Monthly Archives: February 2016

Adding to the Backlog – Greater than nine, but less than eleven PS2 games

gd adding to the backlog feb 2016 games

The world’s weird, and I say that because it was one year ago in February 2015 that I went out to my friendly neighborhood GameStop and grabbed a whole bunch of PS2 games for next to zero dollars. Well, I did it again the other day, feeling compelled to take one more gander before future purchases like these can only be done online, without the thrill of discovery. See, I moved from a house to an apartment since then, and there seems to be only one GameStop in my area still stocking shelves of case-less, manual-less PS2 games, and variety, in terms of selection, are growing slimmer by the day. I feel like I grabbed the last of whatever one might consider good games, leaving behind dozens and dozens of copies of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, SingStar ABBA, and Madden NFL ’08, which I assume will eventually just get trashed.

Anyways, since there’s ten total, I’m just going to list ’em below, along with their prices. Keep in mind that these were already marked down for me being a Pro Member, as well as from the store running a 75% off promotion on all things old school. Oh boy. Here we go then, in alpha order:

  • Bombastic ($0.45)
  • Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz ($0.67)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ($0.67)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ($0.67)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban ($1.13)
  • Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law ($0.67)
  • Jak X: Combat Racing ($1.13)
  • Onimusha 2: Samurai’s Destiny ($0.67)
  • The Golden Compass ($0.45)
  • The Sims 2: Pets ($2.25)

All right. That’s a whopping $8.76 in total. Not too shabby, all in all. I’ll touch briefly on some of these and why, in my zany mind, I determined they were worth snagging on this last hurrah out into the wild. We’ll save a longer analysis and fleshed-out thoughts for down the road, when I actually get to play these. When that will be, I naturally can’t say, considering I haven’t even really dipped into the ones I got a year back, though I did attempt to play My Street and have a post-in-progress in my drafts folder on it…I should really do something about that soon.

Both Bombastic and Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz are games I’ve never heard of before. The former seems to involve exploding dice, and the latter is a, surprise surprise, multiplayer trivia show about pop culture.

Much like my fascination with all things Lord of the Rings, I’m just as curious about the videogame adaptations of the Harry Potter series. Specifically, the non-LEGO versions. I’ve only played a few before–one was a terrible DS title, and the other is a spin-off about Quidditch–but never any of the ones really dealing with the early going-ons of Harry and his school days. In short, I want to explore Hogwarts and go to classes and do a quest to figure out the new password for Gryffindor’s common room.

Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law…er, I have no idea what this is, having never watched a lot of the cartoon show. Why couldn’t I have found a videogame take on Home Movies instead?

Look, Jak X: Combat Racing. I really only got you to complete the collection, not because I want to play you. The driving around the desert and car combat from Jak 3 were my least favorite parts, so here’s a whole game devoted to that stuff. Insert some snarky comment from Daxter here.

I played an Onimusha game once, back in college, but I don’t think I could confidentially tell you which one or anything about it other than it was my roommate’s. They seem like decent character action titles, and I was surprised at how good the game actually looks for its day.

I’m a big fan of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, but less so of the film adaptation of the first book The Golden Compass. The theatrical version was too friendly and safe, scared to put children in danger. Heck, they even changed the ending, which would have greatly affected the plot in the next two films…if they ever got made. Pretty sure its reception was not great despite all the cute and cuddly dæmon voiced by mega stars, and they made a videogame tie-in, so I can only imagine how bad that turned out. Wait, I don’t have to imagine anymore…I own a copy. Woo?

Funny enough, I played The Sims 2: Pets at my girlfriend’s the other week, doing my best to recreate my kitty cats and a happy, stable home for all of us. I didn’t put a lot of work into either the cats or home, as I was just messing around and not planning on saving my progress. For example, instead of a bathroom, I simply had a toilet in the living room and surrounded it by plants. Anyways, for this price, I had to snag a copy for myself, which maybe I’ll mess around with once I am fully finished with The Sims FreePlay. You know, sometime in 2025. Sad zing.

Right. Well, here’s a whole bunch of more games to add to my backlog. May they wait patiently until it is their turn in the spotlight.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #19 – Samorost

2016 gd games completed samorost 1

Divert asteroid
Change its path, make things happen
Avoid anteater

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #18 – Covert Front, Episode 3 “Night in Zürich”

2016 gd games completed covert episode 3 capture

From train station to
Safehouse to jail, Kara fights
With her brain, walkthrough

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #17 – Covert Front, Episode 2 “Station on the Horizon”

2016 gd games completed covert front episode 2 capture

Kara speaks and sneaks
Finding clues, foul scientists
Ugh, door lock puzzle

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #16 – Covert Front, Episode 1 “All Quiet on the Covert Front”

2016 gd games completed covert front ep 1 capture 02

A World War I spy
Seeks revolutionary
Secret, search slowly

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

You’ll never find The Hunt’s Elk King unless you click everywhere

the hunt screenshot 001

For short, atmospheric-driven point-and-click adventure games, I try to go in blind. Maybe, at most, I’ll read a brief summary of what it is all about, but I’m probably already interested in playing based on either its zany title or if a screenshot revealed an appealing art style. I figure I’ll learn along the way, and it’s not like I’m committing to some hundred-plus JRPG where there are many spinning plates to pay attention to. Well, for Running Zombie’s The Hunt, I read a bit more than usual before exploring its spooky wilderness, and I’m so thankful I did, because without that knowledge, I’d never have been able to complete it.

The Hunt is an otherworldly and horror-heavy point-and-click adventure game that has you tracking down the legendary Elk King, for reasons not clearly stated. This Elk King is a demon that has cursed the surrounding forest, as well as those that pursue it. Also, I keep mistyping it as Elf King, which Thranduil would not approve of–my bad. Before venturing off into the woods, you grab a gun, knife, and your trusty dog Arrow, which I can only assume is a reference to The Point. Anyways, along the way, you’ll find clues, as well as fend off animal attacks, all in search of a mythological creature.

Since The Hunt is a point-and-click adventure game you can play in your browse, one only has to click on things to interact. Some objects will display descriptive text when you hover over them, but not everything you can interact with does this, which leads to a lot of clicking on everything…just to be sure. The game’s developers also seem to like to hide pertinent items and puzzle solutions along the far edges of the screen, where many might not even consider examining. This is the bit I mentioned reading earlier that really saved my skin. In terms of your inventory, it’s mostly weapons and tools, and these items are often used automatically if the stars are aligned and you are standing where you need to be standing. However, using the shovel to dig up the grave makes perfect sense, but the shovel remains in your inventory afterwards despite being depicted as on the ground after shoveling the dirt. I don’t know. The whole interface and way the puzzles are obscured from view makes for extremely awkward gameplay, nearly to the point of frustration.

For example, take a look at the screenshot at the top of this post. I picked it on purpose. See those trees and flowers to the far right side of the screen? Seem fairly nondescript. No descriptive text comes up if you hover over that area. Well, if you click near the “mute” button, but not actually on it, you’ll push the plants away, revealing a boat that will help you get across the island. I stumbled upon this solution through brute force. Or rather, brute clicking. I did not feel rewarded afterwards.

Here’s what The Hunt has going for it: atmosphere and sound department. Also, the art style is loose and grainy, but easy to fall into, like Thomas Cole’s paintings, and the animal attack jump scares did their job, catching me off guard by how fast they happened. I say all this because there’s something here, a glimmer of potential in a dark cave full of red eyes. Hopefully Running Zombie’s next adventure will require less clicking in corners like a madman and more logically tough puzzles. Otherwise, I’m less inclined to chase down that mysterious Elk King. For those curious, I took the “approach” choice when forced, and it did not end well for me or my dog. Sigh.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #15 – The Hunt

the hunt screenshot 002

Me and my Arrow
Go into the wilderness
For Elk King, jump scares

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.