Archive for July, 2012

So hey! It’s a rare non-topic post! This one is using the WordPress for Android app! Hooray!

So I just want to thank anyone who reads this thing. The feedback I’ve gotten is incredible and it means a lot that people actually like what I have to say about cheap games!

So with that said, I know there’s a few WordPress users that discovered me through WordPress and not through me bugging people I know personally on Facebook. I just wanted to point out that I have a Facebook page! I also have a Twitter that I made yesterday! Follow @FiveDollarGamer if you like. Or not.

Welcome to another episode of The Landfill! The Landfill is a series that takes only a brief look at games that were once considered to be covered in the main series of articles I do, but I felt had no redeeming qualities. At least a game in the bargain bin has some redeeming qualities. These games… deserve a worse fate:

Why?: Spectrobes didn’t offend me quite as quickly as the first two games to go into the landfill, but that’s because there was a stupid story I had to sit through before I got thrown into the clunky combat and asinine exploration aspects of the game. If Disney Interactive wanted a Pokemon ripoff, they failed spectacularly. The process of getting new creatures and even getting minor items is stupidly convoluted. Everything about this game takes what made Pokemon work and makes it needlessly complicated. The combat is laughable. You have two creatures at your side, hit L or R to issue an attack. Sounds easy enough, but it’s live combat and not turn-based. The results are your creatures attack animations taking too long to complete and sure shots at hits actually missing. Nothing about this game was enjoyable in the time I spent with it and I could see why this game was priced so low ($2.99).

(Editor/FiveDollarGamer note): I am not the SceneGamer. The SceneGamer is another budding writer like myself who wanted a platform for his creativity. After much discussion, we decided to team up and I provided a semi-established platform for him. Look for more collaborations from us in the future!) 

 

Welcome to the first article by me, The Scene Gamer! I’m bringing to you the most underground games ever made.  Don’t worry just because you haven’t heard of them, it’s ok, because I have, and now I’m bringing that knowledge to the interwebs to share with you folks.  So without lollygagging about, let’s hop right into this thing.

RAPTOR ASSAULT V

Actual cover art.

This game had me worried from the moment I heard about it.  It’s the final installment of the movie based gaming franchise created by Oppressive Creations Studios, and the last two games in the series were awful abominations that should be purged from the earth via rocket ship to the sun.  But the developers at Oppressive Creations Studios say that this game is different, better in almost every aspect from its predecessors. I can’t lie, they delivered on this almost tenfold.  Raptor Assault V is the best game in the series and it almost makes me sad that it’s the final chapter of what has been one of the most bizarre stories ever told.  Let’s start with the history of Raptor Assault briefly and point out some key plot points you should know going into this whole thing.

Raptor Assault was a movie released in 1999 by GodHead Studios and went direct to DVD at the time.  It was directed by a man named Fredrick Ghusikski and slowly gained popularity as a cult movie classic.  The basic plot of the movie is that a raptor comes back from underneath the Florida Everglades and begins killing people in a nearby town.  A man named Addler, a local croc hunter, ends up being the one to figure out what’s going on and kills it by the end of the movie.  The raptor lets out a sharp screech as it dies and a scene showing several hundreds of raptors rising out of the swamp is shown and then the credits roll.  Somebody at Oppressive Creations thought that making a game based on the movie would be the next best thing to sliced bread.  The game, although clunky and highly reminiscent of Dino Crisis for the PSOne, was actually a very well made adaptation of the movie it was based on.  So the same treatment was given to the rest of the movies that were released as well, which is how we ended up here.  2012, Raptor Assault V The Game.  Now I’m not going to bore you with all the intricate details of the story of Raptor Assault up to this point. If you want the full rundown you can watch this video I made here (FDG Note: Video was not made available at time of press. A link will be made available at a later date).  But what you should know is that a Cybernetic Raptor, aptly named Cyberaptor, came back in time ala The Terminator and caused a chain reaction of nuclear explosions around the globe causing all of the raptors to evolve faster or mutate into fucked up raptors.  This was the plot of the fourth movie……seriously.

Fucked up Raptor… seriously.

The Single Player Campaign

Now the back of the box says “multiplayer” on it, but as far as I can tell from the start up menu it doesn’t support multiplayer at all. More on that in a bit. So for now I started up the single player campaign.  When you start a single player campaign the changes between Raptor Assault V and its predecessors are very evident from the opening cut scene, which instead of stock footage from the film of the same name, are hand drawn comic book panels ala Max Payne.  I find this very well done and a great alternative to previous titles.  I’m looking at you Raptor Assault 2:  Arctic Nights.  So after the first cut scene/comic thing in which we are introduced to the main characters Jason Asmos and recapped on the story-so-far the game kicks into full gear.

The first thing I noticed was that the game HUD was in first person, something new to the RA series which usually stuck to the standard over the shoulder view.  The game engine had received a complete overhaul, the controls were tight and responsive and the game looked almost photo realistic. No surprise there as the team at Oppressive Creations had been dabbling in the use of the Crytek 3 SDK engine for the purpose of making the visuals in this game the best that they could be.  So as the game starts, you and your squad are ordered to check out a city that has been ravaged by the nuclear bombs set off by the CyberRaptor in the previous game on a report that there is some sort of new Super Raptor.  As the helicopter lands I got this overwhelming sense of fear.  The surroundings were all very “Oppressive” for lack of a better term. Besides my squad mates chitchat amongst each other everything was silent except for the occasional building creaking or wind blowing by or flames licking at the air.  Everything clicked just right to give you that sense of alone but not alone feeling, much like Metro 2033.  As I pressed forward my squad started talking about what had been going on and my character mentions the Super Raptor and the second in command, Davis instantly came back with this wonderful line:

“Super Raptor? Is that like Super Metroid? That game is my shit!”, and began acting like he was shooting things and singing a ridiculous song about the plot of Super Metroid.  If you want to hear the song I will be posting an audio clip here (FDG Note: The audio clip along with the aforementioned video will be posted at a later date).

After my character Jason tells him to “stuff it before I stuff my boot up your ass,” the level returns to being eerie.  It stayed like this for almost twenty minutes, but I hadn’t noticed how long it had been since the level started because it felt like it had only been five.  There is so much to take in visually in this game that you lose yourself in it almost immediately.  But then the silence was broken and this time it wasn’t sing along time with Uncle Davis.  Raptors distant screeches and calls started becoming all too close for comfort.  Out of nowhere sixteen raptors were on us and my squad opened fire.  For each one we killed two more replaced it.   The whole scene was incredibly terrifying and chaotic.  I felt overwhelmed and ran. I ran all the way back through the level trying to get back to the helicopter.  I could hear my teams’ screams over my commlink and echoing off of the buildings.  It was completely surreal.  I was almost to the helicopter, but as I started to jump on something hit me and knocked me to the ground.  The camera blurred and I tried to focus on whatever hit me.  A dark blurry object in the sky.  I got up and hopped into the helicopter and took off, ending the first level.

The team at Oppressive Creations Studios has stated that though the outcome of situations in the game all happen no matter what, the ways you can get to the outcome can be enormously different.  I watched a buddy of mine play the same level and he stayed and fought the onslaught of raptors.  He almost didn’t make it, but at the last minute the helicopter made it to him and picked him up leaving his dead squad mates behind.

After the first level you are brought back to the “War Room” a large room with a hologram of the planet in the middle, and debriefed.  They show you a recording of what the blurry object in the sky was.  A Raptor.  They’ve learned how to fly.  Those aren’t the only new enemies you face either.  Mutant Raptors with wings, raptors that breathe fire, Human Raptor Hybrids that can shape shift, and Raptors that have begun using guns.  That’s right. Raptors with guns, but anyway back to the campaign.

At this point you can choose where you go via the world map.  There are over 3000 levels to go to from all across the globe all in an effort to defeat the raptor menace.  This map also acts as a real-time strategy game as well.  You will be able to allot so many troops to different battlefields, move troops when needed, and call in supplies and raids all via the world map. This is also where multiplayer comes in.  Once you unlock the world map in the single player campaign you are then able to access the multiplayer functionality.

The Multiplayer

Players can play on either side of the battle on any of the maps.  And if you’re playing the single player campaign and are feeling adventurous connect to the server and watch, as all of the NPC enemies become real people trying to kill you.  Very innovative stuff.  I got the chance to play on both sides and I will say I think I had more fun as the raptors.  There are twenty different kinds of raptors to choose from. Starting with your basic raptor all the way to the CybeRaptor from the previous game.  The only problem I have is that you have to play enough to unlock all of the playable types of raptors.  Playing as a raptor is as awesome as it sounds, you’re fast and when you get a successful jump attack in on an enemy it’s a visceral instant kill of you slamming your claws into your opponents chest and tearing out its throat.  Truly one of the greatest moments in gaming history and oddly satisfying.

In Conclusion

Raptor Assault V is definitely a must have for any fan of the series and non-fans of the series alike.  It sticks to the plot of the fifth movie very well and plays like a dream come true.  The single player campaign took me about twenty-two hours to complete (offline) and the multiplayer is so innovative in its implementation.  The Raptor design is the most realistic I’ve seen outside of Jurassic Park, and the Mutant Raptor design is out of this world.  I cannot recommend this game enough.  Go play it! Now!

Next Time On Scene Gamer:

We are going to take a close look at a game from the nineties, Midnight Samurai Ultra Neon Orange Concerto.  Hurray!!!!!

If you want to become a fan of SceneGamer, navigate your web browser on over to The SceneGamer Facebook Page!

 

System: Wii

Release Date: September 18th, 2007

Rarity: 15%

Price/Location: $2.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

Holy what the hell, Konami?! What… this game… I just… *deep breath* OK, let me start from the beginning. If you had any sense of what “cute” is, then this game will give your cute radar sensory overload and give you some kind of aneurism. The opening cutscene, which plays before the start screen when you power the game on, is hand-drawn and is two kids (clearly voiced by adults) telling/listening to a story about how Dewy saved the world… or something. I lost track of what was going on when my eyes started twitching.

 

Coffee was never Tweek’s problem. He just played this game all the way through.

The story goes, black rain falls from the sky and Dewy defeats the source of it. BUT! Some time later the black rain comes back like Daft Punk: harder, better, faster, stronger.

“Harder, better, faster, stronger” clearly meaning “they came back with dorky hats.”

Dewy needs to defeat theses guys and their leader, Don Hedron, again! He has to go on a totally cute adventure through Cute Land to save his cute hometown from certain cute destruction that is ESXDRCTFYGHNKM5E46T7YUBTRR568T73U2EH OMFG I cannot stand how adorable this game is! The graphics! The environments! The music! Our protagonist!

Awww! Look at him!

I SAID LOOK AT HIM! >=O

 

Such a cute game should have  difficulty to match right? I mean, clearly I am not the demographic for this game, being an 18-34 male. The problem with this game is, I don’t think Konami knew what the demographic for Dewy’s Adventure was either. You see, for its looks, there’s actually some neat things under the hood and a challenge level to boot. Firstly, the controls. You do not control Dewy. You control the environment by tilting the Wii remote. If you’ve played the game LocoRoco for PSP, you’ll get what this means.

Also an unbearably cute game.

There is also a weather system where a press of the of the Up or Down buttons on the Wii remote (when holding it sideways) will heat up or cool down the environment, changing Dewy’s physical state. Freeze the environment to turn Dewy into a block of ice with increased offensive capabilities or warm it up to turn Dewy into a thundercloud that can stun enemies (or defeat them if they are weak enough). The point of each level is to rescue the villagers stuck in the ground by the black rain. There are 100 in each Act, 4 Acts per level. You don’t have to rescue all 100 to win, but that, along with how fast you finish will get you a better score. S is the best ranking, then going on down to A, B, and C. No failing grades here!

If only the Dewy’s Adventure development team were our teachers in high school…

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m sorry Dewy’s Adventure, but just like a hot blonde flirting with a gay cop to get out of a ticket, your looks aren’t winning anyone over. The problem lies in the “challenge level” I mentioned earlier. The challenge lies in the flawed controls. The physics are good, but it doesn’t translate well to good or fun gameplay. There are several good ideas here, flawed by their execution. With a game with such slippery (pun SO intended) controls, you’d think Konami would make it harder to fall of the edges of levels, but it’s actually quite easy to do so. That, and when you tilt the remote to manipulate the environment, the camera tilts. If you’re making several sudden movements, the action on screen gets confusing and hectic. So I’m sorry, Dewy but you must go back into the bargain bin.

No! Love me!

I’m sorry Dewy, but you just don’t have what it takes to-

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I didn’t let Episode 15 rain on my parade! Drop on by the Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page and leave some feedback, comments, questions, suggestions, or what the hell ever!

Thanks for reading!

System: 3DS eShop (also available on PC, Mac, and Android)

Release Date: December 29th, 2011

Rarity: N/A (it’s a download-only game after all!)

Price: $7.99

“Wait, hold on, FDG! I thought your name was the FIVE Dollar Gamer! What’s this $7.99 business?!” Let me spin you a tale, dear reader. You see, fairly recently (as of the time this article was written) Nintendo started discounting a game for a weekend. One of the first games they made cheap(er) for a weekend was retro-modern (modern-retro) game VVVVVV. What magical price point did they discount this game to? Why, it was lowered… for one weekend… to $4.99. Which happens to be the regular price for the game on Steam… soooo I win on a technicality? I’d rather play on my 3DS anyway.

Nintendo knows me.

I’ll admit the thing that initially hooked me, beside the price, was the retro-style graphics. Despite the 80’s PC-looking graphics, this was a game developed only a couple of years ago. It is part of a growing trend of indie games utilizing 8-bit graphics in modern-day games. But you know what? This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the game programmed around it is good. I have been conned before into playing a bad game because the retro graphics made me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days” of gaming.

Pictured: One of the thieving bastards.

VVVVVV is quite an interesting game. You play as Captain Viridian and you must rescue the other crew members of your spaceship after a teleport goes wrong and separates your crew. Each crew member’s name starts with a V (hence the name of the game). The game is open-ended, allowing you to begin your journey in any direction. Viridian moves from screen to screen avoiding spikes, enemies, and other traps and dangers. But you don’t do this by jumping or shooting some kind of awesome space blaster. The controls for this game are very simple. L, R, A, B, X, and Y all serve the same function. Hit one of these buttons and gravity will flip, allowing Viridian to walk on the ceiling.

“Hey spikes! I can see down your shirt!”

For a game with such a simple control scheme it can be downright brutal at times. Some rooms are like puzzles that you must navigate flawlessly to get through. One wrong move will send you back to the last checkpoint. Lucky for us, the checkpoints are plentiful. Also lucky for us, the lives are like soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden, completely unlimited.

But less likely to give you an upset stomach.

It may not seem like there is too much to this game, but just when you’re beginning to think that, a new small twist gets thrown at you that drastically changes how you play certain sections of the game. For example, after finding one of your crewmates, a teleporter once again fails on you, and instead of bringing you back to your ship, you must navigate several rooms of death with your partner in tow. Problem: While your crew member will automatically follow you, he does not have the same gravity-defying abilities you do. The strategy lies in the fact that he will not move while you are on the ceiling. Once you hit the floor he will come running to your location. One room will have you flipping back and forth between the floor and ceiling several times as your crewmate navigates a series of moving platforms placed precariously above and below a series of spikes. Oh, and stay on the platforms too long and it will deliver his squishy skull into the bloodthirsty spikes.

This is that room. The room that nearly broke me. It broke Viridian several times though!

There are also several collectables scattered throughout. These shiny trinkets don’t server a purpose at first and it isn’t explained to you (at least not up to the point I played) what purpose collecting all 20 will do, but Viridian brushes it off by basically saying “Eh, why not?!”

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

If you want a game that will test your patience with challenging action puzzles, this is the perfect game for you. I had to put the game down at several points (especially during “…Not as I Do”) just to avoid bursting out in a series of swears. But not once did I feel like it was the game’s fault. The flipping mechanic and physics are smooth as buttah. And the rush of relief I got after getting through “…Not as I Do” was what put the game over the top for me. It was some kind of weird high for me. That a game can get me so emotionally invested, not through its story, but through its gameplay is just… awesome. If you don’t want to pay $7.99 for it on the 3DS eShop, like I said, it’s $4.99 on Steam ($2.49 during the summer sale!).

If you flipped for Episode 14, then spike my traffic on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

Why?: It was a pain in the ass to get working. Once I did, I went to enter my name to create my save file. In the midst of creating the save, the game somehow failed to recognize that the system I was playing on was a Game Boy Color (somehow mistaking it for a regular Game Boy). I restarted and got into the game. I wish I hadn’t. Bad graphics, bad controls, bad combat, bad music. The music was early, low-budget NES-era quality. This game was made in 2001. The sprites were tiny and barely recognizable. The flying controls were floaty with a significantly long delay in recognizing button inputs.

Welcome to The Landfill! Early fans of the page may notice that I already posted two of these games on The Landfill page on this site. But, for organizations sake, I’m going to make each one a blog post now. I’m not going to go at length like I usually do with the regular featured games on the site, mostly because I don’t feel these games deserve it. The games that end up in The Landfill are games that I played that would have been featured in a regular article on Five Dollar Gamer, but ended up being bad in every single way. I’ll just include a short blurb about why each game was so bad. So with that said:

Why?: This game was a pain in the ass to even get working in my Super Nintendo. Not really the game’s fault, but it left me less tolerant for the bullcrap that came next. The controls are awful, the driving point-of-view is annoying, but what really sent this game to the landfill was the sound. My goodness, the sound. I had a headache 2 laps into the first 7-lap race. By lap 3 the pain had spread to the back of my eyeballs. No joke. This was 99 cents horribly spent. This game by now is likely literally in a landfill. I took it to Gaming Warehouse once to see if I could salvage something out of it, but the employee informed me due to its condition (slightly corroded contact points) he could not buy it. I asked him to recycle it or throw it away. Good riddance.