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.

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Retro Game Friday: Soul Reaver

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a real classic game. It’s Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver!

Plot Synopsis: Raziel approaches Kain’s throne and extends newly grown wings. In an act of seeming jealousy, Kain tears the bones from Raziel’s wings and has him thrown into the Lake of the Dead, a large natural whirlpool; however, Raziel is resurrected as a wraith by The Elder God to become his “soul reaver” and kill Kain, thus restoring Nosgoth.

Plot: The plot is pretty good, although due to legal issues between developer and publisher there were some parts missing from the game that were added to later games.

Gameplay: A hack and slash this game is pretty damn fun. In addition gliding with Raziel’s wings was tons of fun. Honestly the game mostly revolves around switching back and forth between material and spectral planes to either attack enemies or complete puzzles.

Characters: The characters were okay, with Raziel being on a quest for vengeance the cast is fairly jaded which was odd for me at the time. Granted I was a kid, but it was a marked difference from games like Zelda or Donkey Kong.

Art: The art has aged poorly, however there are rumors that this will be getting a remake or remaster.

Music: I don’t remember much of it, mostly I remember my cousin laughing as I took down enemies.

Overall: This is a great game, often thought to be the best in the series. Hopefully a remaster will be coming soon.

For those who like: Action, Hack and Slashs, Intriguing Gameplay, Good Plot.

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

Retro Game Friday: Vigilante 8

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game I had a real hard time remembering the name of. It’s Vigilante 8!

Plot Synopsis: The game is set in an alternate 1975, where a global oil crisis occurs and the United States is on the verge of an economic breakdown. A rampant crime wave in the cities prompts the deployment of more security forces, leaving the hinterlands with little or no law and order. A multinational oil consortium, the Oil Monopoly Alliance Regime (OMAR), is determined to control the global petroleum market and wants the destruction of the US to ensure the success of their plan. The Vigilantes, a group of residents from various southwestern US states band together to preserve law and order in light of the chaos gripping the country.

Plot: The plot was pretty dang good, it’s not super amazing and the liberties taken as “artistic liscense” are more hilarious than serious. However it was a good time, frankly I’ve been trying to remember this game’s name for almost as long as I’ve been writing this blog. Give that a thought.

Gameplay: The gameplay has aged poorly, vehicle handling is iffy at best, with the various characters and their different vehicles handling incredibly differently from each other. That said at the time I had a blast playing the game, even with the quirks.

Art: The art also has aged incredibly poorly. But given that it is a game from 1999, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Music: I don’t remember it, sorry.

Overall: Probably worth skipping, but I do think I remember there was a sequel.

For those who like: Vehicular Combat, Comedy, Drama, Action, Adventure, Alternative Histories, Cars.

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

Retro Game Friday: Ape Escape

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a real classic that truly deserves another game in the series. It’s Ape Escape!

Plot Synopsis: The story begins when Specter, a white-haired monkey who is well-known at his home in a monkey-themed amusement park, puts on an experimental Peak Point Helmet created by a Professor, which increases his intelligence beyond that of a regular monkey, but also twists his mind, turning him evil. Imbued with this new power, Specter gives Pipo Helmets to all the monkeys in the park and sets them loose, having them take over the local laboratory where the Professor and his assistant Natalie are currently building a time machine…

Plot: This was a truly revolutionary game and the story wasn’t half bad. It wasn’t super intense or detailed like a Final Fantasy game, but for a platformer the story wasn’t all that bad. I’ve definitely seen and played worse games.

Gameplay: The gameplay was the first to require the DualShock controller due to the necessary use of both analog sticks to control both Spike and his tools. I had tons of fun, and frankly this was a one of the best platformers on the original PlayStation, if not the best.

Art: Sadly the art hasn’t aged particularly well. Maybe they’ll do a remake/remaster of the game sometime soon with updated graphics and possible additional features.

Music: I don’t remember much of it, but it was pretty fun to listen to from what I can remember.

Overall: If you’ve never played it, you really ought to.

For those who like: Platformers, Sci-Fi, Good Plot, Awesome Gameplay.

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

Retro Game Friday: Klanoa

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a classic game that is often not remembered. It’s Klanoa: Door to Phantomile!

Plot Synopsis:

The story begins with the legend of the land of Phantomile, a mysterious place that is fueled by the very dreams people have at night. As a result, no one can clearly remember the dreams they have had, even if they occurred recently. However, a young cat-like boy named Klonoa who lives in the town of Breezegale with his grandfather has been having dreams about a mysterious dark airship crashing into a nearby mountain, and can recall every detail of it. One day, a mysterious ship does indeed crash into the mountain, and Klonoa and his friend, a “ring spirit” named Huepow, decide to investigate. After fighting several small, round creatures called Moos, they reach the top of the mountain, only to find two mysterious creatures…

Plot: This doesn’t have a gripping plot, full of intrigue and action. Nope it’s more of a game for younger kids. I won’t say it’s got a terrible story, but it’s definitely not the strongest plot ever.

Gameplay: The gameplay is mostly 2D Platforming. I say mostly because you could interact with your environment which was in 3D. They termed it 2.5D at the time, and I suppose that term works now. Klanoa’s main form of attack is his Wind Bullet ability which lets him toss enemies around or use them to toss himself around. It’s all based off concepts tied to the wind, which was to me at the time pretty interesting. Frankly I’m kind of itching to see if I can find a ROM of it, but I doubt I have the time to indulge in that wish.

Characters: The characters are okay, and while not very deep they aren’t super flat like any character from a Twilight novel.

Art: The art has aged poorly due to the use of 3D. If they had kept it purely 2D it probably would’ve aged much better.

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

Overall: Give this a spin if you get the chance, it’s pretty good.

For those who like: Platformers, Interesting Gameplay Mechanics, A Main Character That isn’t a Plumber.

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

 

Video Game Tuesday: To Platinum or Not

Hey all, I’m back with another answer to a question I receive a lot for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! It’s whether To Platinum or Not!

To Platinum?: I mean to complete a game 100% or to unlock all the achievements (Trophies for those PlayStation gamers) in a game. This often involves beating the game on the hardest difficulty and/or doing so in a certain way. Whether that is a time limit or a character level limit, or even just a side quest completion rate it doesn’t really matter. The actual question I get asked however often goes like this, “As a Game Reviewer do you complete a game 100% before writing the review?”.

So do you?: As a general rule of thumb, the answer is a big fat NO. I do not achieve a Platinum Trophy in a game before reviewing it, because for most games that would take way too much time to accomplish. I’ll often do the story and if it’s an RPG any sidequests, before giving a review. There have been exceptions like the one time I reviewed Coffin Dodgers, which is my all time record of lowest score ever for a game I reviewed. Now if a game was to be so short and simple to beat that I was easily able to earn a Platinum trophy in a matter of hours instead of days I might end up going for the Platinum. That is if I find the game worth investing that time into. I have a busy schedule, and while I do what I love which is to review stories in all sorts of various formats, doing that takes up a bunch of time for me. So spending hours upon hours to Platinum a game that I find boring or even just mediocre I won’t bother going for a Platinum.

But have you ever fully completed a game you reviewed?: Yes I have, Final Fantasy XV and InFAMOUS Second Son are both games I’ve completed 100%. Earning the Platinum on Second Son was pretty interesting as you ended up hearing Delsin give you a message upon achieving the final Trophy. That was a fun way to reward the player alongside the Platinum Trophy. I’d love it if more games followed that example.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Do you go for a 100% completion in games you own? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Retro Game Friday: Worms

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a real classic. It’s Worms!

Plot Synopsis: There is no plot.

Gameplay: There was really no plot for the game, it was all about the gameplay. It was turn based and allowed each player to direct their worms to fire in a certain direction. The goal was to be the one with the last worms alive. The multiplayer was quite fun, I remember playing the game with my cousin and having a blast.

Art: The art has aged, and while it’s 2D it doesn’t quite look as amazing as other 2D games of the time. However given how much effort was spent on the gameplay rather than art it’s not too surprising.

Music: I don’t remember the music, sorry.

Overall: If you get the chance to give it a whirl for a few minutes it’s worth it just to enjoy the classic gameplay. Of course you could probably play later games in the series and enjoy it more.

For those who like: Tactical Games, Turn Based, Oddball Games, Multiplayer.

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