Friday, August 13, 2010

ABC Monday NIght Football

ABC Monday Night Football
Data East/Season Ticket
Genre: Sports

I'm a pretty big fan of the Madden series. I think the last one I owned was Madden '08 for Gamecube, but nonetheless football games definitely tend to be my idea of fun, which was why I was excited to play this game for the first time, sadly the excitement was relatively short-lived.

Will you kindry notice the lack of real world teams, it looks like it's the New England Multicolored Brassieres VS the Detroit Flowers in this match. Real-world teams wouldn't make that big of a difference to me if the game was called "Super Action Football" or something, but if you call a game ABC Monday Night Football, then I'd rightfully expect to be able to play Patriots VS Lions if I choose. On the other hand, the Dallas team, rather than being the Cowboys were the Dallas 'Dollar Signs' which is pretty damn funny actually.

Yes I know, this picture could be the play selection screen from any 90s football game. One thing that bothered me was that these were the only eight plays that you could choose from, maybe I'm a bit spoiled from playing newer football games, but 8 plays just really didn't seem to cut it.

The game uses a rather confusing mode 7 system of showing the playing field. Notice that opposing players who are over 50 yards away look almost as large as the player. Due to this, the players tend to move around at astonishingly slow rates. It seriously is like something out of an Intellivision game (and I mean that in a bad way) the little legs are flying but the player seems to be running at about 2mph. These horrible controls are probably my biggest complaint about the game. It also seems to heavily use rubber band AI, even if you catch the ball 30 yards from the nearest opponent, you can soon see them barreling towards you literally at least 5 times a quickly as you're running.

After important plays, small videos show up of your fans, usually they're very upset.

But occasionally they will actually be happy. Graphically, as you can see, this game isn't the most beautiful thing in the world. I think it tries too hard to go for realism, which just isn't plausible on the SNES hardware. Probably the game speed would have been much better if they had gone with simpler/more clear sprites and nixed the unnecessary Mode 7 for the field. The game's audio suffered from similar problems, I was initially excited as the Monday Night Football theme played, but after that the game audio mostly consisted of garbled announcer's voices and that annoying bird sound (another similarity to Intellivision, perhaps Data East took a game from 1982, threw in some Mode 7 and some sprites that the SNES really couldn't handle and this was what they got) I really wanted to enjoy this game, and in some strange way I did like it (probably nostalgia for "Football" for Intellivision) but for the most part, the game mechanics were so slow and jumpy and that a large part of the fun was sucked out of this game.


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Games Blogs

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Realtime Associats/Viacom New Media
Genre: Action

Alright, this entry is probably going to be pretty short, that's how it goes when you play relatively mediocre licensed platform games. I've never played this game before despite being a big fan of the show it was based on back in the '90s. The characters, like on the show are the three young monsters Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina. In this game you take them on a mission to retrieve items for the Gromble at their monster academy.

As you can see, rather than choosing a character to play as beforehand, all characters are available at once, and you can switch between them with the L and R buttons. This is probably one of the more interesting aspects of this game, but it is not handled as well as it could be. The characters have slight differences in ability, but the differences are small enough that they tend to be more annoying and lead towards trial and error rather than being able to use your gaming savvy to instinctually know which monster to control in which situation. The graphics appear crisp and true to the original cartoon which is all that you can ask for in this sort of game. The audio was adequate. While the music wasn't overly catchy, it wasn't overly annoying either, it made for decent background noise while playing. My one qualm with the audio was the lack of audio clips of the monster's voices and well known sound effects from the show, it seems that in a licensed game this would be an important aspect. Overall the game couldn't keep my interest for more than ten minutes, and although it wasn't bad, it really wasn't good either.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

A.S.P Air Strike Patrol

A.S.P Air Strike Patrol
SETA/System 3
Genre: Isometric Shoot 'em up

Ahh Air Strike Patrol, I've never played you before but who knew you'd be the first Every SNES Game that I've reviewed that I actually truly enjoyed playing. I started this game up and was almost immediately confused, the one thing about this game that I must complain about is it's confusing menu system. For things like choosing what map to fly on, what aircraft to use, and getting target intel you have to use the menu system which is designed to look like using a battlefield console, but not very intuitive.

As the general point of the game is to pilot an aircraft in a fictional war (obviously based on Operation Desert Storm) the aircraft are accurate to the era; the A-10 and F-15E for ground attack, and the F-15E for aerial combat. When playing this game, one will obviously draw comparisons to the more popular Desert Strike which has a very similar gameplay mechanic except with helicopters instead of jets. Here is one of the five main maps in Air Strike Patrol:

The maps are relatively small and easy to navigate and you can find your location on the map during a mission simply by pausing the game. One of the frustrating parts of this game, that isn't shown on that map, is friendly units. The friendly units tend to get mixed in with enemies and cost large amounts of points if they are destroyed. On the first mission, I managed to completely decimate the enemy very quickly, but I accidentally destroyed one friendly tank and still ended up with negative points overall.

As you can see, around enemy installations, things can get very hectic very quickly with multiple enemy air and ground units firing on you, but the good news is that your aircraft tend to be very resilient and can take quite a beating without being shot down, not unlike the real A-10.

Like I previously mentioned this was the first game I've reviewed for this blog that really pulled me in and was highly enjoyable to play. The audio in this game was slightly better than average, the music was pleasant in the background, but not particularly memorable. The sound effects were outstanding however, with the sounds of explosions all around really pulling you into the game. The only things I would have to take points off for are the hard to maneuver menu system, and unoriginality (let's face it, this game basically is Desert Strike, except it came out 3 years later)


The 7th Saga

The 7th Saga
Genre: RPG

I have a funny story. When I was a kid, maybe a year or 2 after the SNES was first release, my dad had a friend at work who was a huge Nintendo fan and had almost every game available. Sometimes my dad would bring home games that his coworker had lent him for me to play for a while, one of them was a RPG, I can't really remember much about this RPG, but I loved playing it and I feel like I would know it if I saw it, so I was excited by The 7th Saga because it very well might have been my long lost SNES RPG. Although, having played it for a bit, I definitely don't think this game is it.

The game begins with out choosing a character and going out into this town. The king comes to talk to you and says he needs your help finding some magic runes or something. I don't know, I could never really get into fantasy RPG plots, they're always the same basic thing: Hero needs to find magic widget, hero meets part, hero does Lord of the Rings'esque walking around, hero fights big boss, the end.

This is the overworld screen. Probably the coolest feature of this game is that rather than having random battles in the overworld screen like RPGs usually do, In this game you have that nice radar to your upper right which shows the position of battles relative to your character. you generally still can't avoid them though as the enemies move much faster than your character and seem to swarm towards him. A nice visual touch is that when a battle begins, there is a cool mode 7 animation of the move from overhead to 3rd person perspective with the overworld map, so that wherever you are on the overworld map will appear as the background in battles as seen below.

The battles are standard RPG turn based battles, nothing really to write about them.

One of the most defining characteristics of this game is it's difficulty. I'm not a huge RPG guy but I've certainly played plenty of them and usually can get by just fine in them, but in this game I honestly had difficulty right off the bat as even two to three battles with early enemies will completely drain your health. The 7th Saga's Wikipedia article states that difficulty only increases later in the game (Including one frustrating part of the game where it can easily be rendered unplayable due to it's impossible difficulty). I know it's tough to give a fair critique of this sort of game having played it for only a short period of time, but hey, the purpose of this whole blog is just to give a short review, if you want in depth stuff you can get it at IGN or something.

The game's audio is definitely a high point for me. The song that plays in the first town is especially catchy. Overall I found the difficulty level to be too high too early on to really get pulled into this otherwise relatively innovative RPG