From September 1st, Sony will be increasing the prices of PS Plus subscriptions in the United Kingdom. Although the new prices have yet to be confirmed, a one month subscription will rise from £5.49 and three months will increase from £11.99. The £39.99 annual subscription will remain the same however, offering the best value for money but locking people into a year of service. It is expected that prices will rise in line with the current cost for Xbox Live, which stands at £5.99/£14.99/£39.99. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 11TH -16TH AUGUST→
Most of the important news of the week has come from GamesCom 2015, the biggest European gaming convention on the calender held in Cologne, Germany. As previously reported Sony declined to hold a press conference this year, but there were still big presentations from Microsoft, EA and Blizzard Entertainment, the first two of which you can watch in their entirety online. I’ve picked out some of the juicer headlines below: Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 3RD – 10TH AUGUST→
If you were a fan of the Nintendo 64, there’s a good chance that you would have enjoyed at least one of the games made for the system by Rare…you know, stuff like Goldeneye 007, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo Kazooie. Apart from being excellent titles, one other thing that ties these games together are the soundtracks, put together amongst others by Grant Kirkhope.
Kirkhope is a very successful game composer, having been nominated for several BAFTA awards during his career, and he even nabbed a place on the Classic FM Hall Of Fame this Easter for his work on Viva Pinata.
Over the past month, he has quite generously offered people the chance to pay what they want for the soundtracks to Banjo Kazooie, the sequel Banjo Tooie, and the spiritual sequel to Goldeneye, Perfect Dark. The soundtracks are available in a number of formats including MP3 and FLAC.
Super Mario 64 is to platformers what Star Wars was to the film industry when it was first released – people couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The world of the Mushroom Kingdom, which has previously been limited to side scrolling high jinks, was opened up for players to run, jump and kick about in, and not only became the instant reason for wanting a Nintendo 64 (when the console was put to bed for the Gamecube, roughly 1/3rd of N64 owners had a copy of Super Mario 64), but also became the quintessential 3D platformer that even to this day has rarely been bettered.
It wasn’t just the huge colourful worlds, objective based structures and classic characters given new proportions that impressed though – it was the sense that it was so far ahead of its time. By implementing the brand new analogue stick on the N64 controller, players had the freedom to move Mario about exactly where they wanted him to go, and also allowed for a fully adjustable camera that meant that players could take in the scenery and plan where they wanted to go – looking up at the peak of Bob-Omb Mountain and then proceeding to travel there may not seem special at all nowadays, but in 1996 it was like scaling Mt. Everest. It would even force Sony to create an analogue pad of their own for the Playstation.
As with other games in this list, Super Mario 64 has somewhat of an ageless quality to it – go and play it nowadays and it still feels as taught as the day it was released. Like Elvis Presley, it has many imitators; but there can only be one true King.
8 – GOLDENEYE 007 (1997) – RARE
In a world of ‘Doom clones’, Goldeneye 007 was a bolt from the blue. Based on the fantastic film of 1995, British company Rare incorporated new elements of design that made the game one of the most legendary first person shooters to ever be released.
Eschewing the balls out action of stuff like Doom, Goldeneye 007 (one of the first FPS’s released exclusively for a console)adopted a more realistic outlook. Much work was done to make the player get the feeling that you are James Bond, as sneaking around taking out security cameras and dispatching guards as quietly as possible becomes the most desirable way to progress through the game. Rare also introduced several new features that have become staples of the genre; guards will react differently depending on where they are shot, and the zoomable scoped sniper rifle that allowed you to kill enemies from a distance is now a standard inclusion in virtually every shooting game.
Goldeneye’s legacy however primarily lies in its multiplayer mode. Featuring fully customisable game modes and four player split screen action, this game became the measuring stick from which all other multiplayer games, not just first person shooters, were judged for sheer amounts of fun. Anyone who has played this game will have fun memories of chopping people to death, racing to get the golden gun for one shot kills, and cursing the person who decided to pick Oddjob. Arguments continue to rage about whether Goldeneye is still the ultimate deathmatch template, even after the likes of Halo and Call Of Duty have come along – a testament to the games continuing quality.
Conkers’ Bad Fur Day is a very rare game in several respects. First of all, it was the last game made by Rare (a tenuous link I know) for a Nintendo console for quite some time, before Microsoft bough the studio in 2002. Second; it is rare in the respect that it was one of only two games to have an enhanced 64MB cartridge for the N64, the other game being Resident Evil 2. Third, it’s a rare game: if you want an original copy you could be looking in excess of £50 for the privilege. Finally though, and most importantly, it’s a rare game in the sense that it manages to be hilariously funny and crude in a way that not many games since, the Grand Theft Auto series included, have ever come close to being.
Conker himself made his debut in a rather low-key role as a character available to race with in Diddy Kong Racing, another Rare title. This game was in production for four years and was meant to be a cutesy platformer (following on from the success of Rare’s Super Mario 64 clone, Banjo Kazooie), but at the last moment Rare decided to go back to the drawing board and in the end produced a cutesy platformer…albeit now with swearing, gore, drunken behaviour and adult themes thrown into the mix. Many adults bought this game for their children to play and were greatly shocked methinks when they saw the content on display; despite it saying on the box and the loading screens that this was a mature title and not meant for children (a rarity in itself for the family friendly N64). The game sold poorly on release due to Nintendo not advertising it properly, and as a result it was passed over by many. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it now, because behind the profanity and blood lies one of the N64’s great titles. Continue reading All Hail King Conker – Conker’s Bad Fur Day Review→