Wednesday, 20 August 2014
I've written in an earlier volume about one of Phillipe-andre Lorin's other game, Invs, which I thought was a pretty good game. Unfortunately, Samsaric Asymtotes doesn't live up to its predecessor. Although it does have an attractive and unique visual syle, with a combination of monochromatic sprites and backgrounds with the player's attack being a wide, brightly coloured laser, it's also boring to play. There's no scoring at all, barely any mechanics besides shooting enemies and avoiding their shots. It's just not fun to play.
I loved this game as a kid, when it appeared on one of the Official Playstation Magazine's coverdiscs. It's not what you would traditionally consider a good game, but it is mildly amusing (admittedly, it was more so when I was 12, but it still has its moments). You play as some guy with a sword, who goes on a quest to save the stupid people of a small medieval town from some vaguely menacing birds. The script is full of silly conversations, with a lot of the humour coming from the low intelligence of the NPCs, though there are also a few jokes about the shoddiness of the game as well as references to other Yaroze games. I'm sure I was able to finish this game at some point in the ancient past, but now the terrible camera in the action parts caused me to quickly give up after going round in circles a few times.
It might sound a little hyperbolic to say so, but this game has probably the best use of time travel ever seen in a videogame. It's a platform game, in which the player controls a snail who, for some reason, is trapped in an endlessly repeating minute of time. They have to collect a certain amount of coins and reach the exit, while every minute they are sent back in time one minute. As a result, there will eventually be numerous snails going about the stage, holding door switches for each other and so on. The real challenge comes from the fact that if you touch any of you past selves, you create a time paradox and destroy the universe. It's a good game, though it's very very hard, and it's also been ported to the Xbox 360 via the Xbox Live Indie Games store.
Obviously, it's a robotron clone with an amusing pun for a title. You control a small mushroom thing and shoot swarms of enemies who look kind of like multi-coloured alien glyphs. If you've played any robotron clone, you pretty much know what to expect with this one. There is one nice little touch, that a point is scored for each bullet the player fires, as well as the obvious points scored for killing enemies. This seems like an odd choice at first, but since all power-ups are lost with the loss of a life, and the power-ups make the player shoot bullets faster, it does kind of make sense, since players that stay alive longer will end up shooting vastly more bullets.
Monday, 11 August 2014
You'll remember that throughout the animated move, there were cyborgs sent out by Dictator to scan the world's strongest fighters and analyse their strengths, and it is one of those cyborgs the player controls in this game. The way this works is that you watch the movie, and during fight scenes, you hold down the A button to bring up a crosshair, use the d-pad to move it around and press B to "scan" moves. Successful scans are met with a "ching!" noise, and supposedly, doing this will make the Cyborg stronger, in preperation for the game's big setpiece: a fight between the Cyborg and Ryu at the end of the game. I guess I didn't do a good job of scanning, since I was only doing tiny, puny amounts of damage against Ryu and got quickly and thouroughly pummeled. Oddly, pretty much the entire movie is included, despite the non-fight scenes serving no purpose in the game, making the Cyborg seem like a bit of a creepy voyeur. You can also press C during most scenes to bring up information, including character stats, what model of car is being driven and so on. There are even incomplete stats for non-playable characters, like Eliza and the guy Ryu one hit KOs in Hong Kong. The game even acknowledges Akuma/Gouki's background cameo with this feature!
The most interesting thing about the game is the exclusive stuff it has, mainly in the form of new graphics and animation. There's an FMV intro in the style of the movie, with all-new animation and there's some very small extra bits of animation in the game just before the big fight. The fight itself is pretty cool, too. It's done in the graphical style of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, with an all-new sprite and portrait for the Cyborg (though its moves are the same as Ken's), and what I think is also a whole new background for the fight, too.
Unfortunately, I can't really recommend this game. It really is just watching the Street Fighter 2 animated movie, with added button pressing. You'd be better off just watching the movie and then playing a proper Street Fighter game, or if you have the GBA port of Alpha 3 or the 3DS port of Street Fighter IV, both at the same time! Not even the aforementioned exclusive animation or things like the gallery of character design artwork are enough to save it really.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
There are a few interesting ideas in there, though. Roughly once a stage, a (somewhat stupid-looking) flying platform, allowing the player to fly around the screen dropping bombs on enemies. The bosses have another nice little quirk: they're all (as far as I've seen) giant robots (including what I assume is an unlicenced cameo from a Star Wars AT-ST), and rather than having health bars, they have visible crew members on board, a certain number of whom must be shot before the robot dies.
"Somewhat stupid-looking" is a phrase that can be used to describe a lot of things about Spark Man. The enemies and protagonist have an awkward, uncomfortable way of standing and walking, the flying platform, and the way Sparky sits on it look bizarre, and the stages, apparently set in America and the USSR both look like they were drawn by someone who had only the flimsiest knowledge of the countries. I'm not saying any of the art in the game is bad or poorly-drawn, there's just some kind of vague offness about how it all looks.
For all it's faults, Spark Man isn't a terrible game, if you're curious, there's no reason not to check it out, but if you don't you're definately not missing out on a classic or anything.