Saturday, December 27, 2014

#133: Goal!

Soccer in Sim City!
I'd not heard of Goal! before today, and was awfully wary of what I was going to get once I saw it was by Jaleco. The name certainly implies soccer, so I was expecting a mediocre to unplayable soccer game.
In actuality I got a pretty good soccer game. The button scheme was a little weird (R to change players) but once I worked out what was going on it was easy enough to know what I wanted to do and how to do it. The game played fluidly and it didn't feel like the AI was cheating. I suspect it would have been a lot of fun two player back in the day.

Rub it in, why don't you?
The game had a cup mode on top of the exhibition mode that I played. So I don't know if that's any good or not, but given that the rest of the game is pretty smooth I can't see it as being a detriment at any rate.

And as an aside... Does Canada's soccer team really run a blue and hot pink colour scheme? If so, that's awesome!

Rating: A-

Saturday, December 20, 2014

#132: Gemfire

Flame on!
When I saw this next game was a Koei game I'd never played before I was tentatively excited. On the one hand if I've never heard of it then it probably isn't spectacular. On the other hand I don't know if I've ever played a bad Koei game. I didn't know what to expect with a name like Gemfire. It sounds like a jRPG?
I wanted the pink haired girl but couldn't
say no to Jim Carrey's The Riddler.
It turns out to be Romance of the Fantasy Kingdoms. It's pretty much just a stripped down version of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series with a couple of neat twists. Every army is evenly split into 4 units. One archer, one cavalry, and two infantry units. Then each army can also bring along a fifth awesome unit. Each faction has their own wizard they can bring every now and then, and you can recruit a wide variety of fantasy creatures like gargoyles and skeletons and fire breathing lizards.

Wizards are insane!
I think this is the first game in an awfully long time where I lost track of time and just kept playing the game. Probably Soul Blazer was the last one way back at #72, so more than a year ago. The AI is not great (I was able to leave provinces completely undefended and it would take a fair number of turns before the AI would attack in) and I feel like my start in one corner province with a small army was going to end up winning the game.

The music in the game is pretty good. The graphics are not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination but it conveys the information you need to know in a pretty good way.

The game was also introduced at the beginning as being part of their 'imagination series'. I'd heard of the 'historical series' but not the imagination one. I wonder if there are any more games in it? Turns out yes, kinda. There's one other game in it, a PC only game.

I definitely would have loved this game as a kid, especially since I'm sure we would have played it two player to get rid of some of the issues with the AI.

Rating: A+

Saturday, December 13, 2014

#131: The Duel: Test Drive II

En Garde!
Here is another game I didn't know existed. The name had me leaning in two directions... Duel implies a fighting game but test drive implies a driving game. It turns out it's a head to head driving game. I'm not a fan of driving games in general so I wasn't really looking forward to this.

It's the Fuzz!
Have you ever been pulled over for speeding in a racing game? I have! In this game you pick a powerful sports car (I was in a Lambourghini and I raced against a Ferrari) and then have a race on a real road. The other car played 'safe' and only topped out at 100 miles per hour. I managed to hit the speed cap at 168 miles per hour. I'm pretty sure the speed limit would have been something like 55, so I was driving down the road at more than three times the legal speed! And it turned out getting pulled over is the wrong thing to do when a cop starts chasing you. The right thing to do is drive super fast and lose him!

Of course it turns out driving that fast on a road with other people on it is a little dangerous. They give you 5 lives so you're allowed to crash a few times.

Perhaps most importantly, the game actually controlled well. I suspect the physics of skidding when driving that fast aren't realistic, but they felt good. Not too easy to control, not too hard either. Good sound/music/speech synth as well.

I don't like driving games in general, but I really enjoyed playing this game. Well done, Accolade. Well done.

Rating: A+

Saturday, December 6, 2014

#130: Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool

Buy Cheetos!
Chester Cheetah? Isn't he the Cheetos mascot? What is he doing with a video game? Movie video games have a bad reputation (with good reason) but straight up advertising games? Those are generally atrocious! But maybe this game will be different?

Cool Shades, Dude.
The short answer is no. This game is really bad. A platformer with only two buttons, jump and dash. And for some reason they chose B and R to be the two buttons they used. It's also silly easy (and by extension, fairly boring). I guess it is a functional 'game' but it reminded me a lot of Captain Novolin. Except that game was trying to educate kids about diabetes. This game is just to shill cheese snacks.

Apparently this game was part of a program to get kids thinking about Chester Cheetah without explicitly advertising Cheetos but the Saturday morning cartoon got banned because it featured a product mascot.

Rating: F+