Monday, October 27, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Present to You... The Worst Game Ever!

"The worst game ever". Calling a title that in this day and age is almost a cliche, considering how lightly this term has been used by angry fanboys who describe every title they aren't completely satisfied with as this.

Big Rigs is one atrocious release that probably deserves being called that, however, considering that it's nearly unplayable and the box art is highly misleading in terms of actual game play.

The box art shows an 18-wheeler being pursuited by a police car. In actuality, however, this title features neither "18 WHEELS OF THUNDER" (the trucks are of the small variety) or high-speed police chases.

That's the least of Big Rig's issues, however, as the game itself is completely broken. Although it's touted as a racing title, your opponents don't move past the starting line (yep, this game is completely devoid of any A.I. whatsoever), you can drive right through walls and obstacles such as trees, and at the end of the title you're presented with a hilarious screen that simply displays, "YOU'RE WINNER!" (which I'm assuming the creators threw in as a joke, as they were most likely aware of how hideous Big Rigs was).

If you want to view an actual video review of this title, check out the video below, presented by Gamespot's Alex Navarro. That is, if you don't want to lose your lunch, I'd recommended engaging in some other activity.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Games That Never Were: Fear and Respect (Xbox 360, Playstation 3)

What do you get when you mix Midway, ‘hood film director John Singleton, Snoop Dogg, and Max Payne? Fear and Respect, the third-person action title that was originally revealed for the Playstation 2 and Xbox in 2004 and then was being re-tooled for the next generation of consoles. However, Midway put this title to rest over two years ago due to a crowded market of urban-themed action games.

This title starred Snoop Dogg and was set in South Los Angeles. John Singleton (of Boyz ‘n the Hood fame) added his talents to this release in terms of direction, and the game play was supposed to be similar to the Max Payne titles.

Beyond starring one of the most successful gangsta rap artists of all time and having a big-time director underneath its belt, Fear and Respect appeared as if it had little to offer compared to the other numerous urban third-person action titles released through the years. No matter how good an album Doggystyle was, I still can’t find myself excited to play as Snoop in a videogame (whether it was in the original True Crime as an unlockable character or in this).

Past entries in this series:

#1 - Capcom Fighting All-Stars
#2 - Frame City Killer
#3 - Vectorman

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Starcraft II - Why Activision-Blizzard's Decision Makes Sense

Although PC gaming is normally not my forte (this has been, for over two years, a console-centric blog), I felt that this topic was worth commenting on anyhoot.

Yesterday Activision-Blizzard announced that Starcraft II will be released in three separate, possibly full priced segments. The last game contained all of the separate story lines in one box, but this time Activision-Blizzard will split them up because they feel that each version is a full game in its own.

Of course, they're just different paths of the same title. This has drove gaming forums across the 'net into a frenzy, with angry gamers claiming that Activision-Blizzard is selling out its loyal fan base and milking the fans for all they're worth.

However, I have to commend Activision-Blizzard for making such a smart business decision. Blizzard obviously knows that the people yelling the loudest will purchase the product anyway - they'll bitch and moan now but will be there on each individual Starcraft II launch to purchase all three separate versions. After all, years ago Xbox 360 gamers whined and complained about downloadable content and how developers were going to charge for features that normally would be free, but they went on to purchase it anyway. And wasn't everyone supposed to boycott the evil, faceless, money-grubbing corporation known as EA at one point or another?

Gaming is a business, and game companies will always been looking for crafty new ways to make money. Hey, what Blizzard is doing now is not much different from what Nintendo does with each major Pokemon release - seperate versions of the same title. And every time they do that the games sell like hot cakes.

End of story.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Exploring the Underwater Digital Ocean

When it comes to game genres, underwater exploration games are near the bottom of the popularity chain… in fact, it wasn’t until Nintendo’s Endless Ocean has the genre had any sort of mainstream appreciation at all. Here’s some history to the obscure genre, and a little bit about the three main games of this type released in the Western market.

Aquanaut's Holiday (PSX)

Chances are, you’ve never heard of this game. Like Tail of the Sun, also published by Sony, this is one of those titles that basically appealed to no one. However, years later it is interesting to look back on Aquanaut’s Holiday just because of how unique it is. Released in 1996 during the original Playstation’s early life, this game starred a marine explorer who explored an underwater ocean. In this title you also had to attract fish to achieve your goal of filling up your fish meter. Although the graphics are rather archaic now, it is one of those intriguing niche titles that looks to be worth tracking down simply because there’s not much else out there like it.

Everblue 2 (PS2)
Capcom really gave this title no chance of survival in the U.S. Combine absolutely no advertising with a micro-sized print run, and you have a title that was destined for commercial failure from the start. A sequel to Everblue, a game exclusive to Europe and Japan, Everblue 2 had you exploring the Caribbean as – you guessed it – a scuba diver. There was more of a plot here than Aquanaut’s Holiday, but the game play, similarly, had you searching around for items and interesting sights beneath the ocean. I am still trying to track down a copy of Everblue 2, but I have yet to find one in any game store I’ve visited, near or far.

Endless Ocean (Wii)
Nintendo’s Endless Ocean was the first title in this genre to appeal to a mass market audience. Developed by Arika, the very same company responsible for the creation of Everblue 2, Endless Ocean had a larger budget, more advertising, and way more critical acclaim than the two titles previously mentioned. A relaxing and gorgeous experience, Endless Ocean appears to be a solid title for those who are sick of online FPS death matches.

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