Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Darkseed 2 – A Review

Sat, Jul 4th, 2020

So it’s no secret that I am a big fan of the original Darkseed but had never been able to play the second game for the longest time.

I currently don’t have the money or the room to buy a Windows 3.1 PC, so I had to make do with a VM or something, but I couldn’t get any of that working, either, no matter what I tried.

For the longest time, I didn’t let it bother me, since thanks to the likes of Retsupurae, the game was seen as a joke, mostly because of the new actor who played as Michael Dawson making him look wimpy compared to the first game. (I found out the reason for this. More of that later)

But then I decided to watch a playthrough, and actually really wanted to play it, as I was engaged in the story.

So after a while, I finally found a working version of Darkseed 2 that boots up a Windows 3.1 VM and starts the game, so I now had access to this game.

So… is it actually as bad as people make it out to be?

Honestly, no.

For starters, it was much more straightforward than the first game in the sense that you’re not stressed in trying to get things done in a specific order or within a time-limit, except for one point near the end, which I won’t spoil here.

The story goes that Mike Dawson had a mental breakdown after the events of the first game, and went back to his home town in Texas to live with him mum again. He went to a high school reunion, after which his high school crush and local librarian, Rita, was killed.

A lot of people, myself included, for some reason, thought Rita was the librarian from the first game, but that isn’t the case. The librarian in the first game wasn’t given a name.

The game starts with Dawson having a nightmare in the dark world with some… laughable animations.

Then Dawson wakes up, and a police officer enters Dawson’s rooms and asks him some questions, and seems adamant that Dawson killed Rita.

Mike Dawson is the number 1 suspect of the murder, since he was the last person to see her alive. However, Dawson doesn’t remember a thing.

Afterwards, Dawson goes out, gets tickets for a carnival opening that day, and meets with Jack, the only friend he’s made since returning to Texas, on his front porch.

Then he goes to see a psychologist he’s been seeing to treated his PTSD, Dr Sims, and he convinced Dawson to hypnotise him, and he starts to recall events from the night Rita was killed, and agreed to do more.

He eventually finds the Dark World through the carnival, and that’s as far as I’m going to go at the risk of spoiling anything.

The game did a good job at keeping me hooked to the game, and playing it longer than I intended, just to find out what happened next!

The game I think the normal world very 90s charm. I love the crumbly sounds and the awful CGI renders. It all gives the game charm!

I think the dark world looks even creepier than the first game, and the lack of music, replaced by creepy ambiance sounds, really adds to that effect!

The game has much, much more dialogue than the first game, too. You meet loads of interesting characters throughout the game, and you find out a lot about the backstory of Darkseed.


SPOILER SECTION

…or do we?

As you play through the game, more and more people get killed.

As you reach the end of the game, it becomes apparent that only Mike Dawson can see Jack, and that he might not be a real person after all.

He admits to being the dark world counterpart to Mike Dawson, and that he killed all of the suspects, and then proceed to kill him in Dr. Sims’ room.

The police come in, don’t notice Jack, and say that Mike killed Sims and then himself, implying that all of this was, in fact, all in his head.

I felt cheated by the ending initially, but then thinking about it, it makes sense, and kind of genius.

Though the problem is, as you can see, Jack is still there even after Mike dies. The game does have some plotholes that they ripped right open here.

But it’s okay! Mike Dawson’s mum explains everything!

SPOILER END


All in all, I actually really enjoyed Dark Seed 2, and given it’s now free and archived on internetarchive.org, I’d say give it a try!

The big Sega announcement… what could it mean?

Mon, Jun 1st, 2020

Wise from your gwave!

Edit Edit: It’s cloud gaming for arcades… hardly setting the world on fire there Sega, are you? No benefit to the consumer, and would make games harder to archive, so this announcement is actually bad news…

Edit: Doing more research, it turns out it most likely has nothing to do with the Xbox Series X… Well, that’s my theory out of the window.


So if you don’t know, there are rumours going around that Sega have this “groundbreaking” announcement coming this week that this journalist said would be just as big as the PS5 console reveal.

Naturally, this got everyone, myself included, curious as to what it actually is. What could it possibly be? I have 2 theories

It’s not going to be a new Sonic game, or a revival of an old franchise. None of that is groundbreaking enough, is it?

So I’ll get the most depressing out of my 2 theories out of the way, and that is Sega announces that they got bought out by someone like Microsoft or Nintendo, which I think would be a disaster. Microsoft will make them a laughing stock and reduce them to nothing, like they did Rare, and Nintendo is very stingy with their copyrights, fan games, ROMHacks, etc…

With that out of the way, now for the other theory: The first thing people are going to think is that it’s hardware related, but Sega just don’t have the resources to do that any more, and even if they did, they’re hardly the juggernaut they once were. Sega barely make games any more, and most of their money come from Pachinko machines.

But who says they would do it alone? I think it’s possible that they teamed up with another console maker or something.

Like Microsoft, whose consoles never sell in Asia, and especially not in Japan. It would make sense for Sega to team up with Microsoft, and place the Sega brand for the Xbox Series X in Japan, wouldn’t it? The Sega Series X has a nice ring to it, too, I think!

Sega would so, by extension, make games exclusively for the Series X, and maybe this is an opportunity for Sega to rebuild their company to the state it was at the Saturn and Dreamcast days.

Indeed, there is a rumour going around that supports my theory, or at least, is in the same ballpark!

I would personally love to see this, and would even pay to import the Sega model from Japan, or wherever it would be released, even if the console is the same internally!

However, if we apply Occam’s Razor, it could just be overhyped, and Sega didn’t have anything big planned to begin with, or Sega, and the journalist reporting it, overestimated how big it will be.

So what do you think? I guess leave a comment blog and tell me your thoughts.

Headhunter Review for the Sega Dreamcast.

Sun, Jan 26th, 2020

So I’ve beaten Headhunter, and now I want to talk about it.

I was not able to take any screenshots during the game, so I’m going to steal them from Gamespot.

For those not aware, Headhunter is a game released in 2001 on the Dreamcast by Azure. The Dreamcast version was only released in PAL regions, but it was later ported to the PS2 in North America and Europe.

I would describe the game as an open world stealth game. There are motorbiking sections where you drive around from level to level, and upgrade your license, more on that later.

The story is set in mid 21st century, where there is a crime league where crime fighters capture and arrest criminals to climb up the ranks.

There also legal and black market organ harvesting in there somewhere as well, and the emphasis on saving organs to sell, and weapons that only shut their brains down without damaging any of the organs.

The game’s graphics look great for it’s time especially for the Dreamcast! They look like a game you would have seen in 2004 on the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox, but here we see them from 2001.

Both versions of the game look close, with the Dreamcast having the edge of better texture and shadow quality.

However, due to the Dreamcast’s relatively low RAM, it has to load almost every room you enter, and it gets annoying after a while. The PS2 version’s rooms are split the same way.

As for the gameplay, there are 2 sections of it, one, like I said, where you ride around what looks like Southern US on a motorbike, and the main game, which is where you run around levels, sneak up on people or just shoot them down.

The controls take some getting used to, you press Y to back yourself up to a wall, but you need to press it again to get off it, and the fact that the Dreamcast doesn’t have a second analog means that you need to aim and hold X to turn the camera. This takes getting used to.

Luckily, the game autoaims to your enemies by pressing x, so it isn’t a problem either way.

Not much else to say, you’ve probably played many action and stealth games that play just like this, so there’s not much to learn or get used to.

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/5/4/6/4/415464-headhunter_039.jpg

The driving section also take get some getting used to. One’s natural instinct is to push the R trigger all the way down, but that causes you to wheelie and crash into walls. You have to lightly push it to be able to ride around properly. I approve of this future, as it’s more realistic.

You can’t damage your vehicle, or even properly crash. You just stop. In fact, this entire section seems pointless, and is just there to look cool.

It does, so it did it’s job.

The game also has FMV news sections that are scatterted throughout the game. I’m a sucker for cheesy FMV sequences, so I loved these!

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/4/7/9/5/414795-headhunter_003.jpg

And also pre-rendered CGI scenes, which don’t look as nice.

https://gamespot1.cbsistatic.com/uploads/original/mig/5/4/3/2/415432-headhunter_007.jpg

They were compressed by what is called the 4x codec, and it looks terrible in some places. Particularly, with bright colours, it’s just a mess!


The game is very story focused and linear, which works for me. I’m not a fan of games that are too open.

Later in the game, you start to encounter bosses, and they won’t go easy on you. They’re mostly trial and error. For example, there was a boss where you had to leak gas pipes to damage them, but you could also shoot them, but doing that only takes like a pixel from their massive health bar, and the gas pipe thing isn’t very apparent, so I’m willing to say that some people probably just shot it to death, which would have taken *ages*.

Around the same point, I had to copy a pattern that was 10 foreign characters long, that circled around a knob, to another similar looking knob. I had to write it down, as there was no way I could have memorised it. I hated that.

The final boss was frustrating at first, but later, you get into a flow and I really enjoyed myself at this part!


Overall, the game felt very solid for the time, and was a very enjoyable game to go through. For those who own a Dreamcast or PS2, definitely pick this one up!

Robo-Pit Review for the Sega Saturn

Sun, Dec 29th, 2019

So I got Robo Pit for the Sega Saturn for Christmas, and I completed it yesterday, and thought I’d give me thoughts on it.

For some reason, this is one of the few multiplatform games that is cheaper on the Sega Saturn compared to the Playstation, in all regions. In fact the only game I can recall that costs more on Playstation is hi-Octane, but that was because that version was far better.

Robo Pit looks the same on both, except for totally different menus, and some even say the Saturn version is the better of the two! So why it costs less is beyond me.

Anyway, onto the game. What attracted me to it was it’s resemblance to Robot Wars and the like. You build robots, which can have wheels or tracks for locomotion, and you attach weapons to the robot to damage your opponent with.

That’s where the similarities really end, the game is a 3D beat em up with tank controls. Doesn’t sound like the recipe for a good fighting game but surprisingly, it works well. Whenever I sat down to play a game, that one game turns to like 8, and I have to force myself to stop playing.

If you win a match, you win the opponents weapons (or by the looks of it, one of them in the Playstation version), and if you lose, they get yours. Naturally, you don’t want to lose, and whenever I did, I reset the game and loaded my progress.

That’s my main complaint of the game, you lose your good weapons, it’s all over. Especially if you are a beginner. Your fists are more or less useless compared to the weapons you unlock thoughout the game.

Speaking of, the weapons to fall into 4 (maybe 5) categories.
You have your close range weapons, like fists, hammers and axes.
You have your long range weapons, that shoot out, but get pulled back to you. Like the mace.
You have guns, some with ammo, and some that are unlimited as they bounce back to you.
Lastly, you have the shields, which increase your defence.

You fight your way up the ranks, starting at rank 101, and you work towards getting the top spot, which is easier said than done.

Throughout the game, you come across bosses who have no data and you only see their silhouettes in the menu. You fight them in special arenas and are harder than the other robots. Obviously.

<spoiler>

When you reach the top rank, a rank 0 is revealed. This is the final boss. This guy is the most bullshit hard boss I’ve ever faced! One hit takes a 5th of your health away! I had to constantly circle strafe them and hit them when it looked like they had an opening. Even this took a dozen tries!

After this, you get a credit sequence, showing what I think are replays of past victories.

</spoiler>

The music and sound effects are for the most part, forgettable, except the robot building music, which is the kind of abstract robot music you hear in the 90s, complete with sounds heard from devices at the time, and the line “Sorry, the number you have dialled is not available!”

The graphics are about average, too. They do look a little better on the PS1, as expected, but even then, nothing much to them.
You get these cute eyes, faces and head shapes to put onto your robot, they’re purely aesthetic, but they do give the game a bit of personality!

All in all, for the price it fetches, it’s definitely worth the money, in my opinion! As someone whose entire childhood was consumed by Robot Wars and Battlebots, I was satisfied, and if I had this as a kid, I’d have absolutely loved it!

I might even get the Playstation version and compare the two.

There is also a sequel exclusive to the PS1, but this one doesn’t come by often, and when it does, it’s £20 for a loose disc…

Anyway, that concludes this review, I hope you enjoyed it, and until next week: A’m oot!

Hot take: Die Hard is a better Christmas film than It’s a Wonderful Life

Sun, Dec 22nd, 2019

Just a quick post that I felt like making.

So it’s that time of the year again where we watch decades old films where kids taught that Santa isn’t real see Santa and believe he’s real again!

I love watching Christmas films every year, and have quite the Blu-Ray/VHS collection of them, but there was one thing, or rather 2, that have always puzzled me about them.

To most people. It’s a Wonderful Life is a Christmas film, but Die Hard isn’t. I disagree with that. Read the rest of this entry »

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max – The Devil’s Playhouse

Sat, Dec 21st, 2019

Continuing my series of Telltale retrospectives, I played through Sam & Max – The Devil’s Playhouse.

This time around, the game is DRM-free, and has even provided screenshots for me, which is smashing!

The disc also provided some screenshots for me, which I will scatter on this blog. No more running through Steam and remembering to take screenshots now and again! At least until the next game I cover… Read the rest of this entry »

In Defence of Shenmue III

Fri, Dec 13th, 2019

So I finally got to play Shenmue III, a game I’ve been anticipating since I played the first 2 in the 2000s.

After deciding to just get the game on PS4 instead of getting a refund after their Epic Game Store controversey, my Kickstarter copy being shipped a week after launch.

Even then, all I got was a flimsy slipcase that only had a logo on front, and nothing on back, and a DLC that was only 1MB big. (Shows how much Deep Silver cares about the Kickstarter backers, huh?)

So I popped it in and played it for 5 miunutes.

I actually really enjoy it.

It plays almost exactly like the first 2 games, but with better controls, thanks to finally having a 2nd analog! QTEs also seem to be gone!

Then I found out a lot of people people are shitting on the game, and I just don’t understand why.

For the record, I understand that people are entitled to their opinion. Shenmue isn’t for everyone, it’s slow paced and very story focused, but the way people are going about, it feels like they’re trying to make it sound objectively bad. Here’s an interesting fact:

People can enjoy things you don’t. People have different tastes.

I know, it’s shocking! It’s a lot to take in, I understand. Want a minute to sit down and think about it? Okay, I’ll be here when you let it soak in.

In all seriousness, I think if you’re saying that the game is boring, you’re not it’s target market.

A lot of people compare the series to Yakuza, and on the surface, that makes sense, as both were published by Sega and both are RPG-like games that take place in Japan, but the deeper I look at both series, the more I find it isn’t really far. (Especially if we’re comparing the Dreamcast Shenmue to the PS2 Yakuza, both are barely even remotely identical!)

It’s like the equivalent of comparing a visual novel to an arcade beat-em-up, solely on the premise that both are set in the same country in the same decade.

Both games serve different purposes and appeal to different markets.

Yakuza is more focused on action and outlandishness, whereas Shenmue focuses more on story and immersion.

Both games have elements from the other. Yakuza has a good story, and Shenmue has some fun beat-em-up segments, but ultimately, as much as I enjoy both series, I don’t really think they can be compared.

So why do I enjoy Shenmue 3? Well, it’s for the reasons many don’t. It’s slow paced, you’re exploring the in-game world, being able to interact with literally everything and progressing a big story. You do jobs to pay for things like capsult toys and to play games.

You’re essentially living life in a different world. In the past, in another country.

I’ve always wanted to see Japan, but to see it in the 80s! Count me the fuck in!

As well as just being fun, I enjoy games for their plot. They provide an interactive story, which gives you more immersion, and I think Shenmue provides exactly what I’m looking for, plus the added realism gives me more oppurtunity to immerse in the world it provides.

Telltale Games – A retrospective: Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space (a.k.a. Sam & Max Season 2)

Sun, Dec 1st, 2019

I finally played and beaten the second season of Sam & Max, and this time, I have screenshot to accompany my words! I ran the game under Steam.

This game was released on PC in late 2008, and got ports to all of the 7th gen systems afterwards, so there are quite a few ways to play this.

I’ll try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but I can’t make any guarantees.

So I had trouble even running this game. The game uses SecuROM, so that would explain why nothing happened.

I tried to download “cracked” exes of the game, and all it resulted in was this.

fa0nob4

I was about to give up hope, and tried to download a pirated version of the game (I own a legit copy, so don’t say I robbed anyone of their money), and… it worked.

I noticed the splash screen was different in this version.

As it turns out, there are 2 different versions of this game, one named “Sam & Max – Season 2” and the one I have “Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space”. The former from what I gather was only sold through Telltale’s site and the latter was the full retail version.

Both use SecuROM, but there are only cracked exes of the former. So I had to go with that. I burned a copy of this version for future use because it seems to be really difficult to find online. I’ll probably keep looking, though.

IMG_20191127_1256361

So anyway, I got it working in the end. Like the first season, I found this a lot easier to figure out second time playing, but struggled near the end. I enjoyed this season a lot more than the first one, too! The stories were way more supernatural, but not edgy, and covered topics I love in a story, such as portals and time travel!

The game is also natively widescreen, (though as far as I know is letterboxed in 4:3 resolutions) and include hints during the game to help you out. Sadly the latter didn’t work very well. More on that later.

So I can adress the game one episode at a time.

So let’s begin. Read the rest of this entry »

So I finally completed Sonic Adventure, 20 years after the game’s release

Sun, Nov 24th, 2019

Scots synopsis below

So I decided to play Sonic Adventure again some weeks back, and this time, complete the entire thing.

I decided to play the game on Dreamcast as opposed to the PC port, which I also have, because I want the original experience, and plus I’d much prefer using the Dreamcast controller than the Xbone’s.

For those not in the know, somehow, Sonic Adventure was a Dreamcast launch title in North America and PAL regions in 1999, originally a Saturn game, moved to the Dreamcast after the Saturn was declared “not their future”, and is essentially a 3D Sonic with overworld segments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Happy 25th Anniversary Sega Saturn!

Fri, Nov 22nd, 2019

This article is available in English and Scots, Scots version is further down below.


This will be a quick post, as I literally found this out 5 minutes ago.

On this day, 25 years ago, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan. For this not in the know at this point, the Saturn was Sega’s 5th generation console, made to compete with the 3DO, Jaguar, PS1, and N64 among other systems.

It was released in North America and much of Europe in mid 1995, months prior to when it was supposed to, leading to a disasterous launch, with some stores refusing to stock the console.

It was a castrophic failure in North America, but was a huge success in Japan, and even faired pretty well in many European countries. Over here in the Western European Isles, it did okay. I know as many people who owned a Saturn as I do people who owned an N64.

Much like the Dreamcast, I didn’t have one back in the day, but playing it now, I love it! In fact I prefer it to the PS1, which was what we actually had!

If we didn’t have a PS1 and instead got a Saturn, I probably would have been a bit of a Sega fanboy, and stuck by them to the bitter end… and perhaps the gap between the Saturn and Dreamcast.

The reason I love the Saturn is because it has so many arcade games. I’m a huge arcade buff, so how could I not love it?

My favourite games include it’s port of Batman Forever, which is the best home version of the game, and is an absolute blast to play! I still play it with my friend now and again!

Another game I love is Fighter’s Megamix, which is like Smash Bros before Smash Bros. Perhaps we should be calling Smash Bros Nintendo’s Fighters Megamix! I mean you can play as Hornet from Daytona USA. That’s right, A CAR! What more could you want?

And in general ports of Sega Rally, Daytona USA, F1 Challenge, Sega Touring Car Championship, Manx TT Superbike and much more are great for short brusts of fun!

It also of course had versions of many popular PS1 games, including games you don’t hear about being on the Saturn, such as Croc, Destruction Derby and Wipeout+2097. The 3D weren’t as good as the PS1 versions, but if you only had a Saturn, I imagine they did the job.

With 2D games, however, the Saturn shined and outperformed the PS1, Batman Forever, as mentioned earlier, was one such game.

However, one thing the Saturn did lack was really any 1st party games worth playing for more than 10 minutes. Sega Lord X made a great video about this, watch that below.

Not to mention no flagship Sonic game, the closest we got was Sonic Jam’s 3D world, which was fun to go around, but only took me a day to beat it.

It did have NiGHTs, however, which is excellent! It even supported widescreen!

One last thing to mention, the mascot in Japan is Segata Sanshiro, A man that beat up anybody who wasn’t playing the Saturn, and was one of the reasons the Saturn did so well over there. He’s a total badass!

So anyway, those are just my thoughts on the console. It’s one of my favourites ever, and definitely in my top 5 consoles ever made!

I’ll be setting up my Saturn and playing it all day in celebration!

That’s all for now, bye!


‘Is’ll be a swift post, A juist fund oot aboot this 5 minute ago.

25 year ago the day, the Sega Saturn wis pit oot in Japan. Fur fowk that dina ken bi nou, the Saturn wis Sega’s answer tae the PS1 an N64. (As weel as the 3DO and Jaguar)

It wis pit oot in North Americae an mony pairts ae Europe in mid 1995, wey b’fore it wis said tae, an that got store bylin, cause thay warna telt aboot it an didna git ony consoles tae stock, an some refuised tae stock the consoles at aw.

It wis a pure massive failyie in Americae, but thrived in Japan. Didna dae ‘at bad in Europe, aither. A ken as mony fowk here that haed a Saturn as A dae fowk that haed an N64.

A lot like the Dreamcast, A didna hiv wan back than, but playin it these days, A pure luve it! A actual prefer it tae the PS1, the console A haed!

See gin A haed a Saturn insteid ae a PS1, a prolly wad hae bin a Sega fanboy, an fendit ‘aim tae the verra end.

A luve the Saturn cause it haed loads ae Arcade ports. A’m pure mad fur arcade gemms, sae why wad A no luve it?

Ma favourite gemmes include hit’s version ae Batman Forever: The Arcade Game, which is prolly the best version. Hit’s a pure blast tae play, an still play it wi a mate somethmes the day!

Anither gemm A luve is Fighters Megamix, which is like Smash Bros b’fore Smash Bros. We should be cawin Smash Bros “Nintendo’s Fighter’s Megamix”. Ye can play as Hornet fae Daytona USA in it. Ay, ‘at’s richt, A MOTOR! Whit mair dae ye want?

General-like, juist gemmes like Sega Rally, Daytona USA, F1 Challenge, Sega Touring Car Championship, Manx TT Superbike an loads mair ir smashin fur quick bursts ae fun!

It haeds ports ae mony PS1 gemms, includin gemms ye wadna think haed Saturn ports. Gemms like Croc, Destruction Derby, an Wipeout+2097. Leuk ‘aim up, thay exist!

Maist 3D gemms warna as guid on the Saturn, but A imaigin gin he ainly haed a Saturn, thay’d dae.

Wi 2D gemme, thay war actual better on Saturn, cause it haed a dedicatit CPU fur it unlikr the PS1. Batman Forever is wan ae thae gemms.

Haunaiver, the Saturn didna hiv any 1st pairty gemms that war warth payin fur mair’n 10 meenits. No tae mention nae real Sonic gemme. Sonic Jam’s 3D warld wis the closest we got, an e’en than, as fun as it wis, it ainly teuk iz a day tae beat it.

Tho thare wis NiGHTs, which is brilliant! Supportit widescreen an aw!

Wan last hing tae mention. Segata Sanshiro wis the Sega Saturn mascot in Japan, ‘at battert anyb’dy that didna play the Saturn. He’s pairt ae the reason the Saturn did awfu guid in Japan!

Ay onywey, A juist wantit tae gie yese ma thochts on the console. It’s wan o ma favourite consoles fae ‘at gen an wan ae ma favourite iver! Lang mey the Saturn’s lum reek!

A’ll be gittin ma Saturn oot an playin it aw day tae celebrate!

Cheers fur readin ‘is, ’till nixt time, A’m oot!

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