Retro Game Friday: Front Mission

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that was hugely popular back in it’s day. It’s Front Mission!

Plot: I forgot how sad this story is, honestly after looking up the story for a refresher I was tempted to not bother covering this game due to how freaking depressing the story is. The story is good, but damn is it dark and depressing.

Gameplay: This was a pure tactical RPG and boy did it do it well for it’s time and helped paved the way for games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Advance Wars in the future. You could customize the Wanzers to a pretty deep degree given the tech limitations and the standard of quality at the time. That being said it’s a nearly a pure single player game and while you could play with another it’s hard to do that when you shared a screen.

Art: The art was pretty great for it’s time, and it’s aged fairly well. It’s not the best of it’s era, but it holds up pretty well.

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

Overall: A great game, but if you don’t like bawling your eyes out you might want to skip it due to the dark nature of the story.

For those who like: Mechas, Tactical RPGs, Drama, Good Story, Great Gameplay.

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

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Retro Game Friday: Castlevania Order of Ecclesia

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another Castlevania entry! It’s Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia!

Plot: The plot is okay, it’s not the best of the series by a longshot, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the later 3D reboot that graced the last gen of consoles. It’s also nice that Shanoa is a completely standalone character and in no way connected to the Belmont line of the series.

Gameplay: The gameplay is a bit like Symphony of the Night and the more classic Castlevania games. It uses the heart system which was absent from the more recent prior entries to fuel certain attacks which was absent in both Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. I enjoyed the gameplay, and if Dawn of Sorrow had forgone the touch screen completely I wouldn’t be torn between Ecclesia and that for my top Castlevania games after Symphony of the Night.

Characters: Shanoa is our main character and she’s quite a bad ass. That being said this isn’t the best entry in terms of characters as it really revolves only around a few, namely Shanoa and Albus her enemy and once compatriot.

Art: The art is okay, and sticks to the Symphony of the Night style that was the peak of the series in my opinion. It could be a remastered with today’s standards, but it holds up fairly well regardless.

Music: I don’t remember much of it and since it was a handheld I didn’t listen to much to begin with.

Overall: A good entry, but not the best in a long running series.

For those who like: Metroidvania games, Action, Exploration, Drama, Badass Female Leads.

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

Retro Game Friday: Gex Enter the Gecko

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the sequel to Gex. It’s Gex Enter the Gecko!

Plot: The plot is just as nonsensical as the first one, with Gex being tasked once more to save the world. It’s not an amazing story, but it was fun as a kid and it’s not the worst plot in a platformer I’ve ever played.

Gameplay: This was the first entry in the Gex series that was in 3D and it did pretty well in making the transition. It kept the feel of the original game fairly well, but was different enough to draw in newcomers. That being said both the GameBoy Color and Nintendo 64 versions were much worse versions, so play the PC or PlayStation versions if you’ve never played this before. The constant pop culture references were great and pretty funny.

Art: Sadly this portion of the game has aged incredibly poorly, but back in the day it was pretty awesome.

Music: The music was okay from what I can remember, but I don’t remember much of it.

Overall: Give this a spin if you love Platformers, as it was a fun game for the younger crowd.

Retro game Friday: R-Type

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another classic. It’s R-Type!

Gameplay: This is one of those games that is infamous for it’s incredible difficulty, but it’s also one of the first side scrolling Shoot Em Up bullet-hells that was wildly successful. The gameplay was simple at first look, but had some depth with the ability to change the “Force” item from being attached to your ship for added firepower to being detached and floating to fire secondary weapons and act as a shield. In addition you could charge shots, something that was pretty innovative for the day, and the fact that you had to learn by failing repeatedly is something that is pretty foreign by today’s game design standards.

Art: The art is okay, not super amazing, but given that it’s over 30 years old that shouldn’t be a surprise. Thankfully being pretty much fully 2D it has aged really well.

Overall: A fun game, if highly difficult. If you enjoy hard games and have never played R-Type, you ought to give a try.

For those who like: Shoot Em Ups, Bullet Hells, Sci-Fi, Difficult Gameplay.

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

Retro Game Friday: TimeSplitters

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that is quite unremembered. It’s TimeSplitters!

Plot: The game really didn’t have any plot, other than “Stop the TimeSplitters!”. Granted that when you get down to pretty much any story it boils down to something along those lines, but still the fact that that was pretty much the entirety of the plot wasn’t great.

Gameplay: Thankfully this was a really fun game, which considering it was made by people from Rare, who made GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Multiplayer was the big draw of the game, and since this was made in the heyday of local multiplayer you had to be careful of the other players screen watching you, and trying to do the same to them without them knowing.

Art: The art has aged poorly, but in the day it was pretty impressive, and considering it was a PlayStation 2 launch title you can bet it’s graphics were really hyped up.

Music: I don’t remember it, as I was dealing with trash talking to my friends and them doing the same to me.

Overall: A great game if you played with others for multiplayer, but otherwise a lackluster single player game.

For those who like: Multiplayer, FPS.

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

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.

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.