Transformers Devastation: Bringing Back Saturday Morning Cartoons

devastation-transIn late 2015, Activision released Transformers Devastation, a brand new Transformers video game. Developed by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Vanquish), Transformers Devastation did something bold. No, not just creating a decent Transformers game (it is in fact fantastic), but it wasn’t based on any Michael Bay rubbish; instead they went back to the beginning of the franchise: Generation One.

For those not familiar, Generation One was the original Hasbro toy-driven cartoon and comic series that started in 1984. Although it only lasted 3 years, it was a worldwide success that spawned an animated movie that has a huge cult following, and countless now-collectible toys. Although that series ended almost 30 years ago, there have been multiple reimagining’s over the years, and it’s fair to say that the afore-mentioned Michael Bay monstrosities have indeed rekindled the memories of the original (and indeed best) series.

Despite the quite frankly surprising news of a Generation One based video game in the works, I was initially met with mostly scepticism. Transformers videos games largely have a terrible record, as do many series/movie tie-ins, unless Lego appears in the title. The news of Platinum Games as the developers certainly helped alleviate those initial fears; Bayonetta and its sequel are 2 of the best video games to ever grace a television screen, so I became swiftly confident they could deliver. The result is more than meets the eye…..

tf_devastation_teaserPlatinum’s somewhat traditional third-person ‘hack n slash’ formula is adopted well here; incorporating both physical attack combos and artillery-based projectile attacks. There are 5 classic Autobots to choose from, and once you get over the cool factor of being the original Optimus Prime, with his original Peter Cullen voice once again, you soon discover the other characters (Grimlock, Bumblebee, Sideswipe, Wheeljack) have enough variety between them to offer different experiences. Grimlock in particular, in his Dinosaur form, unlike everyone else’s vehicle forms, offers different combos and attacks.

But by far the most amazing factor of Transformers Devastation is the fan service, the nostalgia factor. It is by no means a perfect video game; it doesn’t have the combat depth of Bayonetta, or the consistently flawless backdrops of Vanquish, nor does it try to reinvent the wheel in any other way. But don’t be mistaken into thinking it is a poor game with just great fan service, like many other anime titles.

91BPBIsaxyL._SL1500_The characters and combat style is interspersed with the storyline and boss-ridden levels delightfully, and of course the bosses themselves are recognisable favourites such as Starscream, Soundwave, and of course Megatron. Each and every character even has their own heavy metal theme from the excellent accompanying soundtrack, which surely has to get a release. Believe me, I’ve asked, but it’s a ‘no’ for now.

The perfectly nostalgic cast and characters come together with a plot that easily fits in canon with the series, and plays out much like any typical episode would. It’s the perfect Saturday morning video game derived what was once everyone’s favourite Saturday morning cartoon series. Everything about this package is any Transformers fans’ dream. The beauty of the game is its appeal; it knows why you’re playing it before you’ve even booted the game up: you love the 80’s Transformers, so you are going to love this.

The Untouchable Music of Nintendo Games

Warning: minor spoilers

When it comes to Nintendo, one word springs to mind: Quality. Quality games, quality production, quality entertainment. And of late, of which Nintendo’s recent games have undoubtedly proven, they are now unparalleled in another aspect that has as much fierce competition than ever before: the soundtracks.

Below are my 5 picks of the past 18 months of Nintendo soundtrack picks that are a must for any MP3 player.

 

Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS) – Map Screen

Triple Deluxe is the latest Kirby outing, and is a wonderful successor to Kirby’s Adventure on the Wii from a couple of years back. The map screen track is of course an ode to the original Kirby’s Dream Land’s first level from Kirby’s first ever outing. It has never sounded so good.

 

Nintendoland (Wii U) – Introduction

Wii U’s primary launch titles’ whole premise of a mini game world unfortunately only really manages to expose its one major flaw – it is fun in very limited quantities. It does however sport one of the standout tracks on the platform to date in its introduction tune; a subtle hint of chip tune perfectly blended with a catchy piano number. This was my ringtone for quite a few months.

 

Super Mario 3D World – Bowser World

Just when you think it’s over, Nintendo pulls out another massive world to conquer in quite possibly the greatest Mario adventure of all time. Bowser World’s theme is catchy, almost infectious, and often pops up in my head even days after last hearing it.

 

Mario Kart 8 – Raindow Road N64

Needs little explanation. Simply the ultimate rendition of one of the Mario Kart series’ most memorable songs

 

Link Between Worlds – Lorule Theme

Nintendo’s recent masterpiece features not only the original Link to the Past’s world with a new generation of graphics, but also featured oh so many blissful renditions of LttP’s legendary soundtrack – and made them even more memorable. The Lorule theme (the dark world in LttP) is certainly the most memorable and catchy. Not only the best game on 3DS, but also the best soundtrack to date.

So there are my picks. Of course, music being wonderfully subjective as it is, I’m sure you have your own preferences. Please share within the comments or on Twitter/Facebook with your own picks.

Review – Pac-Man Museum (Xbox 360)

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I have a confession. I’m rubbish at the original Pac-Man, and always have been. But it’s a damn addictive game. While most gamers and even non-gamers will have sampled the original at some point in its now 34 years of existence, all would surely agree that Pac Man is one of the most iconic and recognised video games (and characters) ever developed. So iconic in fact, that Pac-Man has undergone many evolutions over the years, from variations of the original formula to a side scrolling platformer. So, for no anniversary whatsoever, Bandai Namco has repackaged 9 (+ 1 DLC) of these classics for old and new generations to explore and enjoy.

The Good

Starting with Pac-Man (1980), the original pellet-guzzler is timeless, but for those who have never sampled it, the premise is simple: Collect all the yellow dots whilst avoiding contact with the ghosts. The 4 bigger pellets turn the tables, turning the ghosts blue, and becoming additional Pac-Man fodder for grabs. Classic arcade stuff and very challenging to boot, it’s inclusion in the museum is a given, although the fact it had been available through XBLA as a standalone title for 8 years surely means many will already have this in their catalogue.

Pac-Mania (1987): Definitely one of the better titles in this compilation, Pac-Mania was the most refreshing take on the original to date; essentially the original with an isometric 3D viewpoint, but with the added ability for Pac-Man to jump. To keep that from destroying the difficulty curve altogether is the more close-up view of the area, meaning searching for those last pellets can prove elusive.

Pac-Man Arrangement (1996) is a decent stab again at the core Pac-Man ‘genre’, but with a fake 3D stage view, and a horrendous colour palette. All is forgiven with its revisit to the core gameplay that reminds you of the original for the right reasons.

Pac-Man Championship Edition (1997) is not a Pac-Man Street Fighter game, despite the title, but is by far and away the best Pac-Man game in this compilation. Pac-Man core values with score-attack principles set upon neon-lit but familiar stages makes for fantastically addictive fun, and delivers that true ‘one more go’ factor. The problem is, XBLA already has a superior ‘DX’ version since 2010 that most Pac-fans, like me, already own.

Pac-man-museum-Pac-LandPac-Man Battle-Royale (2011) is arguably the most original Pac-title, and one of the most fun. The ghosts are just a side-obstacle here as you put yourself in the typical mazes against…. other Pac-Men! The super pellets increase your size and speed to try and eat your opponent, or otherwise push them into the ever-present ghosts. It’s a bore on your own, but with online-only multiplayer (wut?), I don’t think I’ve had as much simple multiplayer fun as the original Bomberman.

The Bad

Pac-man-museum-3Super Pac-Man (1982) and Pac & Pal (1983) are close to the original, but the goal is to collect keys and unlock gates as opposed to eating pellets. The ‘pal’ in Pac & Pal is Miru, who helps you collect the required items on each level in order to progress. However this introduction only serves to make the Pac-Man experience more confusing and even less fun. Plus having to keep an eye on an A.I. Miru and yourself becomes tiresome very quickly.

Pac-Land (1984): The Pac-Land main theme is one that is embedded in my brain from visiting arcades all through my childhood and teenage years. This side-scrolling platformer was a major new venture for Namco’s titular character, and was certainly my most anticipated title to play from the museum. But from just completing the first stage, my childhood memories were shattered, only to reveal a platformer so devoid of any fun, meaning, with ridiculously unfair physics that make any Mega Man game seem like a walk in the park.

The Ugly

Pac-Attack (1993): This horrific Tetris/Dr. Mario rip-off is just very, very dull, which a steep learning-curve from the get go that will put most off after a few minutes.

Pan-Man-Museum-1-300x169The ‘Museum’ is a pretty standard affair, allowing you to choose from the games on offer, the list of achievements, etc. Each museum title can earn you up to 8 stamps for achieving the required goal(s), which range from the simple (beat the first level) to the obscene (score 300,000 in Pac-Man). Other than that, I feel a massive opportunity has been missed; if this is indeed a museum, where are the history details? Instead, all there is in addition to the menus and the games is a rather bizarre first person view into a room where unlocked characters (via stamps) can be viewed in some kind of holding cell. Very bizarre.

So, as compilations go, Pac-Man Museum is pretty good, but is a release that, bar Battle-Royale, would have been more relevant 5 years ago. The fact that most fans will most likely already have the original and the Championship Edition DX games through the same service for some time will find the £16 price tag a total turn off. Make no mistake though; there is a lot to enjoy here, whether you have done before or not.

Originally published here

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 1: A Parent’s Tale

The-Walking-Dead-Dairy-Farm

Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The Walking Dead season 1. If you haven’t finished the game yet, bookmark the post and come back when you have. Seriously. Spoilers.

Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead series is the benchmark of episodic video gaming. Never has a video game been so simple in it’s mechanics yet present so many conflicting and complicated narratives to deal with. Episode by episode the stakes were raised, culminating with Game of the Year awards for the first season back in 2012.

The fabulous storytelling Telltale equals if not betters that of the comic book and TV show. Regardless of the medium, The Walking Dead is a universe tinged with tragedy, unrelenting tragedy. After all, what is there to look forward to during a zombie apocalypse?

Another common theme is children. In the TV/comic series, you have Rick Grimes and his son Carl, a boy who is mentally forced into adulthood by the zombie apocalypse and its dangers.

the-walking-dead-season-1-clementine-and-lee

Telltale’s incarnation presents Lee and Clementine, a father/daughter (but-not-really) relationship brought together in unlikely circumstances; Lee, a convicted murderer of his wife’s lover, escapes his police escort vehicle after it, and the escorting officer, meet their end via nearby walkers. With Clementine, she is spotted by Lee and found to be home alone with only her tree-house keeping her out of harms way.

Given that Lee is the main playable protagonist it is easy to forget, sympathise or maybe even empathise with this initial murderous narrative. Especially given you are tasked into ensuring his survival as if it was your own. This is a somewhat polar opposite to Rick Grimes, who is a man of the law. But as the chapters unravel, Lee often becomes the voice of reason, recognised by many as as leader, and is looking out for the child all the while. Just like Rick.

Eventually it is revealed that Lee had always wanted a family of his own. His wife’s long-distance work and eventual extramarital affair ended those prospects, regardless of Lee’s subsequently murderous actions. I’m not crazy enough to condone murder of course, but this narrative is repeatedly thrust upon you to test how you may or may not reason with it, and the others around you. This includes Clementine, who is only 9 years old by the end of the first season. Her eyes and mind are already being forced wide open to a world a child should never have to endure. For Lee, this is a chance at redemption. That redemption comes in the form of Clementine.

The-Walking-Dead-Episode-One-1

There are many characters that come and go in The Walking Dead, but Lee and Clementine’s relationship is the bedrock of the first season. It’s how it starts and how it ends, regardless of the decisions you make. Being a father of two myself, it is a relationship that grew deep in my heart. It toyed with my emotions if Clementine went missing; room by room searches provoked only feelings of dread. Not only does protecting Clem becomes Lee’s primary focus, it became mine also.

I’ve played through season 1 twice. Once in 2012, and again in 2017. Both times I made choices based around Lee’s position at that moment, but in fact I was making the exact choices that I would make, not Lee. At first I often decided to lie to save Clem’s feelings, and felt bad for doing so. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all told a little porky here and there to stop a child’s train of thought.

However, a lot has changed in 5 years. My then infant daughter is now well into her seventh year of life, and absorbing information like a sponge. Even from age 4, the cortex begins to operate at the same level as an adults. Moreover, from age 4 a child’s brain is twice as active as any adult due to the increased consumption of glucose. It makes perfect sense, as children grow and develop into adults. This also means they are more likely to trust and accept what is in front of their eyes, what they are told and what they experience is what life is. And it is this ongoing narrative that almost every conversation with Clem is asking of you.

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It was evident on the second play through that I found myself being far more honest, not just with Clementine, but others also. This is where Telltale have succeeded the most; for all the black-and-white answers you can give, there are shades of grey that can equally be successful, or not so, in different ways. Even at Clementine’s young age, she easily determine’s Lee’s criminal misgivings from the simplest of half-truths. The challenge is how you deal with that, as it is unexpected of a child only a few years old.

Then there is Duck. Remember him? Hyper little thing, around the same age as Clementine. Duck is evidently far from ready for any catastrophe due to Katjaa’s mothering ways, and I would expect no less from most mother’s in the same situation.  In both play-through’s, my instinct was to save Duck instead of Herschel Green’s son. But this first major decision is a trick; Shawn dies no matter what you pick and is merely a points scoring exercise with Kenny, Duck’s dad. Telltale, you bastards!

Back in 2012 my son was an excitable, full-of-beans young man who was rather hyper at times, but equally affectionate. So like Duck, the potential was there for him to get into trouble, or not be fully aware of the dangers (hardly zombie danger, but still) around him until it’s too late. Throughout Duck’s eagerness my instincts were always to protect a child. Even though he wasn’t my own. Between a grieving mother and an increasingly unstable father in Katjaa and Kenny respectively, my inclinations were toward being their voice of reason in a world of tragedy and chaos.

When Duck meets his end after being bitten in chapter 3, the first time I took the mantle of putting him down before he returned as a zombie. This is of course a decision that 1) I hope to never ever have to make in real life with my own or anyone’s kids, and 2) I would also be the one to pull the trigger. I have no idea how I would cope with that level or manner of loss. In fact the thought makes me physically sick. The second time however, the added years of parenthood hit me. I found myself telling Duck’s father, Kenny, who had just witnessed his wife shoot herself in the head with Duck about to turn, that he should finish off Duck. I just couldn’t do it. Damn this game. For some, such choices may seem flippant as it is but a video game. But such decisions ripped at my conscience. Such decisions should never have to be made. And it makes for heart-pounding entertainment.

telltales-the-walking-dead

This brings us poignantly onto the final scenes of the first season’s final episode. People’s accounts have detailed being visibly upset or distressed at what is the ‘parent’s’ final moments of the game. It truly is a heart-wrenching scene of which I felt distinct sadness for. Unlike any other in a video game before in fact. All I kept hoping for was for Clem not to die, with the feeling of dread rapidly increasing at the prospect. Despite this, it was also incredibly touching to see how Lee and Clem’s rapport had built up to this point. I’d like to think it’s a similar rapport I’d have with my own daughter, given a similar situation.

In both instances, I ensured Lee was hand-cuffed to the radiator and encouraged Clem to shoot him before turning. I’m not sure if I could deal with Clem seeing a zombie Lee, and am only tentatively contemplating replaying the scene if a different way. Even by not triggering a particular outcome, Telltale is challenging me. Toying with my emotions.

Following Lee’s tragic departure from the series, the focus becomes purely on Clementine. She becomes the playable protagonist. In my mind, there is no one better to encapsulate the series than Clementine. She is this Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes. Visibly older, mentally stronger, Clem is now a hardened survivalist. But still just a child. The decisions you make are now hers, and not of a guardian.

 

Confessions of a ‘3AM Father’

PS4-declaration-3am-Fathers-620x174

Sony’s PS4 declaration “This is for the players” is rather clever in its message and delivery. From my perspective, it’s also delivers a sickening truth. My name is Kevin, and I am a 3AM Father.

We’ve all had that moment where we take a look at the clock and somehow 6 hours have passed, but you think “meh”, go to bed and get at least 4-5 solid hours. Oh how that changes when you become a father.

It’s Friday night, and after working all week with only minimal game time, it’s time to seize the moment. My daughter Lana is a little fighter at nearly 2 years old, and often doesn’t fall asleep until 10pm. She is also at that age where she is absorbing everything, so I ensure that anything on our TV screen is suitable for her eyes and ears. Should a game of FIFA commence onscreen, I often get a cheer and a clap if I score, or even a high five. I would never subject her to a session of, for example, Borderlands 2.

But once she is finally asleep, and everything is tidy, it is only then when the real gaming begins. At nearly 11pm, it can be the mother of all second winds. Cue getting stuck into hours of adult gaming; recent titles include WWE2K14, The Walking Dead, and Spartacus Legends. Quite often these have taken me beyond 3AM.

There is of course an obvious potential drawback, being that my daughter could wake up at any time. Nevertheless, staying up until all hours is much more difficult, knowing you have to be up early the next morning. So much so that I often inadvertently fall asleep with my daughter. My name is Kevin, and I am an often-frequent 3AM father.

I’m not the sole parent in our home, however it is often the case that my wife can be at work at this time, or is out with friends. She works too, after all. My wife is not a gamer, but encourages and respects the work I do and the hobbies I have. When I came into her life I drove her mad with my gaming addictions, but this was often inconsiderate on my part. That, coupled with the arrival of our daughter, has taught me to appreciate what time I do get that much more.

But there is another side to this story. I’m also a stepfather; to a young man I have known since he was 8 years old. He is now 13, but there is a considerable challenge regarding exposure to appropriate games for his age. I don’t allow him to play CoD/Battlefield, or purely adult-themed games such as GTA. I base the suitability of a title on its content, not necessarily the rating stuck on the box.

strictmommemeBack when he was 8/9, even WWE games and television was having a negative effect on his behavior, so these were banned for a time. Now he’s 13, I’m disappointed that all his school friends are playing GTA V, CoD, and mostly 18-rated titles. He does often ask for a CoD title of his own, but this is just so he doesn’t feel left out.

I’d be lying if I said had the same issue when I was 13, owning titles such as Street Fighter II for the SNES, but is worth noting that me and my brother were both banned from Street Fighter II for a short while, as fights often broke out between us over the legendary Capcom title. That was up to my parents at the time, same as I believe it is for me as a parent now.

So in retrospect, I’m currently living a double life as a 3AM father. I care about what I expose my kids to, plus I always want them to be honest about what they want to see and do. And as that means me having to stay up till 3AM at times, or even beyond, then so be it.

My name is Kevin, and I am a proud 3AM Father.

Comic Book Games: The Best and Worst

Over the years comic book licences have brought a mixture of fortunes to the world of video games. There are as many treasures as there are turds. On offer here are three of the best and worst for you to experience (and avoid) at your leisure.

3 of the best:-

Spider-Man & the X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge (SNES)

 

Everything an old school comic book based video game needs:-

  • Team-Ups!
  • Amazing characters!
  • Cool theme music!
  • Faithful comic book menace only known to die hard fans!
  • Unfathomably difficult!
  • No continues!

Maybe not the last two so much, but Spider-Man & the X-Men is very challenging indeed. Once lives are all used up, that’s it; there are no saves or passwords. Sounds ominous, but this is a great SNES title, and a must for any comic fan.

The theme song sounds like a 70’s US cop show theme, with a very catchy accompanying soundtrack. Spider-Man & the X-Men is essentially a standard left to right plat-former. It does offer slight variation with each of the character-designated stages.

Spider-Man offers the standard action platformer, with Cyclops’ offering is similar but with much less margin for error thanks to electromagnetic railway tracks. Fan favourite Wolverine must venture his way through a carnival-themed nightmare and escape The Juggernaut. Gambit must use his kinetic-powered cards to venture a maze, while Storm swims for her life with a limited air supply.

Although one hell of a tough game, it is one of the more functional comic book video game ventures of the 90’s. Spider-Man and the X-Men is faithful to the characters of the time, although it was released mere months after the creation of the iconic Jim Lee uniforms that become the mainstay of Capcom’s Marvel series of fighting games. It offers better entertainment than the Sega-produced X-Men Megadrive/Genesis series, in one of many exclusivity battles that the 90’s paid host to.

Marvel Super Heroes (Arcade)

Ever since Capcom made the genius of move snapping up the Marvel license, the characters were pitted against one another in Capcom’s genre of choice – beat-em ups. There have been no less than eight different iterations, the first in X-Men: Children of the Atom, to the latest, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. For me, It was the second of such titles – Marvel Super Heroes – that captured the comic book essence most of all. It also happens to be an amazing one-on-one beat em up.

There are ten characters available, covering different angles of the Marvel Universe. Fan favourites Wolverine and Psylocke were retained from the success of X-Men: Children of the Atom, as well as the chance to play the final boss Magneto. Add Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Juggernaut and The Hulk into the mix, and you’ve got a truly great selection of Marvel characters on offer. With great boss characters in Doctor Doom and Thanos to back up the fantastic roster, it’s a fan boy/girl’s dream.

What separates Marvel Super Heroes from the crowd is the Infinity Gems system. Loosely based on the Thanos-related Infinity Gems storyline, five of the six gems can be obtained during combat. Each gem (Power, Time, Space, Reality, and Soul) holds different results. For example, if Juggernaut uses the Space gem, his armour turns silver, and will not flinch/fall after being attacked for a short time. These might sound off-putting or skill-quashing, but they occur infrequently, plus be activated deliberately. Gems can be obtained from your opponent after key hits, such as first attack.

Although the Marvel vs. Capcom series has since massively expanded the series, Marvel Super Heroes is a true gem (pun intended). The conversion to home consoles was also notable for being among the better ones,

Batman Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)

The arrival of Batman Arkham Asylum exorcised a couple of superhero/video game demons:

  • Firstly, it had been years since a decent comic book related video game had finally been developed.
  • The second? It was so damn good it still stands up with some of the best third-person action/adventure games of this current generation, something unheard of for a comic book license.

Batman Arkham Asylum is a superb video game. It is a perfect homage to the comic to which it is based (Arkham Asylum), and to the excellent 90’s animated series, with its quality voice acting. A clever and intuitive fighting system allows you to take on swarms of enemies at once, to spectacular effect. Batman’s vast array of gadgets is gathered as the adventure progresses, such as the grappling hook, Batarang’s, and so on. Detective mode may have a bit of a naff name, but is a necessity for success; following vapour trails, footprints and clues that would be otherwise unseen. You really feel like you are Batman.

3 of the worst:

Straight off the bat, I am compelled to mention Superman 64. It is widely regarded as not only the worst superhero game, but the worst game for the Nintendo 64. Just to confirm, it is not one of my picks, as I have never played it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

When this, the first TMNT video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, was released, many flocked to it, particularly kids. I was one of them. I was not going to pass up the chance to be one of my new-found cartoon heroes. Having sampled the fun but brief arcade scrolling beat em up, hopes were high.

Oh dear. A few minutes in, it becomes clear that despite the license, this is a travesty of a video game. Adopting a more platform approach, the gameplay is hideous, and then some. Jumping is so unnecessarily high that small gaps are just near impossible to make, attacks are sluggish and take forever to complete. The visuals barely have more colours than a ZX Spectrum, with lots of flicker and slowdown. The swimming sections will have you wishing your ‘heroes’ were once again pet turtles, just to navigate them successfully. I loved it as a kid, being only eight at the time, and was one of the first NES games I ever played. Unfortunately, TMNT is not one even for the nostalgic, as the video below explains with more subtlety.

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 (Xbox 360/PS3)

I’ll admit I was excited for this one. What a comedown it was.

 

Nope, I’ve no idea what’s going on here either.

I’ve always been a fan of scrolling beat em ups, which Ultimate Alliance 2 is a variation of. But the action itself is a nonstop, repetitive, button bashing hell. You lose as much health as you gain, and most of the time you are not aware of it even happening.

With tedious levels, repetitive bosses, terrible voice acting, it’s difficult to want to be one of your favourite Marvel heroes in this one. Indeed, that’s Ultimate Alliance 2’s only saving graces; the vast amount of playable characters on offer, and the plot, borrowed from the successful ‘Civil War’ storyline. But considering the arduous task Ultimate Alliance 2 is to play, I wouldn’t bother.

X-Men: Children of the Atom (PS1)

Ok, so it’s not one of the worst games, but it is an awful conversion of an arcade classic.

 

The lying bastards.

The pros:

  • A home conversion of a classic. We all welcome that.
  • Its X-Men, therefore cool in my book.
  • That’s about it.

The cons:

  • The frame rate is shocking. 30 FPS in fact.
  • Slow down and intermittent mid game flickering
  • Much slower than even the Saturn version, never mind the arcade
  • Ending has been removed (!)
  • Capcom didn’t develop this version.

PS1 versions of Capcom fighters were generally slower but never this bad. Children of the Atom also arrived 4 years too late to the home market, leaving it a very redundant release.

So these are my picks, but how do yours differ? Any stinkers you feel need reporting, or classics that need addressing? Comments below, please.

Kapow! Right in the kisser

So then, Kapow! Comic-Con. My first ever Comic-Con, and although i was only able to attend the Saturday, what an event it was. You may be thinking, this is a gaming blog, what relevance has a Comic-Con to that? Well, thanks to IGN, plenty.

IGN Arena

Upon handing in my ticket, the first attraction on offer is the IGN arena, complete with master of ceremonies for the day, Christian Stevenson, who kept the upbeat mood going very well. The IGN arcade, complete with 10 Xbox 360’s and various games, including WWE All-Stars (perfect opportunity to experience the over the top action firsthand) and Portal 2 (which i missed out on, but looks excellent), kept many occupied throughout, along with exclusive Dirt 3 and Operation Flashpoint: Red River sections, which were also welcome.

WWE All-Stars is great fun, but technically not great and out of date. But i do love the exaggeration angle the game plays; it’s almost a parody of itself. You think those moves look painful choreographed in the ring on TV, wait till you see these babies.

Don't try this at home. I dare you.

IGN were also offering the chance to ‘man up’ as it were and attempt the fastest lap on Dirt 3, Top Gear style. I admit i chicken-ed out on this opportunity, but nevertheless, it looked fun.

The most exciting gaming experience of the day came with my first ever 3DS experience. After being shown the basics by the lovely ladies of Nintendo, i got my hands on one (not a lady), firstly on Nintendogs, which doesn’t interest me in the slightest i’m sorry to say, but the 3D on the game looked amazing. Later on in the day i got my hands on Super Street Fighter IV, which was excellent, the Circle Pad feeling so natural, along with the D-Pad offering the usual, natural feel that Nintendo have always been so good at.

Along with both Insert Coin Tees and Retro GT providing excellent gaming t-shirts, and even video game branded energy drinks, there was plenty for the gaming world to behold at Kapow!

Comics:-

I love comics. I have read them for as long as i can remember. My first memory was buying Adventures of Superman #445 years ago when on holiday in Great Yarmouth. It’s one of those memories that stays with you until the end of your time, and, for me, Kapow! was another. This was my first taste of anything like it, i suppose like many in the UK, as there hasn’t been anything like it before.

There was so much on offer, great stalls selling comics, graphic novels, most at reduced prices, along with action figures, framed artwork, and plenty more. I got myself a copy of Superboy: Boy of Steel HC, along with The Avengers Volume 1 HC. The latter, along with issue 1 of said Avengers comic, signed by the artist, ones of Marvel’s best ever, John Romita Jr, who was a pleasure to meet. Definitely the highlight of the day for me.

The DC Superstar Creator Q+A was also excellent. 4 geniuses behind table, a 100+ in the audience asking whatever we wanted. Awesome. Frank Quitely (Vincent Deighan) and Paul Cornell were really funny, and refreshingly laid back and honest. I took the opportunity just after to speak with the DC Comics sales person (forgot his name), regarding the lack of DC Animated feature films released in the UK, particular as All-Star Superman was referenced quite a bit in the Q+A. Hopefully something will be done about this. But i digress.

An event such as this can only be good for the UK entertainment industry, whichever of the media was on show. It was such a great day, and will do it all over again next year. TTFN.