Tag Archives: Console Games

Late to the Party: Contra Hard Corps

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I played the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the first Contra game, Super C, and Contra III: The Alien Wars for the Super NES growing up, but had actually never heard of the Sega Genesis Contra Hard Corps – which many apparently called the best Contra game, until many years later. I’m only just now learning the myriad reasons it’s so revered that involve what it does for the Contra formula as well as the circumstances surrounding its release.

Playing the game now, I’m astonished at how much it added to the series’ gameplay after Alien Wars. I think it’s officially known as a side game or a sub-series (it got a direct sequel on the PS3 and Xbox 360) but I honestly still think it’s close enough to its forbears to more or less be the “Contra IV” before WayForward made Contra 4 on the original Nintendo DS. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Castlevania (1986)

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Konami this week released its Castlevania Anniversary Collection, containing eight of the earliest games in the series. I guess this would be a good time for me to write about what I thought of the original 1986 Castlevania game for the NES, which I played for the first time last fall. Playing and discussing it with fans begs the question of whether you had to have been there at the time to really appreciate this game. Personally, in 2019, find it to be just alright. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Gunstar Heroes (And 8BitDo’s M30 Controller)

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I’ve been kind of on a run n’ gun game trip since trying out the Metal Slug series, and I thought I’d give Gunstar Heroes another shot as an excuse to try out 8BitDo’s new M30 bluetooth Genesis/Mega Drive controller.

I’d never heard of this apparently seminal 1993 shooter until probably over a decade after it came out. The first time I bought it was on Wii Virtual Console, but I ran into a brick wall at the game’s infamous “Seven Force” boss. Later I bought the PC version of the Sega Genesis Classics collection, copied the ROM out of the game files, and played it on the BlastEm emulator through RetroArch (supposedly the most accurate Genesis emulator yet made). Only just recently did I finally manage to clear the game, finding it to be a really intense but also really unique take on the genre, that likely inspired a lot of what came after it. Continue reading

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Days Gone: Open-World Games Need Interface Customization

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I decided to try out the early sections of Sony’s latest big PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone, and it generally seems okay. The graphics look great (it’s probably the best looking Unreal Engine 4 game I’ve seen yet), riding a motorcycle through the wilderness seems cool, it does all the other Open World Game stuff about as well as an Assassin’s Creed or a Horizon Zero Dawn. What really irks me though is its total lack of user interface options, and I’m starting to realize how important those are to me in games like this. Continue reading

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[Nintendo Direct February 2019] Nintendo’s Usual Strategy Is Finally Working

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Nintendo is dropping a lot of first party games for its Switch console-handheld hybrid this year. That’s pretty much the plan this week’s Nintendo Direct confirmed, which is probably what the plan for the Switch was all along. People like to think of the Switch is a big turnaround for Nintendo, but really it’s the same strategy Nintendo has been following for arguably 20-plus years. It just happens to be working better than ever now. Continue reading

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Super Smash Bros. At 20: Then And Now

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The first time I heard about the concept of Super Smash Bros. 20 years ago, it immediately made perfect sense: just take all the stuff people like about Nintendo and throw it together in a fighting game. This was despite the fact that I didn’t even really know how the game was played until had the instruction booklet in my hands. Long before then, reading about the available characters and items like the SuperScope or the laser sword in Nintendo Power already had me hyped.

Japan just crossed its 20th anniversary of that initial game this week, with the North American anniversary being April I believe. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a little over a month old, and sales charts are proclaiming it the most successful game in the series just in time for us to look back on it. Continue reading

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So What Is Ace Combat? (LTTP: Ace Combat 04)

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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown — the awaited return to glory for Namco’s fighter ace franchise, should be coming out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One around the time I publish this post. I’m getting it on PC so I have to wait until February 1st, but I did just complete Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies on PlayStation 2 for the first time and am taking this opportunity to write a post on what the series is about for people unfamiliar with it. I’d already played other Ace Combat games before this one but went ahead and got it out of the way before Skies Unknown dropped. Continue reading

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20 Years After Dreamcast’s Japanese Launch, Where Are the Its Best Games?

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I wanted to wait until next year — the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch, to say anything. I know the 20th anniversary of the Japanese launch this week is technically the “true” anniversary, but I think it’s pretty widely accepted the North American launch is the one everybody really remembers. It’s still one of the highest-quality launch lineups ever, partly because SEGA waited a whole additional year for the games to be ready. In any case, I already did my personal “story” about my experience with the Dreamcast a long time ago — 10 years ago in fact. Just read that if you want a general “my feelings about this anniversary” story.

What I am writing about though is how I auspiciously started the Shenmue remaster this week and how we’ve reached a significant point when it comes to the availability of the best Dreamcast games and the console’s viability today. Continue reading

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Zelda Ocarina of Time At 20: A Legacy of Open-World Games

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Like I said in my January post about gaming anniversaries for 2018, 1998 was 20 years ago, and it bore witness to an unusual number of landmark releases. Probably the most critically acclaimed one of all turns 20 this week — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. By many accounts it’s still the best-reviewed video game ever, and a lot of what’s in modern 3D action adventure games owes something to it.

One game from this year I can’t help but compare Ocarina to is actually Red Dead Redemption II. I see a lot in common between them in terms of both the public perception and the actual characteristics of each game. Continue reading

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