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Deadly Creatures (Wii)

A quite unique concept. Alternately playing as a tarantula and as a scorpion, fighting each other as well as their own way through a hostile desert landscape is something I've never seen before and since. You have to adopt actual three-dimensional thinking as both of the protagonists are capable of crawling along walls and ceilings. Additionally the spider is able to shoot cobweb in order to drag itself from one spot to another. Most of the time you're fighting other animals like bugs, rats and even snakes, along searching for collectibles in the form of maggots. Yummy!

Surprisingly it's also one of the few Wii games with audio voice output in it. There's a crime story of two guys (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Hopper by the way) searching for the hidden swag from some heist. The plot is literally happening in the background while you play as one of the critters.

Verdict: Fascinating concept, average execution. Level design and gameplay wear themselves out really quick, and the game is relatively short. Lot of potential for a sequel, but the IP was, and I think still is owned by THQ. Well, so much for that.

-my 2016 list-
Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork

Technically, I think you can't really complete it, as it's a score-based arcade game with a supposedly infinite number of levels, but after 2-3 hours I think I've seen almost all there is to it, in any case everything that motivated me to keep playing. I unlocked all unlockables, blasted all the various enemy types, defeated alll the three bosses (several times), saw the few different environments, read all the gags, got all the 'funny achievement quests', tried all three difficulty levels and managed to get one of the bottom places in the top 200 leaderboard at Ace Difficulty, proving to myself that of all the 200 people in the world who actually played this game with some persistence, I'm not (quite) the worst of the worst. ;) I'll probably come back to it occasionally, just for fun, but I feel there isn't that much more to see and achieve, now that everything is more or less repeating itself, as I don't really care that much about scores. I had a blast with it while it lasted though. I thought for those 2-3 hours the game did a good job of keeping things interesting despite the simple gameplay.

It's basically a Space Invaders/Galaga clone with quirky cartoon graphics and nonsense humor (I didn't realize the artist is a known author of graphic novels for children, but I guess that's part of why the game is so charming). You only have three keys - left, right and up (jump) - to run to and fro across the screen and dodge the invaders and their bullets, while auto-firing. Blasted invaders sometimes drop special weapons (e.g. Trilaser, Fireballs) as well as power ups (Rapid Fire, Upgrade, Life Energy), both of which only last for a given time before you go back to your standard weapon, unless you pick up new stuff in the meantime. They also drop crackers, for no reason in particular, and collecting these crackers increases your score and helps you unlock a few new weapons, environments, comics or other surprises in the game. Enemies come in random waves, and there are also a couple of random events that can happen in between some of the waves (e.g. meteor storm). Your life energy consists of three hearts and if you lose them, the game is over. Every time you give it another go and every time you fail again, there's a short funny dialogue between Glorkian Warrior and his trusty Super Backpack (the one who shoots his weapon), and sometimes, two little alien girls join in to make fun of Glorkian Warrior and give him various achievement tasks.

And that's really all there is to it, but it was more than I expected already, and I absolutely loved it. I don't know whether it's the best Space Invaders/Galaga clone I've played in terms of gameplay, but to me it was certainly the most entertaining and amusing, and also the most pleasant to look at. The sound effects and occasional chiptune melodies were top notch as well. So yeah, for what it is, I thought it was a really nicely done game.

The only things I could find that one could criticize about it is that there is no options menu (so you can't change resolution or configure controls) - but I didn't really miss it either - and that it auto-selects your language based on your system language and while it does allow the players to manually change that, it doesn't save and remember your language settings when you quit. So I always had to set it from German translation to original English version, every time I started the game.
Post edited February 26, 2016 by Leroux
<span class="bold">Pony Island</span>

Weirdness in its purest form. It presents itself as a colourful, cheerful, and children-friendly game about ponies, but it's actually a dark, pseudo-horror, puzzle-ish meta-game. While it's advisable to tackle it knowing at least what kind of game it is, precisely because of the kind of game it is, the less you know beforehand about it the better.

Mechanically, it's an odd mixture of outside-the-box logical puzzles interspersed with short, arcade-like runner sections. All in all, nothing to write home about. Though of course that's not where the game shines at its best: this honour goes to its story and, above all, its storytelling. A cursed, unfinished, apparently harmless videogame; hordes of trapped innocent souls; Satan himself and most of his servant demons... all of this (and more) you'll encounter if you dare to play this game.

After you beat it (admittedly in a not very long time, chances are your first playthrough takes 2 hours or less) there's still ample reason to replay it, and I'm not only talking about finding all the in-game achievements in the form of printed tickets. As evidenced by this long collaborative effort in the Steam forums (HUGE SPOILER ALERT!!!), there's still quite a lot to be digged out of this little gem. And, as stated by himself in that forum discussion, the author threatens to put even more obscure secret stuff in the teased sequel Pony Island 2: Panda Circus...

Before wrapping up, I'd like to comment on a couple of game mechanics that were thought explicitly for the Windows version of the game running on Steam. It's nice of the dev to have adapted them to the non-Steam-dependent version, even for OSs other than Windows, but in this situation they kind of seem out of place and help to slightly break the player's immersion. But still, I think I prefer having them in the game no matter how awkward they feel, rather than having them removed.

My list of finished games in 2016
Post edited May 09, 2016 by muntdefems
red faction 1.

damn i hate timed events so much. needed a walkthrough to get through some parts. the messages really should take note of objectives, but almost all the objectives are through annoucements or NPCs. could use a map too. can't believe i beat this before planetstrike.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)

I finished the main story, all side-missions, and raided all the tombs. It was good fun, and I'd say it has the best graphics I've seen on the Xbone so far. The main story-missions were pretty good, never a boring moment, always action :) The side-activites are also a big part of the game. The side-activities are raiding tombs, completing side-missions and challenges, hunting, collecting documents, relics, coins, maps, backpacks, caches, and so on. I probably won't go for the hundreds of collectibles, but some people are really into that kind of stuff. You'll come across a lot of it during exploration though.

The combat was great, but I think it felt a bit too easy, even though I played on the Survivor difficulty. You usually have several ways to deal with combat. You can sneak around, taking out the guards one by one with stealth-kills, distract guards by throwing items, shooting conveniently placed explosive barrels, demolishing watchtowers, and so on. Usually though, you can just go guns blazing Hotline Miami-style :P

Rise of the Tomb Raider was a positive surprise. I can not recommend the previous TR, "Tomb Raider 2013". I just thought it was boring, I gave up on it my first time through, but recently gave it another go and finished it. Boring, bland enviroments, and the cheesy characters are basically ripped straight out of Dead Island.
Star Wars - Republic Commando (26th Feb 9;45pm)

I could see what they were trying to do with this game. A squad based FPS but it is kind of meh in places and only really picks up at the very end

not knowing more then the films I thought the story was a bit weird.
Among the Sleep. Another big thanks to <span class="bold">Owl</span> for this one.
What to say... I really appreciated the unique perspective - playing as a toddler. I don't quite remember what that was like in my life, so I can't say how accurate it was :-) ... but it was done quite well anyway.
The story is told in an interesting way, and is quite effective. And good... The game is a bit short - I finished in 3 hours. But I thought the length was just right.
And it is scary! I was hugging my teddy (in the game) the entire time, almost non-stop. I had gooseflesh (in real life!) the entire time.
A good game all around.

My full list.
Post edited February 27, 2016 by AgentBirdnest
AgentBirdnest: What to say... I really appreciated the unique perspective - playing as a toddler. I don't quite remember what that was like in my life, so I can't say how accurate it was :-)
I thought it a bit weird that the toddler is supposed to be two years old already. In my experience two-year-olds can usually walk and run just fine and don't crawl anymore, they don't wear rompers and they should also be able to at least speak a few words, not just gibberish and giggles like the player character. Then again, I guess the story leaves enough room to explain this discrepancy away. Not to spoil anything for others, but you'll know what I mean. ;)
Tomb Raider: Underworld - Wow, what a chore of a game! This game has an adequate story, and fantastic music that suits the exquisite environments, but the actual gameplay is frustrating to deal with. Controlling Lara depends on the camera position, so you'll often be sending Lara to her death when you just wanted to jump to the next part of the ledge. The camera also focuses on Lara to the detriment of being aware of the surroundings, often making it difficult to look around when preparing for a maneuver. Overall, a frustrating game hampered by subpar controls and an adversarial camera.

Red Faction 2 - The follow-up to the original Red Faction is disappointing, despite a strong opening. The game begins well, with more GeoMod opportunities and a compelling narrative (chasing down the dictator of Earth), comes crashing down once that plotline is resolved. The game becomes a standard corridor, without even the wackiness of something like Chaser to make it more tolerable. The environments, being set on Earth, don't have the chance to present an environment other than urban city and sewers. Overall, decent shooting with good weapons and some GeoModding make an unremarkable game, but fortunately it's only a couple of hours long.

While it looks like a racing game at first, it's more like a shmup, actually. I guess the game is alright, but there's one problem: controls. I played this with a pad, and I can't understand why acceleration and weapon fire aren't automatized. My index finger in particular is very sore after playing the game, because you constantly need to hold the right trigger down. You're also going to have to fire constantly if you want to survive, so why wasn't it automatized, either?

The game got its name from the fuel, Pressure, which you gain by killing enemies. If you run out, it's game over. I thought it was an unnecessary gimmick: it only exists there so that you would kill as many enemies as possible. There's no point trying to avoid them now - not that you actually could even if you wanted to, because every enemy is faster than you, and they're constantly shooting at you from every angle. It's impossible to avoid enemy fire in this game.

All in all, the game was okay though. It's not too long (3 hours) and if it were any longer than that, it would probably start to get pretty repetitive.
James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod (Amiga AGA)

James Pond 2 back in the day was -one of- the attempts to beat Sonic. It did not succeed in that but it is definitely a game which gives Amiga players fond memories. I have played the AGA version as it is considered to be the superior one.

If I had to define this game with one word, it would be "psychedelic". With its upbeat version of the Robocop theme music, extremely colorful and eye candy graphics and totally crazy designed missions (in one of them the screen goes upside down the whole mission), James Pond 2 is a psychedelic game. You are a worm (or fish, cod???) with the ability of vertically extending your body without any limit and grabbing the platforms above. Killing creatures is Mario style jumping on them. I don't really know why the game is called James Pond since I did not really catch any references to James Bond other than the names of the main character, main boss (Dr. Maybe) and cover art.

I enjoyed every mission and boss fight and would easily name this as the best platformer ever made, had it not been suffering from a serious design flaw: The game has no save feature whatsoever. Games of that era (1991) solved this problem usually by offering game codes every time you beat a level, yet James Pond 2 has none of that. What makes this really problematic is that you are given about 3 lives and the game is way too long to beat without any save feature. I am not saying it is unbeatable since there are one or two longplay videos on youtube, but it really requires mastering the game which would mean to play it dozens of time with a lot of patience and losing all your progress once you die. Thanks Satan we live in the era of Amiga Forever (<-- buy this if you are an Amiga fan) and I was able to use the save feature of the emulator. Otherwise, I would definitely have quit and really hated the game.

If you are familiar with the best gaming machine after PC, I would urge you to buy Amiga Forever and play James Pond 2 through to the end using the save feature. Don't feel like you are cheating. The lack thereof was really a wrong design choice and should not prevent you from experiencing one of the best Amiga platformers ever.

damien score: 8/10

List of all games finished in the last years with best and worst games played in each year
Codename: Panzers Phase One:

Just finished this game. I never was able to beat the game when I still was able to play it before, but I couldn't resist trying when the game was released here. Like many games it had its issues, a few AI goofs here and again, but I loved this game so very much. It was the strangest feeling, I had the idea for a while that my rose tinted glasses may have fooled me into remembering this game as better than it was. I was wrong, it is just as good if not better as I understand the principles more. The variety of units is lacking compared to Blitzkrieg but what is here is so well designed and so "full" in rendering and in development that it is wonderful. A Pershing is not the same as a Firefly with a more powerful gun and can't be used like one, it has its own intricacies and tactics. The same goes for most every vehicle in the game. The infantry are more generic than in other games like Men of War but they are suitably fun and customizable. One of the best parts of the game is the well written manual which details the vehicles heavily and gives background information on all of them, or most all.

The voice acting is either so bad it's good or just good. In game the voice acting is really good (although, the Soviet voice acting isn't my favorite, I preferred almost any other game for some reason) whereas in cutscenes it's sometimes good sometimes so phony and goofy that I can't dislike it. The game also has decent writing and sense of humor, better at any rate than either in Company of Heroes. Just a personal preference, but the whole game is better than CoH, but I won't waste the space on a comparison. Back to business.

The difficulty in the German missions was fair, the Soviets were a little more challenging, and the Allies had it like the Germans in Faces of War. In Faces the Germans are asked to do the impossible, then when they are done do something else that's just about impossible, and then again in the same mission. The American missions are particularly hard but the British ones also are very hard. The last two missions are strangely enough not too bad.

Not that it's even a thought for anyone anymore, but the game is easy to run. I played it on a computer that is plagued with more issues than I can think and with very underwhelming hardware and the game looked great and ran well when trees weren't involved, but even then it was doable.

If anyone likes WWII RTT/RTS games then this game is a must have. Unlike some games I have played I do not necessary recommend that you should grab another game with this one, just get it. It's fantastic.
AnimalMother117: Codename: Panzers Phase One:
Does the game support widescreen resolutions?
AnimalMother117: Codename: Panzers Phase One:
Cyraxpt: Does the game support widescreen resolutions?
I do believe so. Unfortunately I have only had a 4:3 monitor available to me for the past week so I can't confirm.

Good game, although it failed to be particularly scary - or maybe I'm just too desensitized to that stuff. I thought it was more like creepy, rather than scary, and the game probably knows this since it has to rely on cheap jump scares to achieve its horror factor. Despite the scariness levels being lower than I expected, I liked the game and it was interesting to investigate the mansion. I gotta say though, what happens in the end, is a little bit ridiculous. I think the whole "Project Walrider" thing was pretty stupid. But everything until that part was really good. Like in Amnesia, you can't fight and instead must run and hide, which suits this game much better than any combat mechanic would. Thus, if you liked Amnesia, and haven't tried this one yet, I say give it a go.