Thursday, 30 December 2010

Dangan (Playstation)

This game is quite the disappointment. When you start playing, and see the top down 3D graphics, and start beating a few guys up, it seems like a nice, fun game. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long to turn sour.
As I mentioned, it's a top down beat em up with 3D graphics. #The four face buttons on the playstation controller are melee attacks (a single button that does a string of attacks, as is beat em up tradition), shoot (you start off with a completely useless infinite ammo handgun, but soon collect other, slightly less useless guns), an all-round attack that drains your health if it connects, and a dodge button.
Actually controlling you character and beating up/shooting the enemies is actually pretty fun, though it's turned into a chore by the problems the game has, most of which concern difficulty.
The first problem is the many, many stationery gun turrets that litter the stages. They do quite a bit of damage and they never stop firing. They also tend to appear in groups.
The second problem is the fact that the regular enemies spawn endlessly and randomly offscreen.
These two problems work together to ensure that rather than fighting enemies, the best strategy is too run ahead to the exit as quickly as you can, since if you stop to fight the enemies, the turrets will tear you apart, and if you stop to destroy the turrets, the enemies and the other turrets will tear you apart.
So, after you've ignored all the enemies and got to the boss? Well, since you didn't fight any enemies, you didn't collect the ammo they randomly drop. So you're at a disadvantage already. (Well, sort of. The boss fights are really hard, even with ammo.)
So, in summary, Dangan is a game that could have been great, but just isn't.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Famimaga Disk Vol. 1 - Hong Kong (Famicom Disk System)

This is only going to be a shortish review, because there are Playstation games about which I intend to write, but I like to ensure a bit of variety by making sure that each new review is a different genre and system than the previous one. So the first update in months, and it's essentially filler. Woo.
So! I recently started exploring the romset of the Famicom Disk System for the first time, and found out about a few cool games I hadn't played before (plus versions of Metroid and Kid Icarus that allow for saving). Anyway, this is the one about which I have chosen to write, because it took me by surprise, I hadn't heard of it before, and since it was apparently a coverdisk for a Japanese magazine twenty years ago, I'm sure it fulfills the obscurity quota.
So, looking at the screenshot, you might make the same mistake that I did on first sight of this game and think it's a Shanghai clone. It's not. It's actually slightly more complicated than Shanghai. Although you are removing tiles in the right order, so it is a bit like Shanghai.
What happens is, you are given this arrangement of tiles (there are a few shapes from which to choose, plus an option to create your own, and before you start, you enter a 3-letter code, which decides how the tiles will be arranged, which I guess means there are... 17576 different tile arrangements for each shape), and you can take away one tile at a time. The game randomly (I think) decides what character of tile you can take, and you recieve between 20 and 320 points for removing a tile, depending on how many other tiles are touching it, more tiles touching equalling more points. The catch being that if a tile doesn't have any others touching it from below, it falls and your game ends, which makes going for the big-money tiles inside the pile a lot riskier than the 20-80 point ones on the outside. Clever!
But is it actually fun to play? It's alright. A nice enough diversion to emulate on a handheld or laptop while watching TV, but not interesting enough to devote a decent amount of time or concentration to. And you probably won't play more than one game in a row without getting bored of it.