Category - Game Impressions

Reviews, Impressions, or just general thoughts about any Games, new or old.

Shamoozal’s Game Club #5 – Cybernator

Cybernator

On this episode of Shamoozal’s Game Club we’re talking about Cybernator, a side-scroller from Konami for the Super Nintendo. We break it down in the way that we are now known to do. We also play three songs from the Cybernator original soundtrack: “We’ve gotta do it”, “Asteroid Run” and “Till the Crack of Doom”. There are going to be some changes to the show in the near future, but I will let Phil elaborate for you.

Next time we’re going to be playing Shatterhand or Shadow of the Ninja. Vote for your choice at the bottom of this post!

If you’re already subscribed to our Podcast feed then all you need to do is wait for the episode to show up in your Podcast aggregator. Or, you can go a head and listen to it right here (there might be a delay before the Podtrac player refreshes):

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Next Time on SGC – Cthulhu Saves the World

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Next time we’re going to be playing Cthulhu Saves the World from Zeboyd Games You can buy it as part of a 2-Pack for $2.99 on Steam, or you can get a 4-pack to share with your friends on Gamersgate. Its also available through the XBL Indie store for 240 msp. Grab the game, play it and send us your comments so we can read them during the next episode! We’re recording #4 on August 9th, so theres plenty of time to play along and get your feedback in! In the meantime, check out Game Club #3:

Shamoozal’s Game Club #3 – A Game About My Cat

A Game About My Cat

On our most challenging episode yet, we welcome Randy from Elder-Geek to the show as our new ‘3rd Chair’. This time the Game Club played ‘A Game About My Cat‘ an Xbox Live Indie title developed by thelostone. We hope you enjoy our dissection of the game, we tried to be fair and balanced. Clocking in at 52 minutes, Shamoozal Game Club has now become the most comprehensive source of information on ‘A Game About My Cat’…. hands down. You can follow thelostone on twitter to get more information about his upcoming game ‘Phase Runner‘.

Next time we’re going to be playing one of two Indie titles from Zeboyd Games: Cthulhu Saves the World vs Breath of Death VII You can buy BOTH of these titles in a 2-Pack for $2.99 on Steam, or you can get a 4-pack to share with your friends on Gamersgate. They’re also available through the XBL Indie store for 240 msp each. Scroll down to vote!

If you’re already subscribed to our Podcast feed then all you need to do is wait for the episode to show up in your Podcast aggregator. Or, you can go a head and listen to it right here:

[polldaddy poll=”5278961″]

Shamoozal’s Game Club #2 – Streets of Rage 2

Shamoozal's Game Club - Streets of Rage 2

We present for your approval, the Shamoozal Game Club Episode 2. This time around we spent some time playing the Genesis classic “Streets of Rage 2″  and now we’re gonna talk about it… without apologies. You also get 3 classic tracks from the Streets of Rage 2 OST, there’s even some opinions from our outstanding community thrown in there for good measure.

Next time we’re going to be playing one of two Xbox Live Indie games:  A Game About My Cat or PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death. The poll runs until July 16th at 8:25 EST, so be sure to head into our forums and vote!

If you’re already subscribed to our Podcast feed then all you need to do is wait for the episode to show up in your Podcast aggregator. Or, you can go a head and listen to it right here:

EA Sports Active 2 and Exergaming in general

EA Sports Active 2

EA Sports Active 2

I really wanted to write a scathing post about how I bought EA Sports Active 2 and that while conceptually the game is leaps and bounds ahead of the original, it just doesn’t work half the time. The thing is, when I did my weekly weigh in on Wii Fit Plus, I was down 4 pounds, finally hitting my BMI goal for the first time in the three years I’ve owned Wii Fit and only 1 pound away from my personal goal of weighing 160 pounds.

It’s kind of hard to write about something being a not so hot product when you see results from it anyway. Sure, a seemingly endless amount of yard work over the weekend coupled with my daily routine of lifting up my two 20 pound human weights every five seconds (my twin girls) and healthier eating choices helped reach this goal, but Active 2 gave me JUST the right amount of push to trim off those final few pounds.

I really like the idea of Exergaming, the gaming and exercising mash up that was introduced in the 80s but never really capitalized on until Nintendo blew minds with Wii Fit. While I’ve mainly stuck with just Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus along with EA Active 1 and 2 (why bother with the others?) they still aren’t perfect as far as I’m concerned. EA Active 2 (which I’m playing on PS3 BTW) is pretty darn close to being perfect. On the first EA Active I was getting nothing out of using the tension band and decided to switch to weights. The trouble is that it’s impossible to do those exercises while holding a Wii remote AND weights, so what I’d do is the set of reps and then tell the game to skip the exercise and move onto the next one. I wasn’t getting any credit for my work with those exercises, but I knew I was doing them and at the time that’s what mattered.

EA Sport Active 2 goes completely hands free so I could finally use weights and get credit for my work. Well, in theory anyway. The fact is, the sensors that are included to attach to your body work like shit. They mostly get the job done, but I’d say I end up having to skip by 2 or 3 of the activities per session. It’s kind of bullshit when all you want the thing to do is work and keep track of those lost calories and give you credit for that work you’re doing. Nothing is worse than doing a painful squat and having to smack the sensor on your leg in order to jolt it to make the game think you’re doing the exercise. I’ve already been giving up and just went back to my ways of how I treated the first one on Wii, so if my exercises aren’t registering, I just roll on with the set and skip it. If I had paid the original 100 dollar asking price for this package, I would be completely furious. That said, I paid 25 for it new on Amazon a few weeks ago, so I can’t complain too much really.

Wii Fit on the other hand, which I did pay 90 dollars for upon release, doesn’t have all the cool features EA Active does, but I never had a time where I didn’t feel like it wasn’t working. Wii Fit always works. It always registers what you’re doing, and in a lot of cases shows you crazy accurate stats to allow you to see how in control of your body you are. Nintendo knows how to make the thing feel more like a game than just an interactive exercise DVD, which EA Active tends to feel like. I love how Wii Fit, especially Wii Fit Plus with its new Balance Board Games feels like something you can get good at. Sure, maybe the player can do a full set of reps for a particular exercise, but how well did that person do them? Wii Fit is great for making someone want to achieve more with their workout while Active is just fine with those sensors being jolted. It’s a bummer that Active 2 pretty much falls in line with that, but I didn’t expect it to. EA attempts to hide gaming like activities in the game by including stuff like mountain biking, but again, it’s not really something you get improve upon or get good at nor does it feel a thing like actual mountain biking.

There was a point in time, maybe close to two years ago, where I was mixing it up between the first EA Active or Wii Fit, and to cool down, Punch Out!! Wii. Punch Out got a lot of flack for being unplayable with the balance board, and I suppose if you went into it blind it would be. However when you know the fights well enough it’s actually quite fun and challenging and it’s a good way to keep your body going for a few more minutes while having some fun playing a game. What would be really cool is if there was a exergaming title that had the challenge of Punch Out!! Wii (I’m not saying a boxing game, but a full fledged game mode), the perfect control of Wii Fit, and the huge amount of depth and content offered in EA Active. Wii Fit Plus was pretty close, with its fun mini games (skateboarding was particularly awesome) but it still lacked the depth, flexibility of Active, and with EA Active 2 that depth is even further beyond what Plus offers. Including something like a 90 day work out program where all you need to do is attend on certain days is pretty cool, as opposed to Nintendo’s approach where you’re pretty much just dropped into a situation with no real guidance.

Punch Out Wii

I had told myself a few years ago I was out of the exergaming thing until there was a product worth looking at. I thought that product would be EA Active 2, and while it’s a solid improvement over the first, it’s still not exactly what I was hoping for. That said, the now cheap price point makes it worth looking into, but I’m glad I didn’t day one it like I had actually thought about doing. I doubt Nintendo will ever knock it out of the park like I’d like them too, so I get the feeling exergaming is pretty much where it will remain until the end of time. With stuff like the Zumba games taking off, it means my ideal exergaming title is even further out of reach. The fact of the matter is that this stuff is aimed mostly at middle aged women, and no offense to them, but they probably don’t mind the more Exercise DVD approach that these games offer. Considering that, there is no reason for publishers to think they need to push the actual game mechanics further than just having a sensor recognize a movement, and that’s the real bummer here.

So I’ll continue to play EA Active 2 for the foreseeable future, but I’m not sure when I’ll bite on the next exergaming title. There is still lots of work to be done with this genre, though I doubt anyone will ever truly push the genre past the point it could be.

New Podcast: Shamoozal’s Game Club

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Phil and I have been hinting around about a new game related podcast here at Shamoozal for a pretty long time. Doing the Born Again Casual podcast was always a lot of fun and I’ve regretted that we had to stop doing it. Our personal schedules over the past year and half have made it really difficult to coordinate something, but things have started to settle down for both of us. When we started talking about doing another game podcast we both agreed that it had to be an idea worth doing. BAC was a cool format, but it was kind of a pain in the ass to pull off every week with all the video capture, live streaming and keeping the topics fresh. We knew that if we were going to start a new podcast that it had to be something different.

One of the most important things about BAC to us was that it relied on involving the audience and that’s something we definitely want to continue. Another thing that has been missing from Shamoozal for a long time was our scheduled Game Nights and its our hope that this new podcast helps to rectify that on some level.

So without further ado, we’d like to announce our new Podcast Shamoozal’s Game Club. The podcast will essentially be like a book club for classic and retro games. A poll will be posted in our forums with 2-3 games. We’ll ask our audience to vote on the game they want to play for that cycle. After a couple days (TBD) we’ll close the poll and lock in the game.

Over the next week to week and a half, we (Me, Phil, you guys/gals) will play through the game and collect our thoughts. We’d love it if the audience would offer opinions via the forums or Twitter. Then on Tuesday nights (bi-weekly) we’ll record the podcast, discuss the game and include some comments from you all as well. The podcast will be edited and released by Thursday.

After the podcast is out we’ll post a new Poll and the cycle starts again.

Now while this will be a large portion of the podcast, we’ll also be sure to hit some Game News Headlines and offer some editorials on them. We’re also going to feature Game Music and Chip-tunes on the show, spotlighting new artists as well as music from the game we’re discussing on that episode. There has also been discussions about getting some guests on the show with us from time to time to take part in the fun.

So right now the plan is to record our first episode on Tuesday June 28th. We’re going to have a poll in the Podcast Forums for the first game. Right now it’s between Rayman and Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project. Head on over and cast your vote!

We’re going to stick to games that are available through various digital distribution methods and cost no more than $9.99. In most cases we’re going to try to stay even lower than that. Your participation is optional, but we’re really hoping to build a great ongoing community event out of this… something that has room to grow.

We’re excited about this, we hope you are too!

999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

999 Cover Art (US)

I’ve had an itch that hasn’t been scratched since the day I finished Hotel Dusk on the Nintendo DS. That game introduced me to a genre that I never knew existed and got me playing awesome series like Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton, but they didn’t quite fill the void. Compounded by the sad news that the sequel to Hotel Dusk “Last Window” will probably never come to the US, I had pretty much given up hope on getting an experience like that again. Then I came across “999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors” developed by Chunsoft and published by Aksys Games. After spending more than a few hours in the game I can safely say that this is exactly what I was looking for.

999 (as I will refer to it henceforth) is a Visual Novel that relies heavily on exploration, puzzle solving and conversational dialog to tell it’s story. The basic premise is this: You wake up locked in a strange room with no memory of how you got there. You are presented with the challenge of finding your way out by following a series of clues hidden throughout the room. Once you escape you find that you are part of something larger than you initially realized.

Many of the game’s puzzles are numeric in nature (given the title of the game that should come as no surprise) but there is still a good variety. You’ll often find yourself combining items you find to alter them and use them in unconventional ways.

The game’s art style is your standard anime fare with a wide range colorful characters that you’ll meet along the way. The music, composed by Shinji Hosoe, adds an additional layer of suspense and creepy ambiance. I just got my mitts on a copy of the OST and I’m jamming out to it while I write.

So, if you’re a fan of Hotel Dusk and you’ve been waiting for a game with a similar narrative and experience, look no further. Pick up a copy 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors today and dust off your thinking cap. You’re gonna need it.

Update 1/24: I’ve now completed 3 of the 6 endings for the game. I won’t reveal anything about them other than to say it’s amazing how your choices change the outcome each time. My first play-through took me roughly 6-8 hours. Each one since then has gone faster because you can skip through any cutscenes you’ve already watched. I’m working on getting the ‘real’ ending tonight.

A quick look at Photo Dojo for DSi

Decided to make a quick little video about this game Photo Dojo for the DSi. I doubt I’ll play it anymore than I did tonight, but I thought it was worth a look because it’s a unique idea despite being a bit shallow overall. Worth the free download though!