Posts Tagged ‘gamestop’

Recently I took a trip to my local GameStop upon hearing of a sale that was right up my alley. Buy 5 Playstation 2 games priced at $.99 or less for $1. That means, 20 cents each! Also they did a Buy 2, Get 2 on anything $3.99 and less. I took advantage of both offers. For the 5 for a dollar deal, I chose all racing games. I picked out Pro Race Driver, Gran Turismo 3, Choro Q, Ridge Racer V, and Top Gear Dare Devil. For the others, I picked up SSX 3, Soul Calibur II, MLB Power Pros 2008, and Ultimate Muscle Galactic Wrestling. Nine games for about $8.50. Not bad. I figured one of these days these 5 racing games might make for a nice little article. Then something unusual happened.

I’m sitting in my game room one day when my girlfriend decides to pay me a visit. We live together, but she rarely hangs out with me in my room of game. So this was a rare occasion. She is also not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. She’ll play the occasional Professor Layton game or Monopoly on the 360, but nothing more than casual gaming fare and no more often than roughly once every 6 months. So the next words out of her mouth caught me by surprise.

“Do you have any games I could play? Like, racing games? Not old ones, but something on PS2 or something.”

Oh… how the stars aligned for this one.

I quickly informed her of my recent purchase of 5 racing games I bought at Gamestop. Knowing her attention span (or should I say toleration) is short when it comes to video games, I had to work quickly. I asked her to pick a game. Our first game was Pro Race Driver by Codemasters, makers of one of my favorite racing games, GRID.

Well… it would have been, had the disc not looked like it lost a fight with a lawn mower. I decided to cheat a little bit and substitute SSX 3 in Pro Race Drivers spot. But for now, our actual first game is Top Gear Dare Devil! Select comments from my girlfriend will be highlighted in magenta italics.

What? One car? What the f*** is this? This game sucks already!

I have to agree with her on this point. From the outset, this game doesn’t look promising. Only one car and one track are unlocked at the very beginning. I can see maybe one track, but why only one car? I get that you want to get people to play the main career mode or whatever, but imagine if you and your friends sat down to play the new Street Fighter and the only available character was E. Honda. We begrudgingly pick our only options, a Mini Cooper-ish looking car, and the streets of Rome.

This game looks ugly.

Again, I agree with her, but I can’t be as harsh on it because I know that it’s a near-launch PS2 game. Still, there’s something about the cartoony HUD combined with the decidedly UN-cartoony environments that just clashes.

I can’t control this thing.

The controls are bad. Gentle corners require heavy breaking. The car doesn’t turn to the left or right as much as you’d think when you firmly press that button.

I ended up winning the race.

Overall Impression: That game sucked.

Agreed. Our next game is Choro Q. This is the sequel to a game I reviewed a while back called Penny Racers on the Nintendo 64.

What the f*** does “Choro Q” mean?

I have no earthly idea what it means, but explaining the finer points of Japanese culture to my girlfriend would take more time than I was willing to risk.

Hurry up and pick a car!

I couldn’t help but look at all the bizarre names for these cars. I can’t remember any of the top of my head, but they were pretty… unique. I had to scroll through and admire them all, but also admire the diversity of car types. Sports cars, sedans, Formula 1, cement trucks, utility vehicles, and more. She ended up with the cement truck and I ended up choosing a 3-wheeled car. Oh boy.

Ugh. I can’t stop spinning out!

If you turn too hard without hitting the brakes, you’ll spin out. Unfortunately, this is too easy to do, but it’s easy to avoid with controlled braking. It’s easy to forget though in the heat of a tight race.

She ended up winning the race. We both spun out on the final turn, but she didn’t take as long as I did to recover.

Overall Impressions: I guess that game was okay.

I agree. The controls take some getting used to, but I think this could end up being a fun game. I’d love to delve into the single-player mode. Next is Ridge Racer V from Namco.

Wait, why can’t I play?

Because I couldn’t find the 2-player option. Later research indicates there is a multiplayer option, but I couldn’t find it in RRV’s busy-looking menu screens. The game plays like any other Ridge Racer game. It’s fun, but there’s not much to it.
Overall Impressions: That game sucked because I couldn’t play it.

I disagree, because I did play it. It was alright. The next game is Gran Turismo 3.

She actually didn’t have much to comment on during the early part of our GT3 session outside of telling me which track she wanted to play. She ended up picking a dirt course, which meant we were using rally cars. Now, I’ve played GT3 before, albeit a long time ago, so I didn’t remember what rally races were like in this game. If they were anything like, well, any other rally racing game, the controls would be loose and precision timing would be required to corner effectively. I warned her of this.

I don’t care. Let’s play.

Rally racing in GT3 was surprisingly not bad. It didn’t play as loose as some rally racing games. I was trying to drift smoothly around corners and I ended up spinning out a few times, while her style of playing it straight as if she were racing a normal car won her the race. I decided we should play a race on the Super Speedway to capture the essence of GT3. She picks a Peugeot roadster, I pick a Nissan Skyline. My fatal flaw in the setup of the race is I picked Drift style over racing. As a result she blew me out of the water as on straightaways she was 15 MPH faster than me. I started the race over after her big win. I ended up choosing racing style over drift. The result was a bit closer, but with me winning this time.

You cheated!

Shush.

Overall Impressions: I guess that game wasn’t so bad.

Are you only saying you like games you win at?

Yeah.

Our last game is SSX 3.


This is actually pretty easy.

This game controls a lot differently than a traditional racing game, and it actually made it more competitive. We traded the lead back and forth before she captured the win.

Where the hell is the finish line?

We tried a one on one race afterwards and it confused the hell out of both of us. Where was the goal? It felt like we were going in circles.  I happened to find it first by sheer luck. She crossed the line soon after.

Overall Impressions: I liked that 1st race better. Not just because I won, but because we got lost during the 2nd one.

Fair enough.

So that will do it for this article! To summarize, Top Gear Dare Devil is a no, Choro Q is alright, Ridge Racer V is nothing new, Gran Turismo 3 is okay, and SSX 3 is better the 1st time around.

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System: Xbox 360 (also available on PC, improved special edition on PS3)

Release Date: June 12th, 2007

Rarity: 15%

Price/Location: $4.85/GameStop

I remember the hype leading up to the release of this game. Well, the PS3 version, anyway. The Playstation 3 version was released over a year after this one and was supposed to make everything about the 360 version better. The hype for it was incredible. I worked at GameStop at the time of the PS3 release and we were advertising the hell out of it. Posters, advertisements, pre-order bonuses the likes of which were usually reserved for big titles like Halo and Call of Duty. This was going to be one big game.

The chaos outside GameStop on August 5th, 2008.

That day came and went and I barely heard about the game again. It was but a distant memory until a few weeks ago, when I found the 360 version sitting in the $9.99-and-under bin at my local GameStop. The memories all came flooding back. The hype, all the pre-order merchandise, the sudden drop off in interest of the game. As I wasn’t working for GameStop at the time of the original release, I can’t comment on the hype for it, but surely the demand must have been there for a port to the Playstation 3. Every game worthwhile gets a port to another system to reach a wider audience, right?

John Romero made everyone he suckered out of $50 his bitch.

The main menu is typical for the 360: Single Player, Multiplayer, Options, Leaderboards, Extras. I turn on the subtitles because sometimes it’s useful for story comprehension. Hopping into the game, you are given the choice of 4 characters. Zack is the token nerd, Andy is the token skater dude, Carrie is the token goth girl, and Jennifer is the token blonde cheerleader.

Character development is easy when you stick to stereotypes!

I choose Andy because why not. The story begins in comic book form with Zack monologuing to himself about how his parents are out of town and this is his chance to tell Carrie how he feels about her. It’s revealed Carrie is in the room with him and they’re doing homework. He starts to try to spit it out, but there’s a knock at the door. Andy pops in, inquiring about a skateboard Zack was supposed to fix for him. Carrie, frustrated that they’re getting nowhere on the homework, goes to leave, when she runs into Jennifer, who comes over to see if Zack has finished her biology report yet. So far Carrie seems like the only decent character so far. Now that all four are in the house, it’s time for the monsters to attack! What convenient timing!

“Are the kids all in the house now? Alright! Time to wreck shit!”

The gameplay finally begins and holy crap is the screen a clusterf***. The camera slowly rotates around the pivot point that is my character and there is chaos all over the place. Zombies swarm the house and random objects are littered all over the place. The live tutorial is lagging behind the action, and I don’t actually learn what the controls are until well after the action had begun. The right trigger button attacks, A to jump, B to dodge, left trigger to throw projectile weapons, X to perform actions like picking up weapons, opening doors, etc. Everything looks so tiny as well which contributes to the clusterf***iness of this game. I’m sure it’d look better on an HDTV, but I’m playing this on a 27″ Sylvania from the late 90’s with a screen burn spot in the upper right corner.

Not the TV to show off AWSUM GRAYPHICS with.

Speaking of how the game looks, I’m sure it’s because they wanted to do 4-player simultaneous gameplay while also throwing in as much crap as they can on screen because why the hell not, but the graphics are not among the best the 360 has to offer. The gameplay and comic book cutscenes look decent, but strangely the cutscenes where they introduce a new enemy would barely be passable on the Playstation 2. These cutscenes are pointless anyway. Half of them introduce a character so minor that they die in one hit and can’t easily be identified anyway because of how zoomed out and, once again, how clusterf***y the game is. After escaping the house, the battle is taken to the streets and Larry Tools is introduced. He knows what’s going on somehow, despite the whole thing starting only a few minutes ago (remember, Andy and Jennifer managed to walk over to Zack’s house unscathed). He offers to build you weapons if you bring him parts and Monster Tokens.

The blue things there that pop out of the zombies that suddenly appeared only minutes ago that Larry Tools seems to suspiciously know so much about.

The game seems easy so far, if not, just a little monotonous. Mashing the trigger button is not the preferred way I’d like to take out waves of enemies in a game like this. I’d prefer if the attack button could be mapped to one of the face buttons. Also a problem with this control configuration is that a special attack can be launched by holding the attack button down after a meter has been filled. The problem here is that the attack animation is too slow for the frantic on-screen action, so I’m often hitting the trigger button multiple times, as feels natural in a game like this, before my character finishes one attack. The result is the special attack misfiring when you don’t want it too. So many times I’d be close to finishing off a wave of enemies, only to have my special attack trigger accidentally on the last enemy. Very frustrating.

I turned into Angry Video Game Nerd many times during the playing of this game.

The challenge level of any good game gradually goes up as you progress through the game. Level 1 in the house is pretty easy. Level 2 on the streets is a little tougher, but there are soda machines to refill your health around every corner. If Level 1 and 2 is the game patting you on the back and saying “you’re doing a great job, you’ll defeat me in no time,” then Level 3 is the game swiftly kicking you in the balls, laughing at your pain, and stealing your girlfriend at the same time.

Pictured: Level 3

Level 3 takes place in the park, but it is no walk in the park! *har har har* Some annoying as hell enemies show up to taunt you into ripping the hair out of your head. Spiders, Fire Imps, Evil Clowns, and the enemy that made me give up once and for all: Bigfoot. Remember how I talked about how games typically have a challenge level that gradually rises? Well, the reason why I felt the challenge level rose an exponential rate so early in the game is because of what was added to Level 3 (multiple enemies flooding the screen that all take multiple hits to kill) and what was taken away (there is one soda machine I was able to find in the park, compared to the roughly 84 of them in Level 2. The weapons Larry Tools builds¬† for you don’t really help much. The nail gun is weak and has a slow firing rate, although it helped with the Fire Imps, since they dodge your melee attacks. The pipe shotgun is a bit more powerful than the nail gun, but it greatly slows your walking speed, to the point where you can’t avoid enemy fire.

I guess I can’t expect much from something that looks like this in real life.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m sure this game would have been a little better had I been playing with more people. But at least in a similar game, like Gauntlet Legends, the difficulty level was scaled down for those playing alone. The bigfoot enemies I encountered, likely would have been tackled easily by two or more people, but with just me, it was cause for me to call it quits. If I hadn’t said it enough, the game is a giant clusterf***. The amount of stuff on-screen makes it disorienting and it doesn’t help the camera is constantly rotating. The controls and attack animations just felt unnatural for a game of this type. I would hope that the PS3 version released a year later improved on some of these things, but I’m not too eager to find out. This just left a bad taste in my mouth.

That does it for Episode 8 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

System: Game Boy

Release Date: June 1991

Rarity: 19%

Price/Location: $1.99/GameStop

The funny thing about this game and its predecessor, R.C. Pro-Am for the NES is that the graphics are so primitive, at least when compared to today’s awesome graphics, that one can hardly tell that you are actually racing R.C. cars and not actual cars. I spent years playing R.C. Pro-Am as a kid without putting 2 and 2 together and realizing “Oh, they’re tiny cars and R.C. stands for ‘radio controlled’ and OMG I WANT ONE OF THESE FOR CHRISTMAS!” They just looked like regular ol’ cars to me. Thanks NES.

Pictured: Awesome graphics.

The same problem exists in the game featured in today’s episode, Super R.C. Pro-Am. This was developed by a company called Rare, best known for their critically-acclaimed smash hits Kinect Sports and Grabbed By the Ghoulies. They also did some little-known series of games called Donkey Kong Country and Banj0-Kazooie.

As if saying “From the creators of…” was ever a guarantee of a good time.

So, jumping into the game, you get the title screen, hit start and BOOM! Right into the first race. No options menu, no additional game modes, no pre-race preparations. Rare treats the start button as the ready to race button. The first thing I noticed was the sound. Just like the NES original, there is no music during the race. Pre-race and post-race there is some music, but during the actual gameplay itself, you merely have sound effects. These sound effects are brought over from the NES version but with slight “improvements.” I use that term lightly and put it in quotes solely because of the sound of the tires screeching when you round corners. This is the sound you will hear most of the time and the sound that drove me to turn the volume off after a few races. It’s as if someone is stepping on a cat every time you turn.

The arrows indicate “Bleeding Eardrums Ahead.”

Aside from the sound, the actual gameplay is quite good. The controls are simple, B to go, A to fire weapon. Weapons include rockets to shoot ahead of you or mines to fire behind you. You can only switch weapons by picking up that weapon on the track. Each weapon pickup gives you 5 ammo and stars scattered about the track add 1 to your surplus. There are also tire, battery, and engine upgrades for your car that you can pick up which you WILL NEED in order to succeed in later levels. Same goes for the letter pickups. These letters spell “NINTENDO.” Spell “NINTENDO” and you will be granted a whole new model of car.

Fun Fact: “Spell ‘Nintendo’ and Win A New Car” was a game edited out of a 1993 episode of The Price is Right.

That’s pretty much all there is to the game. Race, shoot, step on cats turn your way to victory. Upgrade your car, rinse, and repeat. Just like nearly every game in the 80s and 90s there is a score and a high score list. The score just seems to serve a purpose of progression in the game, since there is no save or password option.

Actual shot taken from my game. I was 30 points away from the top score after my first game over! 30!

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I was a little tentative on giving this game the bargain bin treatment. I feel that the fun factor of a game is very important and this game was actually fun to play. However, I saw everything this game had to offer within the first 10 minutes. There are things that get thrown at you hazard-wise on the tracks in later levels, but these start to pop up fairly early. In addition, this game is virtually identical to the NES version aside from a few cosmetic upgrades. After playing the game for a while, I don’t feel compelled to pick up and play it again. This series would be a perfect candidate for a modern-day remake and I think it would be fantastic. Until then, this game, sadly, must stay in the bargain bin.

So that’s it for Episode 2 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!