Videogames, politics, science, all the important things in life.

Wallet Abuse Wednesday 11-24-10

Posted by nfinit on November 24, 2010

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Crazy Taxi
Developer: Hitmaker
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network

This is a strange era we’re in, where system sellers for the Dreamcast are sold almost as afterthoughts for pittances via Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It’s also a good era because let’s face it, ten bucks is about where Crazy Taxi should have been sold all along, and if Sega understood this simple fact maybe people wouldn’t have been so annoyed that the Saturn and Dreamcast libraries were filled with largely untouched ports of arcade games that could be mastered and tossed aside in an afternoon’s worth of play.

I’m kind of torn on this most recent revision of Crazy Taxi, however. For one, it’s not an emulated version of the Dreamcast game. Like virtually all halfassed Sega DC-to-XBLA ports, this stems from the PC version of the game, which was not coincidentally also the lowest rated of all Crazy Taxi home versions. Further, Crazy Taxi’s perfect encapsulation of the zeitgeist of the late 90’s is gone. The Offspring’s music is gone, as are any licensed shops and restaurants. Goodbye, Tower Records. Hello, Record Store. Goodbye Pizza Hut, hello Strangely Ominous Building With Extravagant Red Roof. Goodbye KFC, hello FCS, which we can only assume refers to Federated Chicken Services.

That said, it’s hard to fuck up Crazy Taxi. It’s an arcade classic, and has the sort of simplistic gameplay elements that make it easy to enjoy regardless of the pop-in or generic grunge metal. On the other hand, it’s hard to fuck up Crazy Taxi simply because there’s not a lot -to- fuck up. Without trying to justify the fifty dollars you’d have spent in 1999 to enjoy Crazy Taxi at home, you’ll burn through this even quicker. What I’m saying is, buy Pac Man CE DX instead.

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Donkey Kong Country Returns
Developer: Retro Studios
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Wii

Growing up as a Sega guy, there were a number of Nintendo stalwarts I was intensely jealous of. Eventually these games cause me do develop a grudging respect to the SNES until I finally relented and admitted my burning hatred for Nintendo should not override the fact that I was a guy with a passion for videogames and keeping myself from the very best games simply because they were on a system sold by a manufacturer I held umbrage with. Games such as Final Fantasy III, Chrono Trigger, Ninja Warriors, even, as much as I hate to admit it, the pastel delights of Yoshi’s Island.

Donkey Kong Country was not one of those games.

I didn’t get it. It was fucking Mario with bananas, and what’s worse it kick-started the entire rendered graphics fad that wouldn’t die until Killer Instinct II made everyone feel dirty and ashamed for abandoning traditional sprite-work. I still don’t get it. I don’t understand why Nintendo guys are so excited for this game, I don’t get why this is any more compelling than the three dozen 2d platformers that have appeared on the Wii following New Super Mario Brothers Wii.

Perhaps DKCR is symbolic of the weird mid-life crisis Nintendo has experienced over the past couple years. Not only is Nintendo desperate to remind hardcore gamers of it’s SNES library, it’s doing so by blatantly remaking old SNES games and duct-taping Wiimote integration on the side. It’s like they’re trying to create an idea that there’s a clear lineage between the SNES and waggle and saying “ wouldn’t all those SNES games you loved even been -more- wonderful if we’d simply sawed off the top half of the SNES controller and replaced those same functions by spasmodically shaking your controller instead?”

Oh, the game? It’s apparently fantastic, and sits at an 88% on Metacritic, with a bevy of 4-5 star reviews. It’s one of those games that Nintendo has deemed it appropriate to be difficult, and Retro doesn’t suck, so it’s a good game. I still don’t see where it does anything differently from the DKC games, but in all fairness I never played those games because the art was godawful.

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Micheal Jackson The Experience
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal (HD versions) Ubisoft Paris (Everything Else)
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS (somehow) PSP (why)

So can we get back to the point where we admit MJ was a pedophile again, or are we still in that zone where we have to respect him as an artist because he overdosed on propofol?

Because the dude was totally a fucking pedophile.

Anyway, this game. It’s one of those post-DDR dance games that’s probably going to take over the music game market now that Kotick left the guitar game genre a smoking crater. I saw this demo’ed at New York Comic Con last month and it looks insanely slick and everyone who got through to the stage looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely, so if dancing games are your thing, this is probably an amazing… erm. Experience.

It also totally allows you to dance in the Smooth Criminal video, and if my knees weren’t shot to hell I’d play this thing like a motherfucker, MJ’s penchant for pederasty be damned.

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Spelunker HD
Developer: Irem
Publisher: Irem
Platforms: PlayStation Network

For some reason in my mind I had connected Spelunker HD with Derek Yu’s Spelunky. Turns out this is just Irem’s remake of the NES Spelunker, only using PSN avatars for some reason.

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Also apparently Spelunky was announced for XBLA a year ago but nothing’s been heard of it since. What do we have to do to convince Microsoft or Sony to throw however much money it’d take to move Spelunky or Cave Story or La Mulana to an HD console?

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Developer: BottleRocket Studios
Publisher: Namco
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

At first I was pissed at Namco for taking Splatterhouse HD from BottleRocket Studios, stripping them of their development kits, and abandoning the remaining developers in the California desert to die of thirst, and then I saw this

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And realized maybe Namco was on to something.

This game is a hot mess, an ugly pile that simply regurgitates the worst elements of God of War. At least that’s what I’m going to assume, as the only material from this game comes from Giant Bomb’s Quicklook, which does the game no favors whatsoever.

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Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
Developer: Game Republic
Publisher: Namco
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

This is probably going to be one of those games I wind up loving more than is warranted given the actual quality of the game itself, but how can any gamer not fall in love with something that infuses the 3D Zeldas with Shadow of the Colossus? And for forty dollars! Even if it winds up sucking wind at least you’ve spent less money than you did on Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Buy this game!

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Gran Turismo 5
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Platforms: PlayStation 3

Yadda yadda, the delays, the fact that only half the cars present on the disc are actually fully implemented, the bit where there are literally over fifty Nissan Skylines in the roster.

Here’s the two things you need to know about Gran Turismo 5:

1: License tests are still there

2: Fuck you, Gran Turismo 5.

You know how I know I’m good enough to drive a car in Forza 3? I buy a car and proceed to win races with it. If I were incapable of winning races with that car I’D STOP USING THAT FUCKING CAR.

It’s twenty ten, Polyphony Digital! You can’t keep doing this shit! You can’t keep locking out vast swaths of content your users have paid for with arbitrary locks that have little to do with the actual act of participating in the game itself. I’ve been playing racing games since Pole Position 2, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the whole gas/break/steer thing down pat.


Do not confuse DIVINITY 2 for DIVINE DIVINITY 2 despite them both being the exact same game.

QUAKE LIVE ARENA for XBLA sure is…something.

The fact that I’m bringing up GOLDEN SUN: DARK DAWN fills me with immeasurable sadness in that this is not a Landstalker game.


One Response to “Wallet Abuse Wednesday 11-24-10”

  1. Thank you so much for this awesome article, This was exactly what I needed to read!

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