Posts Tagged ‘ps2’

 

leagueoflegends.com

leagueoflegends.com

About an hour before I started to write this I had just finished up a game of League of Legends. Two weeks ago, I was not playing League of Legends. I was introduced to League of Legends by my girlfriend who had been playing for quite a while. As is likely the case with people first starting off, I was terrible. There were games where I’d die way more than the number of kills I got, sometimes even going without a kill. I’m still only playing against beginner A.I. bots, but I’ve come a ways since two weeks ago. I can’t remember the last game I had where I finished with more deaths than kills. I genuinely felt like I was getting better at the game. As I had this thought I realized if my girlfriend hadn’t prodded me into finally playing the game (after it had been installed on my computer for over a year, I wouldn’t be playing this game that I’m really, really enjoying. Then I thought about other games that I play or played only after being introduced to them at someone’s insistence. I thought about how many of those I enjoyed and how many I didn’t. I also thought about how many games I found on my own and then passed on to someone else.

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

I think a lot of us have at one time or another only played a game because someone told them they should. Why should they play it? Usually because they found it fun and they want to share the fun they’re having with other people. As compared to the majority of my peer group, I have an eclectic taste in games. If I play and/or enjoy a game in a genre I’m not known to usually play and/or enjoy, I get some quizzical looks and told “but you don’t usually play [insert genre here].” I think that’s why I don’t get invited to try new games by friends that I’ve known since middle school. They know me as a Mario/Nintendo fan. This is fair, because it’s true. If someone suggests I try a game, it’s likely by someone that hasn’t known me for too long. When my current girlfriend suggested League of Legends, she had only known me for 5 months. When my boss at GameStop suggested then-new release Bioshock, I had only been there a month. When an ex-girlfriend suggested Minecraft, it was mere weeks. These games all represent genres that were outside of my norm. But they didn’t really know how my gaming taste profile was configured. With League of Legends, I had never played a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) before, but I’m enjoying it so far. With Bioshock, I wasn’t a huge fan of first-person shooters, I’m still not, but I enjoyed this game immensely. As far as Minecraft goes, well, I should have tried it before I bought it, because I dropped $26.99 on a game I thought was really boring and couldn’t return (darn you, digital downloads!). But it was the insistence of others that led me to discovering these games and if I liked them or not. It’s why I’ll give any game a look, even if it’s a genre I don’t typically play, because I never know what will strike a chord with me. I think everyone should be receptive of suggestions. Don’t close off any opportunities to play a new game because “historically, you haven’t enjoyed [insert genre here].” I’m proof positive you can enjoy games outside of your comfort zone!

GameFAQs

GameFAQs

Of course there are games out there that I took a chance on without prompting from someone else. A lot of these have been covered on this very blog. But nobody when I was 2 years old suggested I play Super Mario Bros. There was no one who told me NBA 2K5 is really good, you should play it too. When I saw Evolution Worlds for GameCube on a GameStop shelf one day, I picked it up, not because someone told me to, but because it looked fun and I took a chance on it. That’s what discovering new games is all about, taking chances. Super Mario Bros. was just there as a kid, NBA 2K5, the first basketball game I ever bought, was a steal at $20 brand new, and Evolution Worlds didn’t work out for me. But I never would have known if I never took that chance. I’m sure whoever is reading this has at one point turned down the opportunity to play a game because it looked boring, whether suggested to you or not. But what is the worst that can happen? Either you take a chance and discover a game that could go down in your personal annals of gaming history or you reaffirm your assumptions and move on to something else. This is something I’m guilty of, we all are.

8-Bit Central

8-Bit Central

It’s an idea that transcends mediums. Movies, TV shows, music, books, you name it. We are always suggesting to others that they should watch, listen, read, or play something. I think a big problem though, is that we are not jumping on these suggestions enough. I suggest stuff to people all the time and they never try it. Don’t worry; I’m just as guilty of this as well. We feel like our free time is so precious, especially in adult life, so we’re afraid to step out of our comfort zones when we get some down time. But then think about what you do in your down time. Is your favorite downtime activity something you discovered yourself or at the insistence of someone else? Here’s something you should do: The next time someone suggests a game that they enjoy, even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll enjoy, just try it. You never know if it’s going to become the latest game in your repertoire unless you go for it. I close this with a relevant quote:

 

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus (The Magic School Bus Wiki)

“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” ~Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus (The Magic School Bus Wiki)

 

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.

If you didn’t already find this article through my Facebook page, be sure to check it out. I also have a Twitter account! Also, if you’re on Steam, I am too!

 

System: Playstation 2

Release Date: September 13th, 2005

Rarity: Unknown

Price/Location: $3.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

I’ve always enjoyed fighting games, despite my lack of skill. My favorite series is Tekken. I always felt that Tekken required the least amount of skill for you to find success. Heck, I took 2nd in a tournament once by picking Marshall Law and doing nothing but kicks.

I can’t read Japanese, but I’m almost certain that says “Tip: Hit Circle to win.”

I was pretty excited to find out via the back cover of Urban Reign that Paul and Law from Tekken make appearances in this game! I thought “Oh cool! I’m gonna superkick my way through this urban jungle as Not Bruce Lee! This game is already awesome!” And thus I never actually played it and deemed it good enough to be praise-worthy.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

But then I figured I should actually play the game. What if the addition of Paul and Law was just a gimmick to sell copies? What if this game was utter s*** and the developers knew it so they threw in Tekken characters because they figured, “Oh they won’t even care, because everyone loves Tekken.” F***! I don’t want to play this game!

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

Enough of this, let’s just jump into the game shall we?

“Thank you! Holy crap! Just get on with it!”

As always, I jump into the Options screen first to make any necessary adjustments. Everything here looked pretty standard. Difficulty, sound, picture. I think Autosave was off by default. If it was, I turned it on. Save times turned out to be quick anyway, so the frequent saves that came up weren’t really a nuisance. Brad Hawk is our protagonist, a hired hand called to the city of Green Harbor to help find KG, a member of a gang who has been kidnapped. Shun Ying Lee, the female leader of the Chinatown gang, is the one that hires Brad, because she fears the kidnapping will lead to an all-out war among the gangs of Green Harbor. There is a Green Harbor in Massachusetts and it’s near Boston. So I’m going to pretend this city is based on Boston.

“Waht?! They kidnahpped KG?! Fahk you! I’ll kick ya ass wicked hahd! Go Sawks!”

The first few missions introduce us to the controls. I wish the on-screen explanation of the controls could have come during a break in the action and not during the action. The action is fast-paced and paying attention to both can be a bit difficult. This comes up multiple times druing the game when new abilities are introduced. Thankfully, the controls are simple and don’t require too much of my time, but just enough time that my opponent could get a few hits in while I’m reading. The gameplay seems to be in the vein of Streets of Rage or Fighting Force 64. It’s a 3D street brawler, except each mission is short and ends only when the enemies in the area are defeated. The number of enemies Brad faces off with at one time vary by mission, but it’s between 1 and 5.

Bring it.

After each mission, you’ll get 1-3 points you can add to your stats, like Striking, Toughness, Special Attacks, or Regional Attack/Defense. The regional attacks are what I feel sets this game apart from other street brawlers and actually adds a bit of strategy to the button-mashing. You can target your opponents head, upper body, and legs. Do enough damage to a region and they’ll take more damage to that region and their attacks will be less effective. Improving your stats to certain areas will come in handy as you wade through the missions. The gameplay doesn’t get mixed up very much during these numerous missions. In missions 1-30 (out of 100!) Brad basically shakes down the other gangs for information… by beating the hell out of them. This may sound boring and repetitive but the missions are so short that Mission 30 will show up in no time. Plus, the gameplay is so crisp and fun, I hardly took issue with the repetitiveness of the story and missions. It took me roughly 45 minutes to an hour of game time to reach Mission 30 if that gives you a frame of reference. I use Mission 30 as a benchmark, because this is where the plot and other integral gameplay aspects open up. It turns out a group of outsiders are responsible for KGs kidnapping, making it look like one of the other gangs was responsible, with the hopes that they’d all wipe each other out, clearing the way for them to come in and take over.

“Not so fast. I’m Brad F***in’ Hawk: Face Puncher.”

After this point, you can choose a partner for select missions (about 2/3rds of the remaining missions) and switch between them by holding R2 and pressing X. Your partners are the leaders of the gangs you have been beating up for the first 1/3rd of the game. Since these leaders have been labeled as traitors by the lower-ranking members, they join the gang of outsiders and make up the core of punching bags you’ll be fighting when you’re not fighting higher-ranked members.

For those familiar with early 1990’s WWF, this fight pictured here is like Hulk Hogan vs. Doink the Clown & “Iron” Mike Sharpe.

After a while, a gang led by Shun Ying Lee’s brother comes into town and you beat up on them for a while. Some missions here can get quite frustrating, especially when facing off against Golem. He’s a former professional wrestler with unmached power. He’s not even close to being a high-ranking combatant, but he’s easily the toughest opponent in the game. You fight him five times. Five times!

Five times?

Five. Times.

It is eventually revealed that the mayor of Green Harbor, William Bordin is behind the whole thing. See, he wants to run for State Governor and felt that if he could quell a crimewave he artificially created it would benefit his chances to get elected. With proof in hand of his misdeeds, Bordin aims his gun at you, and thus, Mission 100 begins! The final face off!

He kills you in 2 shots with his gun before you even formulate a strategy. Luckily my strategy of using the dodge/block button to avoid his bullets worked and Bordin goes down in 2 hits himself. Hooray! That’s it! Urban Reign is over!

“Cellllllllllebrate good times! Come on!”

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

I LOVED this game! This is easily my favorite of the games I’ve played for the blog so far. The missions may be a bit repetitive and the story a bit nonsensical, but it is so much fun to play. It got a bit frustrating at times, but with a bit of skill and practice, I made my way through any mission that came my way. For a game boasting 100 missions, it sure doesn’t last long. It took me about 3-1/2 hours of game time to get through the story. But it was an extremely fun 3-1/2 hours. Paul and Law from Tekken actually can’t be unlocked until after the story is completed and can only be used in non-story modes, but the game was so engrossing that I had forgotten about them until well after I was done with the game. I cannot recommend this game enough. If you see this game, pick it up and get it.

Episode 12 just made its way through the urban landscape and punched the mayor across the finish line! 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: Playstation 2 (also available for GameCube, Xbox, and Xbox 360)

Release Date: November 18th, 2003

Rarity: Unknown

Price/Location: $1.99/Gaming Warehouse (Grandville)

Sierra Entertainment is famous for publishing popular series of games such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and numerous adventure games dating back to the 80s and 90s. Chances are, if you have been playing games for a while, you have played a Sierra Entertainment game. However, it is extremely less likely that you’ve played a game by Metal Arms developer, Swingin’ Ape Studios. There’s a reason for that. Never heard of Swingin’ Ape Studios? There’s also a reason for that too. Metal Arms: Glitch In the System is the only game ever released by them.

One and done. Hit it and quit it.

The studio was made up of former Midway developers and was purchased by Blizzard sometime after releasing Metal Arms. The team members would move on to work on other Blizzard projects. When a friend pointed out this game to me, I was intrigued. This game was priced much lower than the games around it. Priced at just $1.99, could Metal Arms: Glitch In the System be Swingin’ Ape Studios’ magnum opus? Or is there a reason their portfolio includes just one game and I was able to get it for a scratch-off ticket?

Accurate representation of me and the guys at the game store.

Unlike the previous games I’ve covered, this one has a well-defined story spelled out for you at the beginning of the game. An evil robot General uses his army of evil robot soldiers to take over a planet of Droid robots. A rebellion forms and those captured are deactivated or destroyed. You play as Glitch. Glitch is a deactivated Droid found, still intact, by some members of the rebellion forces. You are caught up to speed on the rebellion in the guise of a 1950s-era instructional video. You then begin the first level, which is a tutorial level. This game is apparently a 3rd-person shooter. I thought it was a platformer. Ah, well. Two rebellion Droids give you the basic controls as you move through the level and the situation warrants you learning something new. At this point, I’m feeling good about this game. The voice-acting is really good, the story is engaging, if basic, and the controls work. What could go wrong? High five! Next game, please!

Whoa! Not so fast there Jaws and King Kong.

Enemies approach! Time to get out your kick-ass robot laser weapon and blow up some evil robots! This is why anyone bought this game, right?! Sweet robot-on-robot carnage!

How friggin’ disappointing is it that THIS is the worst part of the game? Where to begin with how badly the combat in Metal Arms fails? Let’s start with your weapon. Now, I understand that the starting weapon in any shooting game is going to be… less powerful than weapons you acquire further in the game. That holds true here, but your standard-issue mining laser sucks. Furthermore, when you use it, or any weapon for that matter, there is no real good on-screen indication that your shots are hitting. Yes, your aiming reticule turns red when aimed at an enemy, but there’s no clear visual cue that you’re doing damage.

Why won’t you die?! Are you close to death? Am I even doing damage to you? Not even a tingle?

At least you get grenades along the way in this level. Very effective, but you’re toast in one hit if you stand too close to the blast radius. So, after unloading a ridiculous amount of lasers into your enemies, the training level ends and you’re off to hopefully find a better weapon. Level 2 begins with you needing to get to the other side of a river of lava, but those damned Milbots blew up the bridge! You’ll need to cut some wires holding up some piping and create a makeshift bridge! How will you do it and where will you find the means?! Answers to both questions lie conveniently 5 feet to your right in a metal crate. A gun that shoots saw-like blades! Hooray! A better weapon! Problem solved, right?!

You guys once again are too quick to react.

The sawblade gun thing does get you across the river of lava via shooting the support wires for that piping and creating a makeshift bridge, but that’s about all it’s good for. It’s just as weak as your mining laser, but it’s got a slower firing rate, AND limited ammo! At least you still have grenades with plenty of ammo refills scattered about. Rescue some more of your rebellion friends and level 2 is complete! So level 3 is where I decided what my final assessment of the game would be. It had a mix of good and bad for me. Firstly, you get some actual great weapons in this level. Guns that can actually destroy your enemies in a reasonable amount of time.

I’m gonna start shooting you now. Can you be dead sometime before next month?

So the evil Milbots are invading Droid Town, the last stronghold for the rebellion! The firefight here is frantic and enemies are everywhere. Clear an area and you’re told to move onto the next. Waves of enemies are eating my bullets of justice! We’re swiftly moving onto the next area after the last! We’re on cruise control for a win! “Move onto the next area!” says the commander! Got it. So… where is it? The level design here runs flat into a brick wall. In the last two areas, it was pretty straightforward. Clear an area, giant tunnel on the opposite side of the map leads you to next area. In this 3rd area, where you think you’re supposed to go to progress, you run into a dead end in some kind of hangar. I ran frantically around the map trying to find where to go to progress but after a half-hour of searching, I gave up. I later looked up where to go on GameFAQs just out of curiosity.

The outpost for any gamer who’s ever shouted “What the F***?!” at a game.

There are a series of enclosed walkways raised above the ground in each section of the map housing some hidden items and whatnot. I walked around in these looking for ammo when I was running low. Apparently in one section of walkways is a small tunnel leading to the next area. I would never have guessed it would be found here. The camera while navigating these walkways is awful and you are combating the camera angle just as much as you are your enemies. I would have liked to continue the game after reading this, but I was burnt out from frustration.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

I’m disappointed that I bargain binned this one. Since booting the game up, it seems like when it starts to do something right, it does something to lose my trust I built in the game. The story started off good, then I found out about the combat, the combat got slightly less frustrating, then the level design completely hampered what goodwill the game had built up with me. I appreciate what the game did well. The story and the voice acting is really well done, but the boring and frustrating gameplay and level design didn’t engage me enough to make me feel compelled to move on.

That does it for Episode 5 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: Playstation 2 (also available on PC)

Release Date: August 5th, 2003

Rarity: Unknown

Price/Location: $4.99/GameStop

This is not a game I’d typically play. The whole “protagonist is a vaguely Asian girly-looking guy with giant sword” kinda games are ones I’d more than likely pass over when looking at new games to buy. Luckily for Chaos Legion, it was placed in a yellow GameStop disk sleeve and stuck in the bargain bin (they had the actual case behind the counter for whatever reason). I couldn’t really tell from the disk art that this game had the aforementioned girly-looking guy as the protagonist.

Lucky for our hero, the main antagonist is even more feminine looking.

I chose this game because I had never heard of it. When I seek out games for this blog, I try not to focus on games where I know the reason for its price. I know why that copy of Madden 2004 is only 99-cents, and it’s pretty obvious why no one is going to shell out the big bucks for the game based on a Saturday morning cartoon show which was a spin off of a box-office bomb.

Exhibit A

This game was made by Capcom! It says “If you loved Devil May Cry, you’ll love this game!” right on the cover! How many games were in that series? Like 4 at least right? With a reboot of the series coming soon. It piqued my interest in the same way Tin Star did. Why was this game with Capcom behind it the same price as a Big Mac combo at McDonald’s?

“Video Games Cheaper Than Most Food” was just one of many rejected names for this blog.

The first thing I check out in any new game I play is the Options menu. Not much out of the ordinary here. I didn’t feel the need to change much, although your enemies’ life meters are turned off be default. I turned it back on. When starting the game, you are given the option to play on either “Easy” or “Normal” difficulty. Wanting to get the developer’s intended experience for this game, I choose “Normal.” The opening cinematic looks nice for a PS2 game. It’s thankfully short because the characters, Sieg Wahrheit (our protagonist) and Victor Delacroix (our antagonist)  are awfully broody and the setting looks like a bad sci-fi movie centered around religion.

Exhibit B

I’m not particularly religious. It just doesn’t interest me. Fantasy religion doesn’t help things here. I will say this about the story after spending some time with the game: I don’t care. It’s like when you’re watching a movie and no matter how well it may be written, if it’s poorly acted, it takes you out of the world the movie is trying to immerse you in. That’s how I felt during cut scenes. I could only focus on the things the game probably didn’t want me focusing on. Like how a scout reporting damage done to a nearby town sounds like a guy from southern California. It just couldn’t hold my attention.

One of these two may be the culprit.

The actual important part of the game, the gameplay, thankfully makes up for the hammy acting and forgettable storyline. When you first gain control of your character, you immediately get the feeling that this is going to be another run-of the-mill, hack-and-slash, mash-the-attack-button-until-your-thumbs-bleed kind of game.

The “win the game” button.

The gameplay centers around the Chaos Legion, which are monsters that you can summon to fight alongside you. This feature helps break up some of the monotony of mashing square over and over and will actually serve to add a bit of strategy in later levels. You start off with one, Thanatos, the ultimate Legion at the beginning of the game. You can use these Legions in one of two ways. One is when you do not have them summoned, hit triangle to do a powerful burst attack (which consumes “Soul points”, or when summoned, they act almost as a CPU-controlled second player. Thanatos was a great aid in getting through level one. His burst attack had an area-of-effect capability and could defeat waves of enemies in one shot. I found it odd that Sieg would be wielded with such a powerful ally from the outset, but alas, Thanatos’ crest is destroyed at the end of Level 1 and you must find all 9 fragments over the course of the game to get him back.

Level 1’s “win the game” button.

Although you lose Thanatos, you gain Guilt, who attacks with swords. This is when the game delves into the strategy of when and how to use your Legions. Any Legion, when summoned, will slow your run speed to a walk and lower your attack power, but it adds more attackers to the fray. When Guilt is summoned, he splits into 3 and attacks any enemy in sight. The strategy comes into play here because of the numerous waves of enemies coming at you. Guilt can take the focus from some of your attackers while you concentrate on other enemies.

Also known as a playground rumble. What are friends for?

After Level 2 the strategy element is extended further with the introduction of the Legion, Malice and mechanical vs. organic enemies. Guilt is strong against organic enemies and Malice is strong against mechanical enemies. Switching Legions on the fly is a bit cumbersome, but it didn’t get in the way bad enough that it hampered my ability to dish out swift justice. The action on screen during Level 3 gets a little hectic at this point, but in no way did it feel impossible.

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

It wasn’t the story, graphics, or even the controls that sucked me in. The gameplay and strategy alone saved this from the bargain bin. By the time I got to Level 3, I was destroying some fools in a way that made me utter “Heh. Sweet!” I felt that this was a game I could have felt comfortable paying more than $5 for. This game may be $5 because it was overlooked due to mediocre reviews upon its release or because of its age in regards to the PS2 lifecycle. Either way, this game is by no means perfect, but it’s fun enough to make me feel my 5-spot I spent on it didn’t go to waste.

So Episode 3 of Five Dollar Gamer is in the can! 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!