CASTLEVANIA : PORTRAIT OF RUIN

castle

Overview :

It is World War II. With each day, hundreds, if not thousands, of men, women, and children are dying. The anguish of these souls have once again summoned the demonic Dracula’s castle, and an artistic vampire has decided to take advantage of this in a bid for power. Enter Jonathan and Charlotte, the Belmont and Belnades placeholders for this game, who arrive at the castle intent on fighting evil. Evil art. Evil artists. Whatever. It’s 2016 and it’s time for the newest Castlevania. They wanted to experiment with the castle exploration by having ‘stages’ hiding in portraits throughout the game, and by having the partner system, a la Castlevania III, become a main feature. So, how is it ? Good. Very very good.

Graphics :

Well, let’s see. Portrait runs a pretty strange gamut, here, one that I’ve only previously seen in some Capcom fighting collections: The sprites in this game range from brand-new to made-in-1993. Of course, being the sort of person who never got to play Dracula X, and forgot most of the bland and gutted SNES port, this didn’t bother me. However, it has bothered some, so if you think you’d be the sort who’d be angry at an old sprite, well, you won’t be happy. That aside, this is still a wonderful looking game. I dare say it’s Symphony of the Night caliber. Every character is VERY well animated, and the two leads even have a little hidden animation in their sprites as well.

Pretty nifty if you ask me. The castle itself is rather mundane by now, seeing as there’s only so many ways to make a clock tower level and an underground caverns area, but luckily the portraits aspect of the game is here to fix that. The portrait areas are all rather nice looking, from the quaint European village theme of City of Haze, to the purely chaotic carnival atmosphere of Nation of Fools , or the rolling dunes of Sandy grave, the levels don’t really run the risk of being forgotten. Well, until the second half of the game, anyway. Also of note, the game once again uses the nifty trick of placing 3D buildings in the background that turn slightly as you move across the field, which is nifty, if a bit old hat.

Gameplay :

Okay, here we go. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that despite my nearly two decades of gaming, I still suck at avoiding attacks in numerous genres of games. However, recent Castlevania titles have still managed to be pretty easy, if only through the ability to either power level so that massive attacks won’t hurt, a large collection of healing items, or elemental absorbing equipment. PoR, however, manages to have difficult boss fights, and even difficult areas where even normal monsters can still wreak havoc, despite healing items and level gaining. That was rather refreshing, I think. Obviously anyone can still beat the game with a little effort, so that’ll lead folks to say that it’s easy. Bah. So you made Castlevania 1 your bitch back in the day. Most likely you had to play the game so much that it wasn’t even fun anymore in order to do it. But, enough about that. The game is harder than previous free-roaming ‘vanias. That’s all I’m trying to say.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review

While Capcom is best known for such hallmark franchises as Street Fighter, Mega Man, Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, the publisher has also made its mark with quirkier fare, such as Phoenix Wright and Viewtiful Joe. It also has had success with a casual game of sorts, which harkens back to the mid-’90s arcade debut, with its Super Puzzle Fighter series.

Now we see a further expansion of the latter with the launch of (with what might be the longest game name ever) Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on Xbox Live Arcade. With previous releases on other consoles sporting a full retail price, at 800 Microsoft Points (or about $10), this might also be one of the best bargains on XBLA.

For those who’ve never played it before, SPF2THDR (which we’ll call it so as not to run out of pixels on these pages) takes Capcom’s lineup of characters, shrinks them down and drops them into the puzzle game as peripheral combatants. The main action takes place on the playfield, where you control colored pieces as they drop—and similar to such games as Tetris or Columns, you rotate and push them into place at the bottom.

superfightUnlike those other “drop” games (at least in the main “X Mode,” which replicates the coin-op original), though, instead of eliminating pieces when you complete line or match a certain number in a row, SPF2THDR has players creating groups of like-colored pieces, which are then eliminated by dropping a circular “Crash” Gem onto pieces of the same color. From where the Crash Gem lands, any adjacent gem will break, so there’s some strategy in building up a number of gems on your side, because breaking gems on your side dumps Counter Gems in your opponent’s playfield.

Additionally, if you can clump together like-colored gems into a square or larger rectangle, they’ll group into a larger Power Gem, which is more damaging when a Crash Gem breaks it. If you can create Chain Combos, by having gem breaks cause other Crash Gems to drop on matching pieces spontaneously, the clutter on your foe’s side is even bigger. And every 25th piece that drops contains a diamond, which will remove all gems of the color it hits, though with a damage decrease. One person wins when the other player can’t fully place a piece into the bin.

The game makes good use of the Xbox 360 hardware.

While it sounds simple, SPF2THDR is one challenging strategic contest. At its most basic, it takes a little time for players to pick up the methods of creating Power Gems and arrange combos; at the higher echelon, players pay attention to “drop patterns” (each character has a specific pattern that Counter Gems are dropped on the opponent, and knowing them might help the recipient clear them out faster).

Capcom has also expanded the gameplay modes, throwing some variety in the mix : In addition to the X Mode (as well as an X’ Mode, which the publisher claims has the characters rebalanced from X Mode for better competitive action), there are also Y and Z Modes:

Y Mode involves the same concept of pairs of pieces dropping one at a time, but here Crash Gems are removed and pieces are eliminated from the board when three or more of the same color are lined up in a row, vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

• Z Mode is a wildly intricate variation, with a continuous collection of pieces moving up from the bottom, which threatens to fill the playfield. Each player controls a square-shaped cursor that highlights four pieces, which can then be rotated to make breaks (using the Crash Gems that are also in the playfield), Power Gems and combos.

If this is all confusing to you, it’s much easier played than explained, but Capcom also includes a Tutorial Mode where you can try each gameplay mode out without risk.

As for player configurations, one player can take on an AI opponent, engage in matches against up to four players on the same system or go on Xbox Live for ranked or unranked competition against up to four players.

REVIEW : TALES OF SYMPHONIA – DAWN OF THE NEW WORLD

Back in the days of the Gamecube, there were so few RPGs to sink your teeth into. Tales of Symphonia took first prize for not only the best RPG on the Gamecube, but one of the deepest and most excellent installments in Namco Bandai’s Tales series to date. Even today, it holds up against its competition with some of the finest co-op RPG gameplay, compelling story and laugh-out-loud humorous moments.

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Tales of Symphonia : Dawn of the New Word is a direct sequel to the original Gamecube installment (to the point where you can load up a finished save from your old Gamecube Memory Card for a nice little in-game bonus) that centers around new protagonist Emil. In the very beginning of the story, Lloyd Irving has seemingly turned to the dark side, murdering Emil’s parents before his eyes. Longtime fans of the original Symphonia will see a lot of familiar faces in this sequel, but you might not always greet them with a smile. There are a lot of plot points that deal directly with Emil’s relationship and driving quest to avenge his parents that allow many old familiar faces to show up. It’s great when they do, because playing as Emil and his rag-tag group of adventurers this time around doesn’t really have the same charm that playing as Lloyd and his rag-tag group of adventurers did last time.

Part of the problem with this sequel is that the main character isn’t likable. Emil is kind of a wuss, and although he does eventually evolve into a confident hero, he definitely grinds on your nerves for the first few hours of the game to the point where less patient players will want to put it down for about a week before having to deal with Emil’s whining self-deprecation again. This is possibly the greatest determent to the game’s even fans eagerly anticipating this direct sequel will feel a sense of frustration that instead of playing Lloyd, they’re playing a whiny, confidence-lacking child with the courage of an undercooked string bean.

One of the new mechanics that Namco Bandai has added is a Pokemon-like monster capturing mechanic. It allows the player to capture monsters to join their party and your new pets level up as though they were a regular character. A nice little mechanic, but it doesn’t really add much to the strategy of the game. Truth be told, the studio hasn’t really rewritten this Tale’s gameplay is almost exactly the same as the original Symphonia from battle to questing to roaming the map. If you enjoy the Tales series for its gameplay, this will probably appeal to you. As a big fan of Tales of Symphona from the day of release, this game was actually a bit of a disappointment for the first few hours before it kicked into high gear, mostly due to the annoying personality of the protagonist. However, much like its Gamecube predecessor, Dawn of the New World is one of the few RPGs on the Wii. As a result, if you’re an RPG fan and Nintendo loyalist, it’s really worth sticking with the game until the story picks up. Much like the original Symphonia, there are plenty of sidequests to keep completion-ists busy, while casual gamers will appreciate the drop-in co-op gameplay during combat.

Does this game break the mold ? No. Most of these ideas have been seen before in Tales games, but at the same time, this formula is tried and true. If you’ve got a Wii and have been longing for a deep involved RPG, check out Dawn of the New World. You’ll definitely get a lot more out of it if you played Tales of Symphonia, but it’s also an enjoyable experience for new players and veterans alike.

HOME ARCADE ACTION !

HOME ARCADE ACTION! From Pac-Man and Paperboy to Root Beer Tapper and Robotron, classic arcade games are making a huge comeback on consoles from the Wii to the Xbox 360. If you’re a true fan of those old school “bleeps” and “blips,” though, you may want to forgo the downloads in favor of a tabletop arcade. Here’s the lowdown on bringing the arcade home.

1. Most of these gaming cabinets come loaded with multiple classic quarter-munchers. The Cool Hunter’s Arcade Table ($2,800), for example, packs in nearly 50 favorites including Galaga, Space Invaders and Pac-Man, while the Donkey Kong Cocktail Table ($2,995) includes the damsel-saving classic as well as Donkey Kong Junior .

2. From the sound of Mario’s barrel-crushing mallet to the unmistakable look of DK’s chest-pounding animation, Donkey Kong, as well as all these arcade staples, offers an authentic audio and visual presentation. The only thing missing from the ’80s arcade experience is the cigarette smoke and smell of pizza.

3. Most of these collectible tables will run you more than a PS3, 360 and Wii combined. However, some come fully equipped with working coin slots, allowing you to tax your friends for the fun. Better yet, open it up to the local neighborhood brats and net yourself a small fortune—Chuck E. Cheese’s been doing it for years.

4. Joysticks and buttons are just like you remember—minus any mystery stickiness. And with two control panels, you can go head-to-head with friends and family. You don’t even need to worry about switching seats or craning your neck to get your game on—the screen flips to each player’s perspective between turns.

5. Beyond providing addictive gaming and the appealing nostalgia factor, these units double as classy, durable pieces of furniture. Additionally, decorative color schemes or classic arcade decals allow you to customize to your personal preferences. Now, the next time your wife or girlfriend suggests some furniture shopping, you’ll be prepared.

Gran Turismo review 2

Game Play 10/10

gran2

This game is for one or two players. It has two modes Arcade and Simulation. Arcade is pretty much like any other racing game you may have experience, you pick one of the available cars and you and a friend go head to head to see who is better. Or you can go against the and try to unlock the bonus tracks. Then you have simulation, the mode that made this game as popular as it was. The simulation mode is where you had to try and pass 3 different driving test B, A, and International A. Each one had 7 smaller pre test and 1 Final Exam. This test considered by most were extremely difficult and this is probably the worst thing on the game. Game play : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrJe2XokCBk

They made this part too realistic and unless you were Michael Andretti you were not getting through this part. You raced for Credits; credits were like money. You used the credits to buy bigger faster and better cars from all the top dealers. Like Nissan, Dodge, Mazda, and others. You could also buy used cars in the start of the game. These were enough to get you through the B-Class races. You could tune any car in the game keep that in mind. I would say it was worthless to tune cars that were considered C cars, because they usually didn’t run correctly. The games difficulty on Arcade was adjustable. On simulation it was difficult. There is a save feature using 7 blocks of memory.

Overall 10 out of 10

This is still a fabulous game. I had more fun and put more hours into this than any other racing game. Even though the Gran Turismo 2 is a bit better than this you still could of have fun. This game is suitable for single players and if

you friend over. The fun of this game will not wear thin after you buy it and play it for a week. You could always hop back into this one and play it over and over. The replay value is pretty high, considering the facts that I think

that this game ahs no ending. The fun factor is very high too, and this is a great party game. If you don’t have much money and your looking for a good challenge and something that will keep you busy look no further than Gran Turismo.

Gran Turismo review

gran

Gran Turismo despite the fact that it has a sequel is still probably one of the greatest console racing games of all time. I truly think so with over a one hundred cars you can customize your self, this game surpasses expectations of what the Playstation could do when it got released. My first impression of this was Wow ! This game is so realistic. Not only were the graphics beyond superb and the quality was high this game presented a lot of challenge, so those who think racing games are usually a bore they will not get bored with this one any time soon.

The music however during certain stages could have used some work, but that’s only on a couple of songs for the most part though this music was great. The only real problem with this game that I find is the difficulty. The simulation mode and License Test are unforgiving you will play hours and hours trying to pass one exam and never make it. You have to be a perfect driver to do so. Other than that this game is excellent and one I would definitely adds to my collection.

Graphics 10/10

Do graphics get any better than this ? Some would say yes but at the time there wasn’t. Every car looked exactly like its real life counterpart and it moved just like it. The opening FMV of the replay of the cars looks excellent, and every thing looks just as good as that in the game. The car reactions and the way it moves if you seen the real life cars they look and respond just like it here. The backgrounds in the game were gorgeous some of the stages like Trial Mountain , and Clubman Stage Five looked very good. The mountains were big and luminous and a tiny detail in the background added to the feeling you were really driving like trees over hanging above you, and branches in the road. You also had realistic looking racing tracks to drive on, complete with bleachers and seats for the fans to look on. The crashes in the game weren’t realistic like you didn’t see big spinouts, and cars being set on fire. For the most pat you would just see it spin out of control and fly in the air, never flipping or anything. This is the only graphical aspect that could have been improved in my opinion. For the most part though the graphics were outstanding.

Sound 9. 9/10

Some of the game music just didn’t sound right. It’s really on my personal opinion because the music was not to my own personal taste. The music was loud and came off crystal clear from your TV speakers. There weren’t any voices in this game what so ever I think that is because they put so much into making the cars and making them sound and look realistic. The crash all for the most part had a different engine rev each time you picked a different one by a different maker.

Or if you tuned the engine and turbo up it would sound real powerful. Even the tire screeches as you wee coming out of turns and bends sounding pretty realistic and there is nothing like the tires hitting asphalt and dusting your opponents. This is a game I would definitely leave the sound track off to considering the fact that it is so much better without it and it makes it seem more realistic and racing like. In reality the sounds did a lot to make this a more realistic racing game and it gave you a more overall racing experience.

chronicle of Tekken 3

Tekken 3 is the third version of Tekken and it’s much more improved! With lots of modes to play with and lots of secret characters to obtain, this game will surely be totally fun !

tekken

Graphics – 9

The graphics has changed to a totally cool style and it’s nice! The graphics are detailed and are high-resolution too! Despite all the good things, I prefer it to be in totally 3D though…

Musics – 9

The musics are pleasant to listen and somehow, it seems to ‘take over’ the previous version background musics.

Gameplay – 9

Totally neat ! There are lots of modes you can play and completing the normal battle a few times can make you access some of the modes! Also, one of these battle modes has the

‘key’ to the secret character! With more characters to play with, this game will be really fun ! Each character has their own special moves and attacks and allows you to play on your

own free time! Beware though, each time you win a character, the game will go tougher and tougher.

Replayability – 8

What with more modes and characters to play, this game will add lots of ‘replayability value’ for you.

Overall – 9 out of 10

Definitely one of the best fighting games. This game must not be missed !