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.

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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.

Retro Game Friday: Syphon Filter

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

Plot Synopsis: In the year 1999, Gabriel Logan and his partner Lian Xing investigate a series of biological outbreaks triggered by international terrorist Erich Rhoemer. When fellow agent Ellis loses contact during a mission in Costa Rica, the top-secret Agency dispatches Gabe and Lian to find him. They discover Ellis is dead, and Rhoemer’s suspected drug operation is a cover for the viral operation. Another outbreak in Nepal leads to more questions when an infected person who should have died somehow survived…

Plot: The plot is pretty great, honestly I didn’t remember much of the plot before writing this article though given how long it’s been since I played this game. If it weren’t for some recent rumors of a new entry in the series or remake I might never have remembered this game.

Characters: Gabe is a pretty decent main character, but he wasn’t as memorable as Snake from Metal Gear Solid which was a game that really overshadowed this game. The rest of the cast also suffers from that problem.

Gameplay: The gameplay however was pretty good, if you could get over the frame rate loss that occurred occasionally. It featured stealth and combat sections, much like Metal Gear Solid. However the AI was probably the best part of this game, it was very good for it’s time and allowed for much more replay value.

Art: The art has aged poorly, additionally while the textures of the game were good, the actual animation suffered from some frame rate issues.

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

Overall: This is a game that probably deserves a remake, given how much of a cult following the game has. If that occurs I’d say wait for that, since the art has aged poorly.

For those who like: Stealth Games, Great AI (for the time), Interesting Gameplay.

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

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: F-Zero GX

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the last entry in a series that is long overdue for another game. It’s F-Zero GX!

Plot: This had a story mode, but I honestly don’t remember it at all, which isn’t a good sign.

Gameplay: The gameplay of GX is okay, but it honestly felt more like Wipeout than F-Zero did with it’s past entry F-Zero X, which is a pity as that game was all about tight curves and high speed. This game felt more linear, and the times it wasn’t were awkward or downright frustrating for anyone with less than stellar reflexes. That said it was still a fun game, but if you didn’t have those reflexes playing this game is more an exercise in frustration than anything else.

Art: The art is okay, but it’s aged poorly, not as bad as an N64 game, but still poorly.

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

Overall: An okay sequel, but not a perfect sequel.