Games need love too; that’s why they get sequels: Redux

Honestly this is me looking back at an article I did last year, and making new comments. New thoughts and comments will appear in italics. For those of you who are uneducated, italics are those funny leaning letters.

F-Zero

Miyamoto was shocked that fans still wanted a new F-Zero game. Even Wipeout is still going strong as fans still like high speed futuristic racing. The 3ds and WiiU both need a solid F-Zero entry as the mini-game in Nintendoland made us want more. Hell they could probably do a “Greatest hits” of sorts with tracks from F-Zero games of the past redone on the consoles. They wouldn’t even really have to change anything, Mario Kart hasn’t really had to either and that franchiseis still strong as ever and fun as Hell (Aside one ignorant reviewer who claims it changes nothing, then praises Call of Duty) . Maybe they could make a Mii Version, make your own F-Zero racer and race in GP’s against other 3ds/WiiU owners. It would be pretty bitchin’.

Now within the last few months, its become kind of apparent that F-Zero and Metroid probably aren’t going to get any love anytime soon. While fans still want it, we get cock teased with Nintendoland and Mario Kart 8 DLC. While I’m both happy and annoyed Nintendo is hopping on the DLC bandwagon, I just wish they would put their efforts into a full-fledged F-Zero. I’m still holding out a tiny flicker of hope that Miyamoto will revisit this like Star Fox and surprise us all. steering with the gamepad was odd, but I can see that being doable with some tweaking. They could do like Mario Kart and make both original and classic revisit cups. Then again, with all of the awesome music, I’d probably just spend a day in a sound test listening to remixes of my favorite tracks.

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Star Fox

…There are 2 people who make me hate this franchise. One was a rabid Star Fox fan in college, the other has a very unhealthy obsession with Fox/Falco porn. A very LARGE unhealthy obsession. Anyhow… I’ve played a lot of flight sims over the years so while Star Fox isn’t a great flight game, you cant deny there is a HUGE fan base for this game. Star Fox is as much about the characters as it was the flying, and gamers connected with Fox, Falco, Slippy, that rabbit and Fox’s slutty girlfriend… who now magically can fly an Arwing? What kills me is that the F-Zero Arcade game (FZERO AX or whatever) was a blast and you can bring your ship from the Gamecube (That ancient system many kids don’t know of) and play it in arcades. Long story short, if Nintendo keeps making Metroid and Mario Kart, they should keep Star Fox going too. It’s not like they don’t already have like a chunk of the cast modeled for Smash Brothers…

Speaking of, Since Miyamoto basically showed a new Star Fox at the Nintendo direct during E3, that should make many fans happy. Then Saukarai went and fucked it up cutting Wolf from Smash Bros and kept clone Fox, I mean Falco. I don’t even play Smash Bros, and I think Saukarai is a spoiled, out of touch brat. He actually called his fans “children” and claimed clone characters were “a free desert” after saying that clone characters were a mistake a few years back. I got sidetracked. Star Fox has potential for some awesome things now, and they could even go as far as releasing Star Fox 1 and 64 with a physical copy of this title, like Bayonetta did. It would be a great thing for fans of the franchise and show that Nintendo actually appreciates them.
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Battletoads

No I’m not joking. If fucking Killer Instinct is getting a next gen title, a 3 player hyper-violent beat em up where you drill rat-aliens into the ground should be there too. I STILL play Battletoads to this day, it’s a blast, the music is great and the levels (in all versions) are amazing. People still talk about how difficult Volkmire’s Inferno is and the Turbo Tunnel is one of the most recognized and infuriating levels in a game to date. My sister and I played this a lot as a kid and its one of the few games where co-op doesn’t help make the game simpler. Beat em ups are few and far between these days, Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim being the big mainstream titles, while games like Fist Puncher cover the indie circuit. I say bring back Zitz, Rash and Pimple and give us a bit of the old school 1990’s awesomesauce that Ninja Turtles lost (thanks Nickelodeon)

I’ve been reading people thinking the Turbo tunnel is STILL the hardest level. I think it’s the gateway to the real game. Then again, people think Five Nights at Freddy’s is actually scary. Honestly we NEED more of the brutally difficult games rather than games with the sole replay value being DLC or a whole game of multi-player deathmatch. A good co-op experience can take a good game, like Scott Pilgrim, and make it a blast. It was great before with local co-op only, but adding online (which was kinda odd not to have at first) made it legendary. Battletoads was a more adult Ninja Turtles, and Rare should pull this one out, dust it off, and and reboot this classic. Just don’t arbitrarily add a female toad called Hymen. 
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Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Like I wouldn’t bring this up. Seriously.

It’s been almost 20 years since Julie and Zeke defeated Doctor Tongue, and a few games have tried to capture the nostalgia. I’m not counting Ghoul Patrol because while it was a sequel, it didn’t feel quite right… and it was really bloody short comparatively. Now we have 4 player support, online communities, a vast interactive landscape zombies could roam in… who says they have to come up with new neighbors? Hell they could make this a 3ds/WiiU title, the radar on one screen the game on another, make the ‘victims’ Mii’s and you have infinite victims. Hell you could include a level creation tool (which Lucas Arts had and it was awesome) and you would bring new life into a cult classic. Modernize it a bit (or at least bring it to the 80’s horror film wise) and with the classic weapons you could easily breathe new life into a great concept.

As a huge fan, I’ve played every game that claimed to pay homage to it. Most of them were about as satisfying as a pudding made of dog food. I should note that Monster Madness is quite a fun game, with some good moments of humor, but honestly it feels like some of the story was shoehorned in. I recommend it though as the best homage, its fun, the characters are unique, and overall there is enough in there to feel good. While I think this game wasn’t a critical success, I wholeheartedly recommend at least playing it with a few friends.
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Road Rash

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but nothing is more satisfying than taking a chain and smacking someone in the face with it, knocking them off of their bike. Road Rash was a great racing game, and the final entry (Jailbreak) was lame. Road Rash was to motorcycles like Burnout was to cars, it was the over the top racing game that was unique among everything. I spent hours cruising in Road Rash 3d (I.E. start a race and turn off wherever I wanted and just drove) looking at the (low-poly) environments. A next gen sequel would be nice, but Hell, even a 2d one would be awesome, as long as they took the time and did it right, Road Rash would make another amazing option for the non-mainstream racing audience. Instead of ‘clans’ you have motorcycle gangs, you could instigate gang races in a large environment, upgrade your bikes and even do custom paint jobs (Forza did it) …I think EA owns this, so of course the trade off is probably having Burger King slap you with his crown during a race…

I guess motorcycles are now passe? You don’t see them too much in video games these days. I still think an open world like Road Rash 3D or what the Need For Speed franchise has done would be the best approach. Doing it like the old Burnout titles with multiple race styles would breathe new life into this worn franchise. Honestly there is not much more for me to add to this one.
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Mutant League

Fuck Madden, fuck EA Sports (aside SSX) fuck releasing the exact goddamn game year after year. You want to update the roster? FUCKING DLC not a whole new horseshit game.

*Rage-flips a table*

That being said, why not give us who find American Football boring as shit (Proper footy gets a true fan up at 4 am to watch it) what we want? Kill the ref, blow holes in the field and break the quarterback in 2. Mutant league games were odd, violent and fun as hell. In this online based gaming world, create a team, join a league online and play for the championship. Mutant League could also offer ALL THE SPORTS! American Football, Hockey, Baseball (Turn the ball into a bomb and kill the batter, they don’t swing, it kills your catcher) and I guess basketball. I don’t get sports, but I live in a state where our only winning team is the WNBA team. Maybe if our teams won I wouldn’t give two shits if they got a new stadium.

Like Road Rash, I don’t have much to add. I still feel like franchises like Madden actually hurt the sports they represent because of the money grubbing tactics of the companies that make them. They should be true to the fans and offer up to date roster changes (like if someone is out for the rest of the season, they’re out the rest of your season as well) and offer DLC rather than a whole 60 dollars for the same game with a new paint-job. Honestly, how much does change each iteration of Madden American Football? Hell, its already got American Football and Hockey…

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Alien Isolation Review

Let me first start by saying I am a fan of Alien and Aliens. I will admit that that may influence my review and I will do my best to not cloud my judgement.

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When Isolation was announced, I was both excited and skeptical. For those who have no idea why, Alien is one of those almost sacred cow kind of scifi/horror movies. The first one is a masterpiece of terror and suspense, and the second is just loads of bad-ass. Then there is Alien 3. Alien: Resurrection was just… weird, and there was the god awful Alien vs Predator movies… its kinda become its own Eldrich abomination, since game developers seem to want to cash in on the fans. There has never been a “good” Alien game. There have been mediocre games and then just fucking dreadful ones, like Colonial Marines.

So now that’s out of the way, lets discuss why we’re here, Isolation.

I did the pre-order, so I got the extra content and decided to try “Crew Expendable” first. I will admit, I did fanboy a little when I found out that the original cast (sans John Hurt, because Kane died before the game started) reprised the roles from the movie. You choose weather you play as Ripley, Dallas or Parker then go with the plan to trap the alien in the airlock. The Nostromo has been recreated down to the folds in the hyper-sleep beds. Wandering the halls to gather gear feels more epic than it should, the sounds play a large role in how the game feels. After gathering supplies, I went to the deck below… and promptly died. I laughed because I wasn’t expecting it so bloody fast. I already had a good feeling about how this game was going to go.

The next attempt I shot the shit out of it… well flame-broiled it. Realizing I was out of ammo, I quickly asked the alien to euthanize me, by hitting a wall with my wrench. I then decided to do my best “Solid Fisher” impression and hide. I have this issue when I stealth in games. In MGS when I’m in a box, the AI never moves. Splinter Cell, its like the guy forgets he’s patrolling when I’m hiding in a corner shadow. In Alien, I was trapped in a locker for god knows how long before he yanked open the locker and promptly liberated my sternum from my body with his mini-mouth. This went on for some time, before I finally decided to lower the difficulty from ‘Hard’ to ‘Normal’ a feat I haven’t had to do since Devil May Cry 3… the original release.

I got a bit further, but overall kept dying. So I decided to quit it for the time being, and boot up the main game.

There is probably going to be a METRIC SHIT-TON OF SPOILERS so if you are planning on playing this game, just skip to the very bottom for the score.

You dun fucked up!

I saw this a lot more than I should have.

I bought the PS3 version because a) I’m broke and b) I typically don’t buy a “next gen” console until there are at least 5 games I would play for it. PS4 just recently hit that threshold for me, so maybe soonish I’ll get one. My PC is a pile, so PS3 it was. I will say, it is still quite impressive looking. There are some strange artifacts (like one wall didn’t load in so I was staring into space on the Torrens) and some odd focus issues, however, since my PS3 randomly freezes on netflix, it could have just as easily been my PS3 failing. So this will be the only time I mention graphical fuck-ups.

So Amanda Ripley is actually a well developed and detailed character. I don’t know how Issac Clarke carries all those weapons in Dead Space, but at least they gave Amanda a bloody backpack as part of her design. Her facial details and even things like her showing emotion is already on a level that is better than Michael Bein (Sorry Hicks, love you in Aliens and Blood Dragon… but Colonial Marines you sounded like Michael Madson in Bloodrayne) Honestly I think after a few hours Amanda has become pretty high on my “Characters I like list”. Which is pretty damn short.

Save often. Like every time you see these...

Save often. Like every time you see these…

First, I really dig the saving system. It lets you know if you are not alone (Quite literally tells you if hostiles are nearby) and on the odd chance the big chap drops in unexpected, the location of the baddies who were right on top of you gets scrambled. So if you save, turn around and “become hysterical” to death, the game shows some mercy on your load. Speaking of hysterical, the androids or “working joes” make me laugh. The stuff they spout is so… awkward. I think I heard ‘Tut Tut’ more times in this game than in Winnie the Pooh. Though I will applaud the AI, I thought I got away, but they decided to divide and conquer my narrow ass.

Tut Tut... you are becoming hysterical...

Tut Tut… you are becoming hysterical…

As often as you hear the voices, they’d better be good, and fuck me, they are. All of the sound is good, even little details like sounds being muffled in space, and Ripley can “hear” items that she is in contact with (like the wire from the beginning) because of vibrations. My favorite is the little cues to let you know the big chap is in the area and feeling frisky. Sound is just as important as the motion detector. Then again the environment gives you many cues, like slime dripping from a vent. Walking under that is obviously ill advised. Though this is a horror game, so I’m sure there is a lot of the “too stupid to live” crowd playing this.

One thing I hate is jump scares. Nine times out of ten, they are just used as a cheap filler for fear. Loud noises and sudden images are not a good substitute for atmosphere. (I’m looking at you Five Nights at Freddy’s) There are jump scares in Alien, however they ADD to the atmosphere. One in particular stood out to me, I was walking through an area I went through already, checking corpses. The alien was nearby and I was kinda sneaking around, I walked by what I thought was a dead android and suddenly, “There you are!” I jumped but it wasn’t a bullshit jump scare, I was scared the alien was gonna hear me bash its head in with a wrench.

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Alien does one thing that one of my other favorite horror games, Silent Hill did…

Reminded me how much I fucking HATE hospitals in video games. I seriously cannot recall the last time I was in a hospital in a video game and shit didn’t get “real”.

I hate hospitals in real life. I hate them in games. I hate them in movies. More often than naught, they are another cheap ploy to help instill fear. The hospital wing in Isolation… lets just say I have never been so happy to be unnerved. The whole area is well thought out, down to the schedule for the doctors and having to figure out where one doctor who has the key you need was… when he died.

A bit after that, you finally meet some humans who don’t really want to kill you. The marshals. It was nice to restock on some ammo I was low on, but what made me happy was the conversation with Marlo and the flashback to his LV426 trip. Actually it kinda helps fill in some gaps, like why “For reasons unknown,” Ripley detonated a “M class star-freighter, a rather expensive piece of equipment.” See, doing a game based on a movie should complement it, not ret-con it… looking at you again Colonial Marines. Anyhow after my chat with Marlo, I got my flame unit and we began to set our trap for the Alien. Too bad there is always that 1 complete dick right? Nothing like being used as live bait and shot toward a gas giant to really make you want to kill someone.

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When I got back to the ship, I pretty much just ran everywhere, the alien was gone, but then I was reminded of the androids. Suddenly this game took a very real “System Shock” kinda vibe and I had to go talk to Apollo, the stations AI construct. The sheer amount of ammo I received on my way to Apollo made me think a boss was coming up and my paranoia was reaching yet another high. Would I have to kill Samuels? Would Apollo become sentient like Shodan? Is there a fucking Queen on this station?

Nope. Samuels dies opening Apollo up so I can talk to it. I actually felt bad about his death.

So after fighting my way to Apollo, and walking into a very familiar room the following took place:

Me: Yo, shut down the droids.

Apollo: LOL NO. Somethings not right downstairs. Git

Me: Fuck.

I walk under Apollo and walk into the FRELLING HUGE reactor. Its all lightning, explosions and rainbows and shit. (not rainbows, but it was impressive.) I take the elevator down to maintenance, and step out. I look to my roommate who was watching me play and actually said, “Well this escalated quickly…” as we both then look at the hive that I’m currently traversing. Looking around I realize one other crowning moment of awesome. I can see Amanda’s feet. Breakdown on the Xbox was the last game with a detail that minuscule that actually made sense. Not like I was jumping, but still… My awe was put aside when I saw my first facehugger. Up close.. “Oh look! Face huggers!” I joyfully said, before I grimaced, “Oh shit, facehuggers.” The hive quickly became a place of “All of my nope.” every other word out of my mouth was fuck until I found flame unit ammo.

In one knee jerk moment of awesome, I accidentally wrenched an alien away when it dropped right in front of me. I will never be able to have that happen again, but I will cherish it always.

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De-activating the core… or activating… whatever… It might have been the single most nerve wracking thing in gaming I’ve ever encountered. I activate both parts, pretty much run like hell, go to purge the system, and as an extra “fuck you” with the lightning show, I now see that 5 or more aliens are now wandering the ship, pretty pissed at me. I pretty much haul ass to medical again to steal an ambulance. I accidentally found my first Nostromo log while doing this. Parker talking of repairs and pay. These little details kinda make me forget about the bloodthirsty condomhat stalking me. There is nothing like fighting an android and having an alien pop in. I might be gay, but even I have limits to fucking.

After hacking the ambulance and leaving Rodrigo behind I go and confront Marlos. He’s got a good idea, keep it out of company hands, but he does it like a dick by trying to turn his ship into a goddamn nuke with me on it. I deactivate it, but still fail to keep it from exploding, so in true alien style, I run screaming from the explosion, back to the station, yet again. The explosion fucked up the station and now I’m slowly decending into the gas giant… again. I get asked to go manually adjust the satellites, deal with an alien and come back to see Rodrigo facehugged. Seriously, I think Game of Thrones is the only thing to kill this many people off. While griping, my PS3 freezes and I’m forced to take a break.

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 I come back to the final marathon. I get a hold of the Torrens, and trying to escape, get captured, cocooned and almost run over by a fistful of FUCKING TRAINS. In stark contrast after this white knuckle trip through the bowels of the station, I take quite the leisurely stroll through space. I understand spacesuits are bulky, but with the space station crashing, you figure Amanda would move faster. I get above the ship, and have to self destruct the clamps. As I finish I am met with several quite cross bugs. In a really tense moment (cinematic, thankfully) Amanda detonates the claw and painfully enters the ship. I’m safe, the games over… why is there an alien looking at me?

I’m not going to ruin the ending, I will say, compared to the rest of the game it felt like a bit of a letdown, but at the same time, left it wide the fuck open for a sequel. Overall I really enjoyed this game, and I’m currently going through it on hard now, something I haven’t done in ages. Alien Isolation is a true horror game experience, you have an active foe that you have to outwit and beat. It has great characters, well written dialogue and adds something new to an already established set of 2 good movies (because 3 still didn’t happen in my mind.) A few minor glitches that could have easily been my ps3 and some glitches that were just odd (like when I walked into a sealed room and an Alien spawned on me, giving me a cardiac) I still feel this game deserves every bit of praise it can get. It is a true horror game in a sea of abysmal jump-scare action games.

Since This is a new blog I’ll do a 0-100 rating system. 0 being ET 100 being… well I’m told Ocarina of Time is the highest reviewed game, so I’ll use that as my “gold standard.”

Alien Isolation gets a 91/100 that’s like an A- pretty damn good, but there’s just a bit of room for improvement. As I sit here looking at that last line, I’m wondering if I’m fanboying, or being honest. As a horror game I think it deserves it for sure. As an alien game, I think it’s the best. So I honestly think that while I might be fanboying a bit, this game will definitely be a gold standard of horror for some time.

New Blog, New Rules

“You can’t spell ignorant without IGN”

-Pretty much every gamer ever.

I’ve decided, weather it be from lack of coverage of unique games, or just because I’m sick of reviewers moistening the taints of Call of Duty and Madden, I’m beginning this new blog.

It will be dedicated to game reviews, game info, random shit, and stuff Queuethulu Games is working on. So half fan service, half self-service.

If anyone has been to one of my panels at Anime or Sci Fi conventions, you know nothing is sacred. I’m not PC and I will not act PC because someone’s delicate sensibilities demand it. If you want PC go to elsewhere, because this is your first and only warning.

While I personally am a fan of horror, I will do my best to cover things out of my norm. Aside sports games. Unless they make another Mutant League, I will not cover any Madden, Fifa, NHL, whatever basketball is or that sport with the stick and steroids.

I’m currently working on my first review, which is one of the games that helped spark this. Look for it in the coming days.