The stadiums and crowd look great, and the weather conditions are convincing, even though it rains all the time! The controls include a shoot, pass, lob, and turbo button. Holding a button down lets you head the ball, and double tapping lets you perform a bicycle kick. On defense there are conservative and aggressive "tackles". FIFA is easy to play, but the multiplayer mode can be confusing because of the constant player switching.
As in real soccer, there's not much scoring. The two British commentators add realism and stay on top of the action. They're occasionally hilarious, so be sure to crank up the commentator volume and turn down the crowd (why does EA always set the crowd noise so high?) The game doesn't have any major flaws. You can be just about any professional team in the world, and the game is fully customizable. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
The player graphics are stellar, and their reactions look great even from a distance. Slow motion, cinematic cutaways add drama, but they also reveal some downright scary-looking player faces. The stadiums and grass look incredibly realistic, and 3D cameramen follow the action up and down the sidelines. Background chants from the crowd add atmosphere, and the play-by-play is solid (although the color commentary doesn't add much).
Although FIFA 2001 is loaded with options and playing modes, one element is conspicuous in its absence: The World Cup! You can QUALIFY for it, but not compete in it. Isn't that like having a football game without a Super Bowl? Interestingly enough, Electronic Arts has announced a NEW soccer game to be released soon called World Cup Soccer. Hmmm... very suspicious. Besides that bit of controversy, FIFA 2002 is a fine soccer game that even non-fans will enjoy. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
You assume the roles of Peter the overweight dad, Brian the sarcastic dog, and Stewie, a well-spoken and very intellectual infant. The game's charm lies in its short but sweet stages. You'll get to punch old ladies, sneak around men's showers, and blast hospital orderlies with your ray gun. The shooting action is well done, and using mind control to solve puzzles is a neat idea.
In one stage you manipulate a pervert in order to distract a group of nurses ("Could you examine this lump for me?") But the best part is hopping on women's stomachs in the pregnancy ward, causing their babies (and later missiles) to come flying out. Family Guy definitely pushes the limits, but it never seems gross or mean-spirited.
The worst aspect of the game would have to be its tedious stealth stages, including one where you sneak the dog around a police station. There's quite a bit of platform jumping as well, and the jumping controls could be better. Unlike the PSP version, I sometimes needed to use the right stick to adjust my view, which can be annoying. I noticed a few minor glitches as well, such as getting stuck in the scenery on occasion. Still, Family Guy is entertaining most of the time, and I like how it mixes up the gameplay styles. If you're a fan of the show, bump up the grade by one letter. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
A thorough tutorial explains the types of flares, items, and various techniques you can employ, but once I started playing I found the action to be mindless and repetitive. I suppose it's mildly satisfying to set off an exceptionally long chain, but there's really no goal in Fantavision and the game seems to drag on and on as you rack up outrageous scores.
The firework effects are less than spectacular, and the attractive city backgrounds are barely noticeable once the action gets underway. Fantavision may appeal to some young kids, but there's just not enough game here for me. I don't care for that name either. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
At first I didn't like this game. The initial load process forces you to sit through about a dozen credit/logo/loading screens. Then I tried to race and couldn't even get off the starting line. I was attempting to use the right trigger to accelerate but the game insisted I use X or the right thumbstick.
The buttons are touch-sensitive, so if you mash too hard your muffler will backfire. I did eventually figure out how to map the shoulder buttons to accelerate and brake but it required a lot of option screen finagling.
The core of the game is a career mode where you drive down the highway looking for challengers. Exits off the main drag give you access to dealerships, repair shops, and alternate racing areas like a bridge or a winding mountain road.
When approaching a car highlighted with a green arrow you can flash your beams to initiate a race. The one-on-one street racing action is pretty intense, although I did notice some minor slow-down. The steering feels good and the game is forgiving when you brush against other cars or bang a guardrail. But where the heck is my rear-view mirror?!
Hazy visuals make it hard to see far ahead and anticipate upcoming turns. It's so bad I once accidentally took an exit ramp during a race! It doesn't help that the road surface is so glittery. It's especially pronounced in the two-player split-screen, which Brad likened to "racing in a sandstorm". The graphics in Tokyo Xtreme Racer (Dreamcast, 1999) are significantly cleaner by comparison, albeit less detailed.
The Fast and the Furious makes excellent use of force feedback, which really puts you in the driver's seat. When your car shifts gears you feel a heavy vibration. You also experience feedback when engaging NOS, although the effect is less mind-blowing than in the movies.
The sparkling skylines look amazing and the alternative rock tunes seem appropriate. The manual is very thorough, detailing no less than seven different types of drift techniques you can employ. The Fast and the Furious can be somewhat addictive once you get a feel for it. Its excessive load screens drag down the fun, but my friends assure me it just makes the game more beer-friendly. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
You control an Asian lady searching for her brother in an old, decrepit Japanese mansion. The rooms are pitch black, strewn with antiques and odd contraptions in various stages of decay. Like any good horror movie Fatal Frame employs odd camera angles, minimal lighting, and jarring sound effects to maximize the paranoia level.
The transparent apparitions are truly frightening to behold. Your only defense is a special camera that lets you neutralize the ghouls by snapping pictures of them. Looking through the viewfinder gives you a grainy, first-person perspective of things, giving the game a "Blair Witch Project" vibe. Did I mention this game claims to be "based on a true story"?!
"Shooting" a ghost is a pretty intense exercise as they slowly approach while you frantically snap away. Your camera can also be used to reveal clues not visible to the naked eye. Fatal Frame's storyline is conveyed by audio tapes you find lying around the mansion. Listening to these tapes is far more interesting than reading the text of other survival horror games. Beyond its incredible scare factor, Fatal Frame follows a fairly standard formula of collecting items and solving puzzles.
The controls take some getting used to, thanks to stiff movements and constantly changing camera angles. Being disoriented is stressful when a ghost is bearing down on you. There could be more save points too. Once after an hour of play I found myself frantically searching for a save spot. Now that's scary! Fatal Frame is an ideal Halloween game. Its innovative camera attack and unsettling visuals make for an unforgettable gaming experience. © Copyright 2002 The Video Game Critic.
Fatal Frame III employs various cinematic techniques to good effect. Dream sequences are presented like aged footage with odd camera angles and fleeting glimpses of disturbing sights. Unfortunately this dramatic camera has a tendency to throw off your sense of direction, causing you to inadvertently lurch back and forth. That's not ideal when some twisted, malevolent spirit is bearing down on you. To fend off ghosts you snap pictures of them, and the longer you keep them in your viewfinder the more damage you inflict. This presents a terrifying risk/reward dynamic as you frantically search around for them.
The puzzles have a Resident Evil flavor with keyholes of various shapes and slide-the-block contraptions. The scenery is rendered in muted tones and the wooden walls have an aged, grimy look. Controller vibration is used to indicate supernatural presence and it will put you on edge. You save your progress at blue lamps. The game slowly fleshes out a mystery as you alternate between days at your house and nights at the haunted manor.
The problem with Fatal Frame III is that you trek through the same rooms over and over. As new sections open up the expansive mansion becomes overwhelming. It's difficult to make progress when so many doors are sealed by "some strong power". Fatal Frame III: The Tormented is a creepy adventure that lives up its name. Unfortunately, that tormented soul is you! © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.
All four games offer the same brand of 2D fighting action, but each sequel delivers a progressively richer, more cinematic experience. Not only does the number of fighters increase, but the number of moves expands as well, allowing matches to become more unpredictable and chaotic. One unique aspect of Fatal Fury is the ability to fight on two planes - the foreground and background. Moving between planes is tricky (and confusing at times), but it does provide opportunities to lay a quick hit on your opponent. All four games are playable, but you may be surprised by how slow they are compared to modern fighters.
The first Fatal Fury offers a paltry three playable characters, but the sequel expanded the roster to eight characters, including Asian hottie Mai Shiranui. Fatal Fury Special offers 15 fighters, with Mai still as the lone female. Fatal Fury 3 features some of the best artwork in the series. Although limited to ten playable characters, it does incorporate the obligatory breast bounce.
Fatal Fury's imaginative layered backgrounds are rendered in brilliant colors and a meticulous attention to detail. The locations include an amusement park, aquarium, subway depot, and a crowded beach. The time of day changes with each round, dramatically transforming the scene in the process. Equally impressive is the music, some of which incorporates voice samples. While not as catchy as those in Street Fighter 2, these tunes are still interesting and diverse. The digitized sound effects are crisp, and the stereo effects are downright striking.
Astute players will notice subtle details like how your character's face (next to the health bar) cringes when taking a hit. I love how enemies will shout "No! no! no!" as you repeatedly kick them in the crotch. In Fatal Fury 3, defeated fighters are thrown toward the screen using some effective scaling techniques. I also love how the game "map" is strewn with the bodies of fighters you're defeated. If you care at all about 2D fighters, Fatal Fury Battle is an absolute treasure trove. I would have preferred a few extras, but these games alone are worth the price of admission. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
Unfortunately, when playing solo you always begin on the same stage, and must defeat no less than three fighters in a row to advance! It can be really frustrating when you have to contend with cheap opponents like Sokaku (who constantly bursts into flames) and that annoying little guy named Jin. Reaching stage two requires far too much effort! The power meters on the bottom of the screen are gaudy as hell, displaying stuff like "GO! S. POWER!" in big, flashing, red-and-yellow letters. It looks hideous, reminding me of those "Everything must go!" signs you see in stores going out of business. One thing that's totally hilarious is the demoralized "game over" voice - check it out for a good laugh.
The second title on the disk, Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, addresses several issues of the first game, offering short, one-on-one contests that begin on random stages. Unfortunately, the backgrounds are far less detailed and there are no ring-outs. The third game, RB2: The Newcomers, is as uninspired as its name, offering familiar backgrounds and a mere two new characters (Li Xiang Fei and Rick Strowd). Fatal Fury Battle Archives Volume 2 is interesting to collectors but unnecessary for casual gamers. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
In the 3D stages, you typically swim through rings while moving toward or away from the screen. Man, I really got sick of those after a while. This game has a way of taking a cool concept, like outrunning a Great White Shark, and absolutely beating it to death. I have never been so happy to see puzzles, which occasionally break up the monotony. My favorite stage of all involves finding a series of fish hiding in an aquarium.
Finding Nemo's colorful graphics are gorgeous as you'd expect, rivaling the clips shown from the film (and there are many). The fish swim in a fluid manner and the backgrounds are scenic yet unobtrusive. This is certainly one of the better-looking games I've played on my PS2. The controls are perfectly good, and a superb orchestrated soundtrack ranges from tranquil to intense.
Stages are reasonable in length, with frequent checkpoints. The difficulty is easy, although collecting all of the bonus items can be a challenge. There are no glaring flaws with Finding Nemo, but I found myself growing weary of it about halfway through. Younger kids and Nemo fans can safely bump up the grade by one letter, but those looking for some excitement should look elsewhere. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Fire Pro definitely has some potential, but only the most diligent gamers will overcome its learning curve. With controls spread over seven pages of the manual, this game is anything but pick-up-and-play. The instructions do a lousy job of explaining the basic mechanics, and don't even mention how to pin your foe for the win! It's not always easy to "line up" with your opponent, so you'll find yourself executing flying kicks at thin air. When grappling, the player who gets the upper hand seems very random, and this encourages button-mashing.
I tried to get the hang of the game, but never felt fully in control. Another big issue is the incomprehensible user interface which makes setting up a tournament an utter nightmare. You get about a million different wrestlers to choose from, but they all have the same pudgy builds. When playing my friend Scott he commented "Man, this has so much potential - if we could only get it to work!" Dedicated wrestling fans can bump up the grade by a letter, but few others will make much sense of this. © Copyright 2009 The Video Game Critic.
The victim locations are always displayed on your radar, and occasionally you'll need to break through walls or climb through vents to reach them. Your handy axe makes it easy to smash obstacles in your way. Who left all of these crates lying around anyway? When a trapped victim says "thanks for saving me", it feels a lot like House of the Dead 2 (Dreamcast, 1999)! Firefighter F.D.'s gameplay is forgiving, and you can even run directly through small fires and "shake off" the flames afterwards. Moving from room to room sounds a bit repetitive, but there are constant explosions, electrical shots, falling debris, oil slicks, and even robots to keep things interesting (or frustrating, as is sometimes the case).
Arcade elements include health packs and "boss" fires - complete with their own meters! These "monster" fires appear to have a life of their own, and you can even hear a weird "scream" when they're defeated. One thing the game has working against it are the bland, repetitive environments. The maze-like office buildings are uninteresting, and crawling through vents is a chore.
One thing F.D. 18 has working for it us its intriguing, cinematic style. Its storyline involves a blonde reporter and a psychotic arsonist, and its movie-quality musical score is outstanding. Dramatic and intense, with an ominous undercurrent, the soundtrack lends real weight to the subject. Fighterfighter F.D. 18 may not set the world on fire, but its nice pacing and excellent production values make this one worthwhile if you have any interest in the subject. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
For one thing, the control scheme isn't very comfortable. To hit the three notes, the game recommends you use the shoulder buttons, but that's pretty counterintuitive when you think about it. You also have the option of using the square/triangle/circle buttons, which make far more sense, but these will cause your fingers to cramp up big time. Although it's sonically appealing to hear different parts of the song kick in, once you get one thing going like drums or bass, it seems like another sound goes away, so you can never play the song fully. The screen is probably more complicated than it needs to be with various gauges, numbers, and power-ups.
The graphics are functional, but the tunnels all look the same. Of course, a major factor in any music game is the song selection, and Frequency has its moments. Although featured artists like No Doubt and Fear Factory provide some worthy tracks, the best stuff comes from low-profile artists like Akrobatik, the Dub Pistols, and Lo Fidelity All-Stars. In the end, Frequency was definitely on the right track, but didn't quite hit the mark. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
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Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com, Gaming Age Online, GameSpot, Moby Games, YouTube, Video Games Museum