SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1

SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 - King of MonstersOne of the biggest joys of rummaging around a retro collection is the feeling of nostalgia, with previous Sega, Midway and Capcom collections bringing back fond memories of the 16-bit era. And when arcades weren’t full of fruit machines. Personally speaking I didn’t get the same buzz from this 16-strong collection. The NeoGeo was one of those mysterious consoles only seen in the likes of Mean Machines and CVG, with games costing more than the console itself. As such, this was more of a SNK history lesson than a trip back to the past. Rose tinted specs, anybody?

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World of Goo

The problem with WiiWare – apart from Nintendo’s lack of quality control – is that many titles appear on the download service with a barely a whisper. World of Goo has had more publicity than most, but it’s still a shame that a game this good is going to go largely undownloaded. Which isn’t a real word.

Playing like a gooey mixture of LocoRoco and Lemmings, the idea is to guide goo balls safely to an exit pipe by constructing bridges, towers and so on out of the titular blobs. Physics play a big part – build a tower without a firm base and it’ll topple over, while bridges require supports and can’t be too top-heavy. While you build, white flying blobs appear that can be used to skip back in time briefly if you mess up, and there’s also the chance to skip levels entirely if they’re causing too much hassle. The mystical ‘sign painter’ also gives hints during levels. Whoever could he be?

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Flower, Sun and Rain

Flower Sun and RainFlower, Sun and Rain is almost unplayable, it looks like someone has kicked the graphics into the DS with a muddy boot and I couldn’t possibly recommend playing it to anybody, yet at the same time it’s a game that everyone should go out of their way to experience. Let me explain.

In Flower, Sun and Rain you play as Sumio Mondo, a man sent to Lospass island to prevent a terrorist from blowing up a plane. It sounds pretty normal so far, however the game was designed by Suda51, the mind behind Killer7 and No More Heroes, so it’s batshit insane. The way Sumio tries to stop the attack is to solve really stupid code puzzles.

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Dungeon Maker

Back when my PC wasn’t so elderly and I could be bothered to mess around with video drivers and all that guff, Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper was a game that I clocked up plenty of hours on. You had to build a dungeon to attract monsters, who would then fight for you when the pesky humans came knocking. There was resource management to deal with and also a wicked black sense of humour – whoever knew that vampires enjoyed smearing faecal matter on people’s door handles? Sadly, Dungeon Maker – or Master of the Monster Lair, as it’s known in the US – is nowhere near as amusing.

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Hasbro Family Game Night

Mr. Potato Head’s career is a long and illustrious one. He’s been around since the early ’50s, was the first toy to be advertised on TV, appeared in Toy Story and recently came out in Star Wars and Spider-Man variants. Will this family friendly collection from EA be something to mark up on his CV, or something to hide? Like when the original Mr. Potato Head was criticised for being a waste of a good potato.

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Colour Cross

If this review was for a printed magazine, it would probably end up in the round-up section along with half a dozen others spread over a couple of pages. Not because Colour Cross is a bad game, but because there isn’t much to say about it. It isn’t the first Picross game to arrive on …

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Cradle of Rome

I maintain that Zoo Keeper is the best Nintendo DS game. I know that, by any objective measure, it isn’t. But I don’t care. So I approached Cradle of Rome with little short of hostility – I thought it was a stupid title for a stupid game. Hostility because it is, essentially, the same game: …

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WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2009

There aren’t many fighting games for the DS (Ultimate Mortal Kombat is about as good as it gets at the moment) and although this effort isn’t awful, it’s too middling to recommend to anybody but WWE fans. Which makes this review kind of pointless – if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that WWE fans are the type of people that would buy anything with WWE stamped over it, not to mention defend the ‘sport’ to their very graves. But that’s a rant for another time.

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Scene It? Box Office Smash!

I love a quiz game. I’ve played most of the Buzz games and I can’t enter a pub without having a go on it’s Itbox, so I was really looking forward to Scene It. Was I disappointed? Well, yes and no.

First, the good. The presentation is – apart from the annoying voice overs with their awful, over-written banter – good. There’s a great use of cutely-animated avatars, however there are no pre-built characters to select, so a game can sometimes take an age to start as people try and randomise an avatar to suit them. Each individual round is presented in it’s own style, with enough nice flourishes of animation to give the game a good bit of character. The questions themselves are well presented, too, with the video clips round a particular highlight.

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WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2009

When approaching any wrestling video game, my biggest fear is always the typically unresponsive controls. This wasn’t always the way though – I had a WWF game for the original Game Boy that played perfectly well using just two buttons. And it had The Mountie in it. With the Wii’s occasionally flimsy waggle controls in mind, I was expecting myself to be literally wrestling the controller, rather than the virtual buffed up wrestlers themselves.

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R-Type Tactics

Remember R-Type Final? Well, it turns out that it wasn’t really the final attempt by the Bydo Empire to wipe out mankind, as the existence of this PSP-exclusive proves. Rather than being a 2D shooter though – which would suit the PSP’s elongated screen rather nicely – it’s a hex and turn-based affair, a bit …

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Dementium: The Ward

Now this is a turn up for the books – a gory first person shooter for the DS, which is not only impressive to look at, but doesn’t play too badly either, with valid comparisons to Resident Evil, Silent Hill and Manhunt. The US version was let down by a sloppy save system and limited …

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Unsophisticated ears at the ready

With the London Games Festival under way, and the Video Games Live concerts taking place at the Royal Festival Hall today, I’ve been listening to the first Video Games Live CD release. Game music attracts a particularly fanatical fan, if you’ll excuse the phraseology. I am not such a person. The only game soundtrack CDs …

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Bakushow

Just to be completely unclear, I don’t know whether this is a review of Bakushow. In fact, I’m not convinced that you can really review Bakushow. The internet thinks you can, of course, but the wide range of scores suggests that even if it can be reviewed in the traditional sense, it’s probably not worth …

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Facebreaker

FacebreakerPredictably poor licensed pap aside (hello WALL-E, Iron Man and Lost!) there haven’t been many truly awful Xbox 360 games released this year. That was until EA’s Facebreaker came along; a game that’s akin to a five year old child telling you the same joke over and over again. And then you throw the child in the nearest dustbin.

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