Croc is a strange old game. It was one of the first titles I picked up for my Playstation, and although I always enjoyed playing Crash Bandicoot more, it held a certain charm about it that I couldn’t ignore. Indeed, in a recent Facebook fad, the ’30 Days Of Gaming’ challenge, I put Croc as my guilty pleasure game; I knew that it was inferior to its rivals in pretty much every way, and yet I still played it. Hopefully in this review I will be able to explain why that was the case. Continue reading Top Croc Or A Croc Of S**t? – Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos Review→
It’s not often that a game can come along and invent an entire genre by itself. And yet when Metal Gear Solid was released in 1998 that is exactly what it did. By making the player use stealth and not just charge in all guns blazing, and by making a game that had cinematics and presentation almost on par with that which was coming out of Hollywood, Hideo Kojima created a legendary game. The effect of Metal Gear Solid is still felt today; it remains one of the highest rated games of all time on Metacritic and every game since that has featured some element of stealth has to dock its cap to Kojima.
And yet for 12 years after its release, I never played a minute of this game. I had the Playstation all set for it, and yet never managed to get a copy. Imagine my delight therefore when I found a near mint copy in a local retro store for £8 last year. Several playthroughs later, and I now find myself in a position where I can explain what Metal Gear Solid does so well. Continue reading Tactical Espionage Action For All – Metal Gear Solid Review→
As you may have seen in one of my earlier blog posts, I recently traded in a load of old PS1 games, one of which was Sheep Dog ‘N’ Wolf. Upon returning a few days later out of curiosity to see how much stuff was being sold for, I noticed that it had obtained the value of £14. A few weeks later, I still cannot work out why it is worth that much. Is it perhaps simply the rarity of the thing (I could only find two copies on Ebay), or is there something that I overlooked when I sold it? Time for an investigation: review style of course
The game kind of came out of nowhere in 2001, and I am not sure many people now are aware of it, so let me give some background. The whole game is based around a game show (set in the Looney Tunes world with Daffy Duck as the host) in which Ralph Wolf must steal sheep from Sam the Sheepdog. There are around 18 stages where Ralph must try and infiltrate the flock, always under the watchful eye of Sam, and lure a sheep away to a target zone, a big white circle in the level. And that’s it pretty much plotwise; sure there are cameos from other Looney Tunes characters to help you out (for example Porky Pig grows lettuces that can be used to attract the sheep, and Road Runner is present to race against on a later stage), but in essence its just a wolf, a dog, and some sheep. Make you wonder why game titles can’t be so succinct nowadays. Continue reading Metal Gear Sheep – Sheep Dog ‘N’ Wolf Review→
(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 5th March 2011)
CRASH BANDICOOT 3: WARPED – Naughty Dog – 1998
Back In 1997, if you wanted a platform game for the Playstation, the choice was simple; you bought the Crash Bandicoot series. It was the best of the genre on the console, and nothing surpassed it. Come into 1998 however, and we find that Crash’s reign at the top was not as solid as it may have seemed. The Playstation’s great nemesis, the Nintendo 64, had been pumping out quality such as Banjo Kazooie, and Crash now had a rival on his own console, in the form of the massively popular Spyro The Dragon. Naughty Dog had to take action, and in the space of just 10 ½ months they managed to produce the third game in the series just in time for Christmas. Did the rush affect the quality? Happily, it didn’t. It raised the bar again. Continue reading Time To Get Warped: Crash Bandicoot 3 Review→
(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 8th February 2011)
CRASH BANDICOOT 2 (1997) – NAUGHTY DOG
Crash Bandicoot was a great platformer to launch the Playstation with, and its popularity would lead to it becoming the fifth best selling game on the Playstation with 6.8 million copies sold (more than the mighty Metal Gear Solid). Now, a general rule of thumb for platform games is that if the first one is popular, a sequel is almost inevitable. So Naughty Dog went back to the drawing board and cranked out the second game in the series in the space of a year. So, does the second spin for Crash beat the original? Continue reading Return Of The Crash – Crash Bandicoot 2 Review→
(First published on Gamepad Magazine, November 26th 2010)
BUBSY 3D (1996) – EIDETIC
Picture the scene: its Christmas in 1996, and I have just unpackaged the biggest present under the tree, which just so happens to be a Sony Playstation. Alongside it are two games; Crash Bandicoot and Bubsy 3D. I choose to play Crash first, seeing as I knew more about it due to the high advertisement at the time, and have a great time. Then I put Bubsy 3D in and expect a similarly excellent experience…
Never have I been so wrong about anything in my life.
(First published on Gamepad Magazine, November 18th 2010)
FINAL FANTASY 7 (1997) – SQUARESOFT
I bet that a few of you have looked at the game in question for this review and thought “Oh for gods sake, another FF7 review???”. Indeed this is the case. I will make it clear at this point; I am a massive Final Fantasy fan, and 7 is without doubt one of my favourites. Oddly enough, it was the first RPG I ever played (having previously avoided them for no apparent reason), and I credit it with launching my love of RPG’s. Hopefully the review below will convey why this is the case. Continue reading The Alternative To The Ocarina – Final Fantasy 7 Review→
(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 7th November 2010)
CRASH BANDICOOT (1996) – NAUGHTY DOG STUDIOS
I should make it aware at this point that Crash Bandicoot was the first video game I ever played. Therefore it seems only fitting that 13 years later, the adventures of the spinning orange marsupial forms the basis of my first review.
Crash Bandicoot was released at a strange time for platformers. The king of the hill at the time was undoubtedly Super Mario 64 on the N64 which had revolutionised platforming in 3D, and Crash was Sony’s attempt to at least emulate the success of the Italian plumber’s adventures. It was also unique because the only competition it had on its own console was Bubsy 3D, meaning that it was almost guaranteed sales.