Monday, 31 August 2015

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (Amiga)

Desert Strike Amiga title screenDesert Strike Amiga title screen
Developer:EA|Release Date:1993 (Amiga)|Systems:Genesis/Mega Drive, Amiga, DOS, Master System, Lynx, Game Gear, Game Boy, SNES, GBA, PSP

Today on Super Adventures I'm having a look at Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, the first of EA's legendary Strike series and at the time their biggest selling game ever, beating titles like Road Rage, John Madden Football and, uh, Skate or Die 2: The Search for Double Trouble.

The subtitle's always made it sound like a sequel to me, but the game came out just a year after coalition forces liberated Kuwait from Iraq during the Persian Gulf War and it's actually following on from that. The problems in the Middle East had gotten a lot of news coverage at the time (if you can imagine that), so it was inevitable that a few fictional Saddam Hussain lookalikes would pop up in video games and start threatening the world.

Desert Strike was originally released on the Sega Genesis AKA. the Mega Drive but I'll be playing through the first level of the Amiga port instead because of its improved sound and enhanced visuals. You can see right now how they've enhanced the title screen with a digitised photo featuring trees (but then tinted them brown so we wouldn't notice.)

I can't exactly show the sound but I suppose I could link to a YouTube video of the Amiga title theme. It's almost but not quite entirely different to the rock theme the game has in most other versions: YouTube link of the Mega Drive theme, but I think we win either way.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Mass Effect 2 (PC) - Part 1

Developer:BioWare|Release Date:2010|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PS3

Today on Super Adventures, I'll be going through the entirety of Mass Effect 2 in an epic 70 part Let's Play! Actually no I've got a better idea, I'll show off the start of it, skip through to the bits I have something to say about, then wrap it up in let's say... 2 parts. That'll mean much less writing for me, much less reading for you, and everyone's happy! Plus the last thing I want to do is spoil the whole game for people who haven't played it.

That said, this will have SPOILERS ALL OVER THE PLACE, including the identity of all recruitable characters, the outcome of Mass Effect 1, the events leading up to the ending of Mass Effect 2 and what's waiting for players at the end. But I'll put another warning before the really massive spoilers at the end so you can safely skip right past them.

If you find my spoiler warnings to be inadequate in any way, then please scream at me in the comments later so I can be depressed and guilty about ruining the game for you fix them.

(Click screenshots to open up a higher resolution version.)

Mass Effect 2 (PC) - Part 2

This is the second and final part of my Mass Effect 2 article. You can go to part one by clicking the text that says 'part one' here: Part one.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Skeleton Krew (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Skeleton Krew title screenSkeleton Krew title screen
Developer:Core Design|Release Date:1995|Systems:Mega Drive/Genesis, Amiga (AGA), CD32

Today on Super Adventures I'm having a look at Skeleton Krew, which is something I vaguely remember playing off an Amiga demo disk! Apparently I subconsciously set an alarm in my head to go off exactly 20 years later, because I woke up today with a sudden inexplicable urge to see what the full game's like.

This is one of the final 16-bit games released by legendary UK developer Core Design before they embraced the PlayStation and Saturn and let Tomb Raider consume them. It's definitely the last game they made for Amigas, possibly the second last for the Mega Drive and Genesis, and it seems like they got bored of making SNES games way back in 1992 so it didn't even make it near Nintendo's system.

I'll be playing the Sega version of the game because I have a feeling it came first and will give me the better experience. Plus I've only put one other Mega Drive game on the site so far this year and that's kind of shameful.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2) - Part 1

Disgaea title screenDisgaea title screen
Developer:Nippon Ichi|Release Date:2004 (EU)|Systems:PS2, PSP, DS

Today on Super Adventures I’m taking a look at Nippon Ichi's infamous tactical RPG Disgaea: Hour of Darkness... and I've got no idea why they called it that. I mean I get the 'Disgaea' bit (dis + gaea = bad Earth, more or less), but Hour of Darkness? More like Month of Darkness looking at, for a completionist run anyway.

The Disgaea games have gotten a reputation for being a bit... grindy, to the point where people have their favourite grinding stages and advanced grinding strategies to maximise their grind. I'd hope that's not the only way to play this though, so for the sake of science I WILL NOT BE REPLAYING STAGES FOR EXTRA XP. For the first couple bosses anyway, assuming I can even get that far.

I should admit up front that I'm not the biggest fan of tactical RPG type games, mostly because they usually beat me up and kick sand in my face. I've enjoyed games with turn-based tactical combat like XCOM and Wasteland 2, but I find tactical RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics tend to be punishingly difficult. In fact I don’t even like the term 'tactical RPG', as the role-playing elements tend to be limited to 'your units' stats go up'.

On the other hand I should also admit that I've played Disgaea before and there's a good chance I'll remember how most of it works! So I might be a bit better informed than usual. Be prepared for words.

There'll be spoilers up to episode 2 I expect. I won't be ruining the ending(s) or anything. Except the fact that it has multiple endings, I just gave that away.

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (PS2) - Part 2

This is the second part of my Disgaea article. If you're looking for the first part it's over here: Part one.

It feels wrong to leave all this space under the picture empty, so I'll throw in some I'll throw in some pointless Disgaea trivia for you as a bonus: the game's so small that in Europe and Japan it comes on a dark blue CD instead of the typical PS2 DVD. The US version on the other hand comes on a regular boring DVD and uses the extra space to include both the English and Japanese voices.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit (PC)

Developer:Arkedo|Release Date:2012|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Today on Super Adventures I’m having a go of Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, a game with an exclamation mark in its title.

Yeah yeah, I know I’ve been playing too many modern titles lately, games that have a thousand reviews floating around the internet already, but my Steam backlog won’t clear itself! Also modern 2D platformers are interesting to me, because it’s kind of an undead genre at this point. Time and technology left this style of platformer behind, they were pretty much done (well, barely kept alive on GBA life support). But they’ve since risen from the grave and they’ve been doing pretty well for themselves for a few years now.

Some of them are made to replicate the style of classic 8-bit or 16-bit titles, with pixel graphics and retro gameplay built on the principle that the old platformers are still actually pretty awesome (and cheaper to make). Games like Shovel Knight, La Mulana and Super House of Dead Ninjas definitely fit into this category as they're designed to give gamers a rose-tinted trip back to the early 90s.

And then there's the other type: 21st Century platformers straight out of a parallel universe where the genre never fell out of popularity and carried on evolving. Games like Little Big Planet and Rayman Legends that would rather show off flashy visuals and new ideas than take you back to the past. I'm thinking Hell Yeah! likely fits into category B.

(Click any picture and it'll get bigger, but not as big as you want it to.)

Semi-Random Game Box