for those not playing on the 3DO.

For those who like: Platforming, Action, Adventure.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Wario Land

Hey all I’m back with a Mario Spinoff that’s grown rather obscure in the past decade and a half. It’s Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3!

Plot Synopsis: After being ejected from Mario’s castle in the previous game, Wario resolves to get his own castle, one even bigger and more impressive than Mario’s. To fund this extravagant dream, he travels to Kitchen Island, where the Brown Sugar Pirates have hidden many treasures and coins, including a golden statue of Princess Toadstool, stolen from the Mushroom Kingdom. Wario intends to retrieve this statue and sell it back to Mario for the price of a castle.

Plot: The plot is rather ridiculous, but that’s where the next part comes in.

Gameplay:  Wario Land was fun to play and is one of the few Game Boy games I can remember having multiple endings based on player actions. In addition it’s a markedly different type of game from previous Mario games. Coins weren’t used to get additional lives, but to improve your final ending. It was also fairly tough to play from what I remember, although admittedly I was quite young at the time.

Art: The art has aged really well, but that’s to be expected of pixel art.

Music: I don’t remember it because I probably never listened to it due to it being a portable and me using my GameBoy pretty much only on plane flights when I was younger.

Overall: A fun game, and while not a must play, it’s not far from being one.

For those who like: Platformers, Portable Games, Mario Games, Hard Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.