Posts Tagged ‘capcom’

Game 805/1001 according to the list

Genre: Adventure/Puzzle
Platform: Wii
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Another day, another Capcom game. Yet… we’re not bored yet. Gimme a high-five Capcom…*crickets*Fine, we’re never going to be invited to a game unveiling where we can rub shoulders with Capcom execs whilst we pocket the Hors d’oeurves and avoid the fire-eaters but we can dream.

Ever since we played Drop 7 we of Pong and Beyond have been attempting to limit the number of puzzle games we cover since we had already covered more than we had meant to. I missed them so much so I’ve been really looking forward to the titular mouthful that is Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure. Golden money ‘an all.

Our Thoughts

This title just looked strange from the start, and having played it, it has only become stranger. There were reportedly about 200 names drafted up for the game and this is the best they came up with. On the one hand I can see what they did there since it makes sense on a number of levels. It namedrops the two protagonists as do games such as Ratchet & Clank, Banjo-Kazooie and Jak and Daxter, it describes exactly what the game is and it has great kid appeal. It ticks all the boxes and it misses the point completely. Whilst in Japan the childish, anime-feel has universal appeal the name and cover art only really appeals to those under twelve. Thus it has remained largely unsuccessful in the West – much to the chagrin of critics and Capcom-fans who really fell for this game.

When you play the puzzles you can see their point as their complexity ramps up very quickly to the point where very lateral thinking is needed. I would love to see the eight year old who could solve all the puzzles without a visit to an online walkthough… or not as they would be some kind of wizard. In fact, while we might have worked it out ourselves more often, in the interest of time we used one once or twice. Part of this is due to the strange mechanics this game sometimes offer. In particular, the animals transforming into items when you ring the bell that’s called ‘Wiki’ (it somehow eventually makes sense) seem random. While a mole turning into a drill makes some sense, a boar into a hammer is harder to understand, and a bat turning into an umbrella simply seems insane. The thing that really helped with this game is having another person playing it with you to offer a fresh perspective on a puzzle. An advantage we obviously had.

The thing that makes this game really interesting is that it is a very rare example of a well executed console-based point and click adventure game, which actually makes this the first within that genre we have covered. Somehow I thought it would have been either Broken Sword or Sam & Max (there’s another eponymous duo) but that’s what happens with borrowing. Not that I’m complaining… I’m not… I really enjoyed this game despite the fact my arm ached from the fishing minigame. Some of the funniest and most clever games in that sense are still coming up… to the point where Sierra’s offering was mostly ignored in the list in favour of most of the Lucasarts catalogue.

One of the good things about this game appearing on a console is that it makes full use of the Wiimote’s capabilities. Aside from the pointing using the Wiimote, a lot of actions you take are actually movements made using the controller. This is rarely strictly necessary – turning a key might as well be a click instead of you actually doing it – but it  makes it a bit more immersive and clever. It is still, however, used for good measure in a few puzzles, such as defeating a fish by trying to reel it in, as well as a music-based minigame that comes back on several levels. There are very few games made by third-party developers that have used the Wii controller in such a versatile fashion. True games like Okami and Dead Space: Extraction have also been praised for good Wii controls but neither contain as much variation in Wiimote movements that can be found in Zack & Wiki. And while they may seem gimmicky at times, they’re still better than the ewww-factor implicit in the Wiimote use in No More Heroes. Even if there is a half-naked man in the top-right hand corner of the screen shaking the Wiimote like an empty ketchup bottle. True, it’s close, but the graphics make everything look a lot more innocent.

The graphics, as so many things in the game, are quite Japanese – anime-like. There’s an element of kiddishness in there, cute and cartoonish. They’ve even kept the original ‘dialogue’ noted by Wiki’s occastional cry of “Zakku!” Something that was easy to do as they were mostly cries of ‘Alright’ and similar.

One thing we have neglected to mention is that this game is pirate-themed. Something that was just falling out of fashion upon the game’s release and which makes it more surprising that this was not commercially successful.  Who, on some level, does not like pirates? It’s not a big part of the game – it has no impact on the actual game, and really only influences the look and feel of some parts – but it makes it fun.. And in a way cute, when you consider Zack looks rather young. That isn’t helped by the fact that he chomps on a chocolate bar whenever left idle. It was added as an afterthought, and you can see that sometimes. Even so, it doesn’t make the game any less cute, and it certainly helps give him a reason to collect treasure… what more could you want there?

Final Thoughts

So our little pirate guy? Aside from the fact that it’s a pretty good game, it’s also a good adventure. It’s not entirely like the original point and click games – the story is fairly flimsy and not the main drive of the game – but it has some interesting (and at times obscure) puzzles to work out. It’s also a very nice-looking games with some very strange and fun environments – the water slide in particular making me want to go down them.

The controls have their issues and make the game harder to control sometimes, but most of the time, when it works, it works well, and out of everything, it’s the use of the Wiimote that truely stands out during this adventure. That and the cute bell-monkey. He’s just adorable. Ding!

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Game 232/1001 according to the list


Genre: Fighting
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1992
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Some game franchises have so many entries in this list that to not include one of them in the first 100 games would end up with a mad dash to the finish line. Granted we have already covered plenty of games in the Mario, Zelda and Final Fantasy but we figured it was time to fast track the Street Fighter series.

Our Thoughts

So here’s the first game in this series of major 2D fighters, something that used to be huge in the arcades. Then again the arcades have not exactly been as popular in the last decade or so… with the exception of the Dance Dance Revolution machines which always seem to be packed. Absolutely, with what’s available on the PCs and online these days, arcades can’t really compete anymore. Consoles killed the arcade star.

This is definitely true with fighting games. Whilst there are some who have their own customised retro-joystick to play fighting games with there is a lot to be said for using a 360 controller or any other sort of console controller for that matter. Once Sony were able to perfect the Dual Analog sticks… then all bets were off. Add to that the technology of consoles constantly improving, meaning that the arcade machines could no longer really provide the better graphics, sounds and other experiences that it offered over older consoles.

With that said, this game has so many editions and arrived on so many consoles after its original arcade release that it doesn’t matter much here. Absolutely, Street Fighter II has received six remakes for the arcade. Using subtitles that feature combinations of the words ‘hyper’, ‘turbo’, ‘world’ and ‘fighting’. Today’s game, Street Fighter II Turbo – Hyper Fighting, was the third of these releases. We will be covering the downloadable Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Purple Monkey Dishwasher at some point. I can only roll my eyes upwards at that title.

You have to admire Capcom for their ability to flog this horse until all is left is gristle and bone powder. I guess the main thing we need to mention is how this version of the game is set apart from those which came before it.

 

The main, and most noticeable, way they did this was by increasing the speed of game play. Also they added in some special moves (such as fireballs and hadoukens) which have become staples of the series. Absolutely true. This version was mostly created to move against pirates, who created modified versions of the original Street Fighter II that had similar goals. It plays like it. As said, it’s made a faster game, this certainly is a fast game. It was, in fact, quite disorienting sometimes, and didn’t give you much time. Not helped by the first enemy in story mode possibly being one of the most difficult ones. A tank with horrid attacks. Part of it is that you obviously need to learn the combos, while you don’t immediately get a lot of time for that.

I guess the best way to play this game is with a friend. It’s the same with all fighting games to be honest as you can play as every single character in different combinations and there is not the annoying ‘you lose… continue?’ voice which pokes fun at you when you get set on fire. It’s also a lot more fun beating each other up and putting in your own trash talk.

Of course, if you want to take over in story mode because you can do better, just challenge the other player to a duel and win to take over. Yes, that got annoying after a while. Then again it’s worse in an arcade when a stranger uses it to steal your go… yes that happened to me before at an ice rink with a game of Virtua Fighter. Better to play at home then.

Final Thoughts

Seeing how fighting games really have gome a long long way since then it it has really made me want to invest in a copy of Super Street Fighter IV. Also… I think I may be the only one really looking forward to BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger… TO EBAY!!! *cape swishes*

Game 54: Dead Rising

Posted: May 16, 2011 by mulholland in Games
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Game 693/1001 according to the list

Genre: Survival Horror/Action
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Back in late 2006 I had a choice to make. For Christmas I had the choice of getting either an Xbox 360 or a Wii… hard right?

Having to make a choice about what conosle to get as you cross into the next generation of gaming is not one to be taken lightly. So what I chose to do was to look at the games available at the time and make a choice based on that. Since I, somewhat stupidly, thought that the Xbox 360 would be completely backwards compatible I chose to get that. However, that was only an afterthought since the games that really tipped the balance in favour of getting the 360 were the already blogged Viva Pinata and today’s entry Dead Rising. The fact that it took me another five years before I finally got it is another story.

Our Playthrough

Seeing that this game starts out pretty much as a linear single-player game (before expanding into a more sandbox mode) we thought it would be best for us to both have our own game where the experience would add up to 5  hours. Seeing how I am the more experienced in terms of console gaming I played for longer than Jeroen did.

Our Thoughts

Here’s our next zombie game already, although the title could just as easily refer to skeletons or other such undead evils. I think a quick glance at the game’s cover would allay any worries about the presence of zombies.  Then again they are not necessarily the toughest enemy to defeat. I think a chainsaw juggling psycho-clown comes close to the top of that list.

As you can tell, we’ve started playing our first survival horror and yeah, that is a character in the game. Nightmare fodder, right? Surprisingly my zombie nightmares stopped when we started playing this game. Now I just dream of being murdered in a room decked in red and yellow. What game will get rid of that one? Possibly a discoloured chess game, I’ll start looking for one. I fail to see the link but let’s move on.

 

So, I guess the big selling point that Capcom used to ship as many copies of this game as possible was that this was a rather unique mix of zombie and sandbox  games. Sandbox up to a point only, due to some time limitations, but this is as close as you’ll get. There’s lots of zombies, and you can go where you want (as long as you kill the right people first for their keys and such).

Well, the limitations get dropped once you complete both the 72 hour and overtime game modes. Then it opens everything up and you are then able to dip in every now and then to take your rage out on a never-ending zombie population. In the end this population is so large that there is an achievement for killing more zombies than actually present in the town where the breakout occurred. Presumably due to the infestation spreading, it’s quite scary to think of.

Luckily they’re zombies, so you’re likely to outrun them. Unless it is night-time… then they become faster, stronger and their eyes glow red. Yeah, they are, signalled by a rather worrying cut scene. Yes… I might have spoken too soon about the lack of nightmares. Luckily we only saw it today, so can’t discuss it at length yet. Apparently this blog now doubles as a dream journal. Tomorrow’s entry may be 16+…

ANYWAY! Survival Horror, scary game!

When I first played this game I was pretty jumpy… even in the segments in the safe house area. However I have to admit that after I decapitated a few zombies with a sickle I was no longer scared of it. It may be one of the more violent games I have ever played though.

 

The sheer quantity of blood that you shed just to go to the bookstore is more than you see during a rampage in the recent GTAs. It is pretty unique when you think about how much blood is involved. This can be seen in Germany, where this game was refused a rating which made it illegal for stores to sell the game there.

Considering how casually you kill them… the only reason it doesn’t feel uncomfortable is because they’re really not human, they feel like zombies. The graphics may help give that feeling. They are good – quite realistic, with the normal humans looking good and the only weird thing being their mouths when they speak. They don’t sync, pulling you out of the illusion quite quickly. That is the thing that has dated this game immensely. The zombies and the mall surroundings are so well executed that it is a real pity that everything between the nose and the chin looks ridiculous.

 

Speaking of ridiculous… the AI of the survivors is absolutely pants.  Firstly you are not able to give them everything that can be used as a weapon due to certain items having unique battle animation. The major gripe is that when you say to them ‘follow me and I will lead you to safety’ they interpret it as ‘crowd surf on that patch of flesh-eating nightmares’. Sometimes you feel that they just do not wish to be saved and should therefore be left to their gooey fate. It is possible they are already zombies; the rotting has just been taking longer.

Final Thoughts

It’s a sad fact that this is a game that really has aged a great deal.

The fundemental sandbox game play still remains great fun and there is no way to properly cover this in the time we set aside for this so I am really looking forward to giving this a good old explore later (especially when it comes to the psycho clown who’s mere existance is somewhat disturbing). If you can get it cheap in a place like CEX it is still a worthwhile gaming investment.

Game 48: Pang

Posted: April 22, 2011 by mulholland in Games
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Game 172/1001 according to the list


Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1989
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

Upon the game’s release Pang (try not to confuse this with Pong) was critically lauded and received numerous ports across all the major consoles of the day. It was lauded for its addictive nature, bright presentation and became one of the indispensible titles for games such as the Amiga, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64.

Since then it has received numerous sequels including one last year for the Nintendo DS. It really goes to show that once you invent a classic you can milk it for all it’s worth.

Our Thoughts

Now, this game is known under two names, so I have to use both to make sure Google picks up on it: Today’s game is Pang, also known as Buster Bros., depending on where you’re looking or searching. It’s the latest in a long line of Capcom games that we will be covering.  Yet neither of the characters have appeared in the Capcom crossover fighting games. I think they missed a trick there with the player being able to impale The Incredible Hulk with a grappling hook or having giant balloons gobble up other characters as random animals fall from the sky. The sharpened hermit crab was a bit weird.

Anyway, more to the point, this is a fun arcade game where you have to pop balloons. The way you are able to do this depends on the power-up you recently picked up.  The basic weapon is of little use in a confined space but it can be strengthened like a piece of cheesewire. Also you can blow them up with some rather brown looking dynamite. This is a double-edged sword as it does not get rid of them completely, instead all is left are the smallest possible balloons which may completely overwhelm you as a player. The best powerup is easily when you stop time. It makes things a lot easier. Unless you’re stuck between balls and can’t get to them. It’s also useful to use the shield, which means you can be hit once, rather than being killed by touching a balloon.

The graphics are good too, very colourful and cartoony, which suits the mood of the game. The location-specific backgrounds are nice too, looking beautiful. There are 17 different locations which feature monuments specific to the area. This includes the likes of Mt Fuji, The Arc de Triomphe and Uluru. Within each location are a number of stages which vary in difficulty. In the beginning the game plays rather simply with the stage being pretty much a blank with just you, your grappling guns and the malevolant balloons.  After a while platforms and ladders are added in so the game begins to play like the lovechild of Donkey Kong and The Prisoner. Making it more of an action game, and both giving you hideouts and places to get stuck if you don’t watch out.

You can see how much arcade games have grown up compared to that first game, Pong. It looks better, has bonuses added, adding interesting gameplay elements and turning this in a game that’s more than just ‘remove the balloons’.

Final Thoughts

Popping balloons is simple, but fun, and the basic gameplay elements have returned in many later (mostly internet) games. And the idea is fun – pop the balloons that fly around and try to avoid them having them kill you. It’s simple, it’s fun… and it gets deviously evil when you get to the higher levels. Suited for an arcade game and something that’s still fun to play around with.

Game 3: Viewtiful Joe

Posted: November 28, 2010 by mulholland in Games
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Game 547/1001 according to the list

Genre: Action/Platformer
Platform: Gamecube, Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

This is the first of a number of Capcom games that we are going to cover. The reason that we chose this one is not because of a random number generator (as is the process with most other games) but because I actually borrowed Viewtiful Joe off of a friend of mine some years ago and only found it in my drawer last week… oops. Still, a few more weeks before I return it won’t make a difference now (sorry Sam, I hope you didn’t buy a new copy)

The story behind this is as old as time. Geek takes girlfriend to cinema, girlfriend is kidnapped by a villain from the film, geek follows girlfriend into film and is given superheroic powers so he can rescue her… wait, what?

It borrows heavily from the tradition of a 2D side-scroller with the addition of cel-shaded 3D graphics as well as the ability to slow-down and speed-up time in order to achieve better combos and generally kick ass more “viewtifully”.

Our Playthrough

Well, there’s not a lot of choice here, the game is straightforward: We played through it for five hours, which dropped us about two thirds of the way through. We went for the easier (‘kids’) difficulty. I wanted to. I couldn’t deal with more. We’ll discuss that later.

Since I had played this before this was left to Jeroen to play his way through… unless it got too difficult and he got upset, then I kicked some serious robot ass. In my defense, my reflexes aren’t as good, I’m not as trained in these sort of games… and I sort of might have been dealing with a mild concussion (all too get out of peeling the potatoes) while playing it which affected a major part of my mood and such. And I’m just not as good as these games.

Our Thoughts

I would like to reiterate that this game was not stolen. That’s your opinion.

Anyway, one interesting game; very fast paced, lots of action, very colourful, and with very good visuals. It makes you feel like you’re in a movie.

It is also fairly difficult for newcomers and they are never afraid to up the ante to make sure that it doesn’t feel like a walkover. That’s very true as well, and I admit I ran up against it relatively soon – the first level is doable, after that it goes up rapidly. It’s a difficulty that is enhanced by the infrequent save points and the large amount of boss-fight strategies that need to be devised.

That’s probably what I ran up against the most. A lot of replaying of certain sections is required, and you have little time to work out strategies without having to go back through half the level because you’re out of lives. It’s a call-back to how older games went, and I suppose shows how gamers are spoiled these days with more frequent saving (helped by the gaming systems making it easier and faster to save).

You do get inundated by grunts but they are easy enough to defeat. Once you figure out the strategy for defeating them …which isn’t that hard. Usually not, no. Especially since they let you know in advance whether the majority of them are about to hit you in the head or the legs allowing you to counter attack. Which can be too late if you don’t have great reflexes which is where I flourish and you come unstuck.

I also have to admit it doesn’t help I kept hitting the rather large jump button when just trying to punch or kick. One thing we haven’t mentioned is the fantastic time effects used for fighting.

Even watching the game being played is a lot of fun due to those cinematic effects. It’s sometimes just fun to jump around whilst in super-slow motion.

You do need to have a will of iron with this game as it will kick you in the shins on many occasions. But if you are happy to get plugging away at puzzles and boss fights this is great. Part of that also requires you to enjoy the game enough that you want to keep trying.

Also, because of the cel-shaded graphics time has been really slow in dating this. It would mostly work now, yeah. And it seems to me that something like the Wiimote could interact quite well with any more sequels. Well it was a critically acclaimed franchise, but the low sales figures have led it to the gaming graveyard.

As so many other games have. But this is certainly a game that could work again a few years down the line, updated, with some new abilities, but the same cinematic gameplay. Replaying this makes me want to check out the Nintendo DS sequel.

Final Thoughts

At times so frustrating that you want to chuck your Gamecube controller at the TV Viewtiful Joe is a fast-paced cel-shaded thrillride. It has well withstood the test of time and is a great way to fight an anthropomorphic shark in slow motion.