Publisher: Capcom (2006)
Rating: Teen (blood and gore, crude humor, fantasy violence, suggestive themes, use of alcohol and tobacco)
Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny
Publisher: Capcom (2002)
Rating: Mature (violence, blood and gore)
Publisher: Capcom (2001)
Rating: Mature (Blood and gore, violence)
Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast
Publisher: Sega (2006)
Digging Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast out of a bargain bin was the best thing I've ever done in my entire life
. Originally I thought this was just the PS2 version of Outrun 2
(Xbox, 2004), but I was a fool!
Yes, this disk does include Outrun 2, but it also
contains Outrun 2SP, which blows the doors
off its predecessor in both graphics and playability. Outrun 2SP offers a whole new slew of tracks, and wow - they are fantastic!
In the original Outrun arcade game (1986) you drove a red convertible through a branching course while trying to beat the clock. Outrun 2006 stays true to the formula, and the eye candy is off the hook
. You'll cruise the hills of San Francisco, the resorts of Palm Beach, the towering Niagara Falls, and majestic Mayan ruins. The sense of velocity is first-rate, and the steep, winding roads make the game feel like a virtual roller coaster ride. It's almost as fun to watch as it is to play! The responsive controls provide excellent handling and let you perform power-slides with ease. Outrun 2006 has a progressive scan option, and I highly recommend it. The visuals look much sharper than the Xbox version of Coast to Coast, with bold colors that leap off the screen. I prefer the classic "arcade mode", but the "coast to coast" mode does add replay value with its diverse set of challenges which include slamming into cars or avoiding UFOs. My biggest beef with Outrun 2006 is its lack of split-screen action - multiplayer is on-line only! Also, it's way
too hard to crack that high score screen, which is dominated by some guy named "Sega". Despite these oversights Coast to Coast is one truly spectacular game that manages to put the fun back into racing. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
Publisher: Bethesda (2006)
Rating: Teen (alcohol reference, violence)
Pirates: Legend of the Black Buccaneer
Publisher: Valcom Games (2006)
Rating: Teen (violence)
I gave this bargain bin adventure a fighting chance, but after while I just got fed up with it. Legend of Black Buccaneer places you on a monkey-infested tropical island in search of some legendary treasure. I tend to enjoy pirate-themed games, but Black Buccaneer's horribly dense stage designs are the stuff of a reviewer's nightmare. Not only is each area multi-level and mazelike, but the 2D map is worthless, and you're often forced to backtrack extensively. Attempts to move blocks or open doors trigger messages like "You are unable to move this at the moment" or "This seems protected by some mysterious force". Equally irritating is the manner in which enemies tend to constantly regenerate out of thin air. Black Buccaneer's graphics aren't bad, but they aren't great either. The lush jungle scenery looks inviting from a distance, but is claustrophobic and fake up close. Decent music and exotic sound effects make up the audio track. Buccaneer's gameplay involves a good deal of boss and monkey fighting, but it's primarily about platform jumping and puzzle solving of the hackneyed switch-pulling/block-pushing variety. The jumping controls are forgiving, but your pirate tends to hang onto every ledge, which is irritating when you just want him to drop down! I like the idea of using cannons to blast open doors, but this concept is overused in the game. The ability to transform in the hulk-like Black Buccaneer doesn't add much either. And just when you think you're starting to make progress in the game, you'll encounter an invincible monkey or fall through an unseen trapdoor onto a bed of spikes. Legend of Black Buccaneer doesn't make much sense, and its arbitrary rules and frustrating stages are enough to make you celebrate
a quick death! © Copyright 2007 The Video Game Critic.
Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2002)
Decked out in a tight black leather outfit, Black Kat is the Lara Croft of the high seas. With the exception of the ill-fated Shipwreckers
(Playstation, 1997), few video games have tackled the pirate theme. Legend of the Black Kat succeeds due to its emphasis on fast action over tedious problem solving. You won't find any block pushing or memory puzzles here, thank goodness. Instead, prepare yourself for exciting swordplay, island exploration, and impressive sea battles. Even treasure hunting is fun, as the controller actually vibrates when a buried chest is detected nearby. Most of the action takes place in the open sea or wide-open land areas, so the camera angle is rarely an issue. The sea battles look awesome, with massive explosions and flying chunks of burning wood. Unfortunately, when a ship is destroyed, it explodes instead of sinking, which is somewhat disappointment. The ship battles can also be played in the two-player mode, but these are less exciting. Legend's graphics are only fair, with rigid character models, flat landscapes, and water that looks artificial, especially up close. The audio, on the other hand, is quite rich, with creaking boat hulls, booming cannons, exotic nature sounds, and even traditional pirate music. If you're looking for an action-packed adventure with a pirate theme, you can't go wrong with Legend of Black Kat. © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Publisher: Ubisoft (2003)
Rating: Teen (blood, suggestive themes, violence)
Publisher: Irem (2004)
Publisher: UFO (2007)
Rapala Pro Fishing
Publisher: Activision (2004)
Rapala is pretty much what you'd expect from a bargain-priced fishing game. If you already enjoy fishing you'll think it's great, but otherwise you'll probably hate it. Initially the game annoyed me with its lack of a tutorial. There are a lot of controls and techniques to learn, and having to figure them out on your own is a hassle. Fortunately, the control scheme makes enough sense that it only takes a few minutes to get accustomed to driving your boat, casting, and reeling. The triangle button is especially useful, allowing you to quickly "reset" after a bad cast. Once the line is out, you view your lure from a side angle, with your fisherman superimposed in the corner. The murky water and aquatic life look realistic enough, but the camera tends to swing in a disconcerting manner. It gets even worse when a fish appears, causing the screen to fluctuate between the lure and approaching fish. You really can't tell what's going on until the fish finally bites. The fights are rather conventional as you jerk and reel the line in response to on-screen prompts. When you go for a while without catching anything, the game offers helpful hints, like "try a larger lure". Each lure has an informative description, but the freakin' text scrolls by so damn slowly
that it's not even worth reading. I enjoyed Rapala's sloshing water sound effects, but there's a steady beeping sound that really got on my nerves. The game records you catches (along with a nice picture), and the challenging tournament mode could keep you occupied for weeks as you unlock new lures and locations. Rapala Pro Fishing may appeal to some desperate fishermen, but it seems tame compared to old favorites like Sega Bass Fishing
(Dreamcast, 2000). © Copyright 2006 The Video Game Critic.
Ratchet and Clank
Publisher: Sony (2002)
Rating: Teen (mild violence)
Despite being somewhat weary of 3D platform games, I have to admit Ratchet and Clank is an entertaining romp. Ratchet is a dog-like alien, and Clank is his small robot companion that rides around on his back. Together, they embark on a series of missions on multiple planets with futuristic scenery. Released at about the same time as Jak and Daxter
and Sly Cooper
, Ratchet distinguishes itself by letting you blast enemies with a multitude of weapons. This shooting feature sets the game apart, but otherwise Ratchet and Clank treads on some very familiar territory. Items are hidden in crates that look like they were stolen directly from a Crash Bandicoot game. Heck, there are even exploding
crates here. And those flame-throwing thugs gave me a serious case of deja vu from Crash Bandicoot 2 (or was it 3?). Fortunately, Ratchet's tight control, polished graphics, and clever sense of humor are enough to overcome the game's derivative aspects. Instead of gathering coins, rings, or fruit, you collect nuts and bolts by the hundreds. Since it would be tedious to pick them up individually, they float to you like a magnet when you approach, and I love the clinking and clanking sounds they make as you suck them up. I also love the imaginative weapons like the "suck cannon" and "glove of doom". Ratchet and Clank has a very aggressive brand of gameplay that's lacking in most platformers. An auto-aim mechanism makes it easy to pick off one robot after the next, although the system doesn't work very well when your adversaries are off-screen. The game has a nifty auto-save feature, although you also have the option to save the game yourself at any time. Ratchet and Clank is one of the best platform games around, and I recommend it highly. © Copyright 2004 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Infogrames (2000)
If you've always wanted to own a real pool table, Real Pool provides a cost-efficient alternative. It offers eight pocket games and six "carem" games, and you can play in practice, tournament, or puzzle modes. Graphically, the game is not too exciting. The pools halls are dull and sparse, and there aren't any spectators or hot-looking, scantily clad women to impress. The control scheme is unique in that there's no timed meter. You simply adjust your power, aim your cue, and press X. It doesn't require good reflexes, but it still works fine. Before each shot, you can choose between several viewing angles, but none seem to provide the perfect angle you're looking for. Thus, it's difficult to judge your shot, and the game can be very unforgiving at times. A free roaming camera would have been nice. I think the best and most innovative aspect of Real Pool is the puzzle mode, which challenges you to sink balls on oddly shaped tables. It's a lot of fun, and would certainly be difficult to duplicate in real life. Crisp sound effects complement the action, and the background music is a light jazz that sounds like Kenny G (yes, you can turn it off). Real Pool is okay, but there's got to be better alternatives out there. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: THQ (2001)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore)
Publisher: Xs Games (2006)
Rating: Teen (violence)
Resident Evil Dead Aim
Publisher: Capcom (2003)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, violence)
Resident Evil Outbreak
Publisher: Capcom (2003)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, intense violence)
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2
Publisher: Capcom (2004)
Rating: Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)
Publisher: Namco (2000)
Is this really the fifth Ridge Racer? This game looks suspiciously like the Ridge Racer One
, only with slightly improved graphics. In fact, one of the tracks was taken directly
from the first Ridge Racer. The graphics are sharp and the cars are shiney, but there is noticeable jagginess in the roads and backgrounds. In addition, the two-player split screen mode suffers from terrible fog and embarassing pop-up (scenery that appears suddenly as you approach it). Actually, the only impressive graphical element is the sexy Asian girl who appears in all the setup screens. There is a cool "spark" special effect when the cars scrape the ground, but this is overused to the max. The tracks are well designed, but there are not enough of them. Gameplay hasn't changed much over the years, but its arcade style of racing still provides a good time. Like Ridge Racer 4, there are several modes,and endless setup screens to let you select car type, car color, engine type, driver name, team name, etc. The sonic music is adequate, but the announcer is an annoying idiot. Ridge Racer V is fair, but it hardly shows off the capabilities of the system. © Copyright 2000 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Takara (2002)
Here's a cute little racing game that really doesn't try too hard, and it shows. As a matter of fact, you'd think Road Trip was intended to be a bargain bin title from the start. These graphics would be better suited to the PS1. The cars look like boxy toys, and the tracks are remarkably simple and plain. Like most racing games, you advance up the ranks by winning races, acquiring licenses, and upgrading your car. But Road Trip has the added "feature" of driving between cities, each with its own set of tracks. This leaves plenty of room for hidden areas and goodies to be found along the way, but the scenery is far too ho-hum to make it worth the trip. In fact, most of these lengthy "road trips" are incredibly boring. The races themselves feature 24 cars, an impressive number considering Gran Turismo is limited to six. Some of the tracks are okay, but poor physics and programming glitches are constant companions. Worse yet, these races run in slow motion compared to most modern racers. The music is absolutely nauseating, as is the dialogue between the cars ("Win the Gran Prix and you can be President!"). I was hoping that the wacky array of mini-games might save Road Trip, but poor control and camera problems prevent these from being enjoyable. Even the promising "car soccer" game fell flat. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Publisher: Electronic Arts (2001)
Here's a superb crash-up-derby style racer that seemed to come from out of nowhere. Rumble Racing has everything that makes racing games fun: simple controls, easy handling, shortcuts, ramps, and spectacular weapons. The graphics aren't flashy, but the action is fast and furious. A shoulder button allows you to perform tricks like flips and rolls, and well-performed stunts are rewarded with a speed boost. And if you've think you've seen every racing weapon there is, wait until you see the TORNADO! It's a sight to behold as the sky darkens and a huge funnel appears. The other weapons (bombs, landslides, shockwaves) are easy to use and look great. There are 36 vehicles and 15 well-designed tracks in all. Rumble Racing won me over in a big way. The only area where it stumbles is the sound department, thanks to an annoying commentator who never shuts up with his idiotic remarks. There are a nice variety of options and modes, including a two-player split screen mode (sorry, no 4 player), and a fun team mode. Rumble Racing is a game anyone can pick up and enjoy. If you're tired of those tedious "realistic" racers, Rumble Racing will provide relief. © Copyright 2001 The Video Game Critic.
Rygar: The Legendary Adventure
Publisher: Tecmo (2002)
Rating: Teen (Blood and gore, violence)