Tag Archives: Capcom

Scouse Gamer 88 Chip N' Dale 2 Header

Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers 2 (NES)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) –  Capcom

Producer(s) – Tokoru Fujiwara

PEGI – N/A (Suitable for all ages)

Released very late on in the shelf life of the NES back in 1993, Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers 2 received favorable reviews upon release and was later released as part of the Disney Saturday Morning Collection along with the original game, Duck Tales, Talespin, and Darkwing Duck. The previous review of this game that caught my eye above all others was EGM review, which alluded to what it would’ve been like to see a sequel alternatively released on more current hardware at the time, such as the Super NES or the Mega Drive. Whilst I believe it to be true that if that had indeed been the case, (indeed, it would have sold even better than what it did and would’ve been more capable of standing out), the final game is still a very enjoyable experience as well as being a more than worthy sequel, topping what the original game had to offer. 

 

Graphics – 9/10

The most notable improvement between the first and second games is undoubtedly the graphics. Everything from the character sprites to the scenery is a lot more detailed than that of the previous game and there are definitely signs of the developers have done a lot more with the console’s relatively limited color palette. The conceptual design is also even more diverse than the last, as, towards the end of the former, the levels seemed to have similar elements to them to that of previous levels, whereas the second game doesn’t suffer from that issue at all. The only thing that this game doesn’t have going for it in comparison to its predecessor is that the soundtrack is nowhere near as catchy. 

 

Gameplay – 8/10

The gameplay pretty much follows the same formula as the first, though with a few minor tweaks. Gone is the facility to choose between levels, as this game offers a completely linear progression, and players can now stun enemies and grab them in addition to throwing inanimate objects at them, making it even more reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 2 than the first Chip N’ Dale game. Whilst it may seem a bad thing that the second game has a far more linear progression, it’s actually an improvement, as it removes the option of skipping levels in order to progress faster, and forces the player to enjoy the full game for what it is. The most significant improvement in terms of gameplay, however, is that the boss fights are far more elaborate than that of the first game, requiring a far greater degree of strategy in order to defeat them. 

 

Controls – 10/10

As with the previous game, there are no issues with the controls, as the 2D side-scrolling genre had become a staple in gaming at the time, and it seemed harder for developers to get it wrong than to get it right. There are a few tweaks that have been made to the controls, however, such as the facility to throw objects diagonally, whereas, in the previous game, they could only be thrown up, left or right. It was quite impressive for an NES title, since many other games only relied on the up, down, left, and right axis, whereas games like this attempted to break the trend it would seem. 

 

Lifespan – 7/10

Lasting about the standard time of a third-generation side scroller the game can be completed inside an hour. Of course, because the game forces the player to experience every level, unlike in the first, players are forced to spend a standard amount of time on it, however. Instead of potentially skipping levels in order to progress as fast as possible. There were many other side scrollers at the time released on better hardware that was being made to last considerably longer than this, but those playing it at the time, and those looking to try it out, will not be disappointed. 

 

Storyline – 7/10

The storyline of Chip N’ Dale 2 is also massively improved compared to that of the first game. The story is that Chip and Dale, along with Monterey, Zipper, and Gadget, are on a mission to stop Fat Cat from using an ancient artifact to achieve world domination. It seems generic at first glance in basic premise, but what separates this game from the previous, and indeed from a number of early NES titles, is that there are a notable amount of cutscenes included to tell the story, and far more dialogue than there is in the first game. Breaking another NES trend, players would be reliant on the game’s manual to learn about the majority of a game’s story. But in this game, the developers went above and beyond that to tell it in a more detailed manner in-game. 

 

Originality – 7/10

Though there were a lot of Super NES and Mega Drive games developed at the time that had already perpetuated a lot of the things that this game did, this game stands out for it making these innovations, but on previous-generation hardware. The game, in and of itself, was a very retroactive experience; it showed developers that more could be done with the NES than perhaps they may have thought throughout the mid to late 80s; certainly in terms of controls and storytelling anyway. In terms of gameplay, whilst there are a few tweaks made, it just about does enough to be kept fresh. 

 

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Overall, whilst Chip N’ Dale 2 doesn’t hold as much nostalgic value to me personally (indeed, the first Chip N’ Dale was actually the first game I ever played), it is still a much better game than its predecessor. It celebrates the license in a more meaningful way by presenting the story better, and there are significant improvements made in almost every other aspect in addition. 

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)

Scouse Gamer 88 Maximo Header

Maximo: Ghosts to Glory (PlayStation 2)

Developer(s) – Capcom Digital Studios

Publisher(s) – Capcom 

Designer(s) – David Stiller, Scott Rodgers & William Anderson

Producer(s) – Mark Rodgers

ELSPA – 11+

 

Originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64 and eventually ported to the PlayStation 2 back in 2002, Maximo was released to huge critical acclaim, received well by not only the current generation at the time, but also by many old school gamers, as what the developers intended. Drawing inspiration from the Ghosts ‘N Goblins franchise, the aim was to bring the classic style of challenging gameplay to the sixth generation and provide players with a much more stern challenge than what they would’ve been used to at the time. Personally, though I have a few gripes with the game, especially as I don’t think it’s aged as well as other games on the system, I say as a prerequisite that I spent a lot of time playing this game when it was released and for good reason. Overall, it’s one of those Capcom franchises that has sadly been neglected in recent generations along with Breath of Fire and Viewtiful Joe. 

 

Graphics – 7/10

The game takes place in a world partly inspired by Ghosts ‘N Goblins, but the inclusion of other more varied landscapes such as marshes, ice worlds, and even hell itself, makes it do well to stand out from its spiritual predecessor, as well as from many other games of the time. The biggest issue I have with it, however, is as the game was intended originally for release on fifth-generation hardware, it is quite evident that that was the case. Some of the textures in the game are inconsistent with what players would’ve been used to even at this relatively early period within the sixth generation, and it makes the game look even more outdated today as a result. The cutscenes throughout do relatively well to try and supplement that, however, and there were other games released on the PlayStation 2, later on, that looked even more outdated than this, including Malice

 

Gameplay – 8/10

The aspect in which this game truly stands out, however, is in the gameplay. A linear 3D action-adventure platformer, it plays out very much like a 3D version of Ghosts ‘N Goblins with players having to rely on quick wits, revision of enemy attack patterns, and conservation of resources in order to stay alive and grow stronger over time. There is a multitude of abilities to acquire throughout the game as well as power-ups providing perks such as invisibility and elemental sword augmentations. For a game that emphasizes challenge so much, however, it’s remarkable how easy the boss fights are overall. The only exception to that being the game’s end boss, which can feel incredibly tense throughout. 

 

Controls – 10/10

Mercifully, there are no issues with the controls in a game which relies on precise platforming and we’ll-timed attacks to get by. It’s actually quite impressive how well-handled they are for a game that perpetuated such a new idea at the time as if the developers understood what it meant to include the best of the sixth generation as well as the sense of challenge that came with the best games of the kind during the third and fourth generations. 

 

Lifespan – 6/10

As a linear game, Maximo can be made to last about 5 hours, which is okay, but not great, even for a game of the time. In a generation where twenty-plus-hour platformers were being developed on the PlayStation 2 like Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank, this game pales in comparison in terms of lifespan. Though you can appreciate the developers were in a time crunch to get it out as soon as possible since It had been in development hell to an extent, I couldn’t help but think what kind of a game it would’ve been given more time spent on it. 

 

Storyline – 7/10

The story of the game is quite basic, with a few distinct elements thrown in for good measure. It involves a knight named Maximo who resolves to free his love interest, Sophia, from the evil King Achille. At the start, Achille kills Maximo, who is in turn revived by the Grim Reaper, who delegates him the task of stopping Achille from raising the dead to build his army. The Grim Reaper is easily the best character in the game, as he provides the most personality out of any other character by a country mile; similar to how the Genie is the best character in Aladdin. There is a nice twist at the end, which will throw players for a loop, as it did to me, but the developers definitely put more stock in the gameplay, as developers should always do in my opinion. 

 

Originality – 7/10

This game was like a breath of fresh air for many gamers at the time, old and new. It provides a stern challenge for third and fourth-generation veterans alike and still provides a stern challenge for the most part to this day. It’s certainly a must-have for fans of games made on the same ilk in recent years like Dark Souls, Cuphead, and others, but it provides a very different kind of challenge in another respect which, as at the time of its release, can be appreciated by gamers of all different generations. 

 

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In summation, Maximo: Ghosts to Glory is a gaming experience that, whilst may not hold up in terms of visual quality, definitely holds up in terms of gameplay. I recommend it to any player who may be looking for a new kind of challenge that whilst stern, is still not entirely inaccessible. 

Score

45/60

7.5/10 (Good)

Scouse Gaamer 88 Breath Of Fire IV Header

Breath of Fire IV (PlayStation & PC)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom & SourceNext

Designer – Makoto Ikihara

Producer – Hironobu Takeshita

ELSPA – 11

 

Released around the same time as Final Fantasy IX, and when Squaresoft and Enix were considered the two most prominent RPG video game development companies, Breath of Fire IV was still met with positive reviews and a great reception from fans of the series and has since become a cult classic among gamers today. However, after playing it for a fair amount of time, whilst not thinking it’s a bad game, I don’t believe that it really lives up to all the hype I’ve heard about it since I watched that video. Though people believe it to be unjust that this game was overshadowed as much as it was at the time, I can’t say I agree with that.

 

Graphics – 7/10

The scenery and style of the game were very well designed. It reminded me of the game Grandia, whereby 2D character sprites would inhabit a fully 3D world. In particular, I enjoyed walking through the village of Chamba, which is very atmospheric and gloomy and added an extremely unexpected level of tension for a time. But unlike Grandia, the level design is not as diverse, and a lot of the other villages and towns later on in the game can seem very repetitious after a while. I remember whilst I was playing Grandia, I was very much taken in by how unique places like Parm and the Zil ruins looked. But for me, there just seemed to be much less of that level of captivation in terms of conceptual design.

 

Gameplay – 7.5/10

As a turn-based RPG, it is pretty satisfying to play the game and level up the player characters, gaining more and more skills and powers as the game goes on. But the problem lies in the fact that there’s not as much variety in Breath of Fire IV in comparison to other big-name RPGs at the time, such as Final Fantasy. I also find that despite its criminally short lifespan, South Park: The Stick of Truth had more variety in gameplay than this. There are a few side quests present, such as fishing and so on, but there are nowhere near as many side quests as a lot of other games of its caliber and world size. I find it especially surprising, as Capcom wouldn’t have been on a budget at the time following sales of Resident Evil 1 and 2, so I think the only limitations involved would have come in the form of the developer’s imaginations.

 

Controls – 9/10

There are no issues with the controls, save for the fact that the camera angles can be awkward at times, and that having to often adjust it can be a bit of a hassle. This would be another advantage that other RPGs of the time would have over Breath of Fire IV; some of them would simply use hand-drawn graphics, making entire settings one big picture for players to traverse across. But because Breath of Fire has a fully 3D environment, camera angles do consequently often have to be adjusted for players to be able to tell where they’re going.

 

Lifespan – 5/10

I’ve since found out that this game can be completed in just over 20 hours, and whilst that isn’t as short a lifespan as South Park: The Stick of Truth, It’s still very short for a turn-based RPG. Although that may have been considered somewhat long for a game in most other genres at the time, there were still games at that time, which were made to last three, maybe even four times longer.

 

Storyline – 8.5/10

Despite this game lacking substance in gameplay compared to its competitors at the time, one thing I can’t criticize too much about it is its story. After it starts off a little slowly, it does get progressively better as it goes on, dealing with a number of adult themes and alluding to many real-life political occurrences. Breath of Fire IV follows the story of a dragon god called Fou-Lu, who formed an empire years prior to the start of the game, but became weary of humanity, and put himself into stasis. He awakens at the start of the game to rule again, but he finds he is split into two people; one being himself and the other being an amnesiac called Ryu, who is taken in by a girl called Nina and her friend Cray, who have set out to find Nina’s sister, Elina, who went missing on a diplomacy mission. It does turn into something much deeper over time, and it does certainly make for a very exceptional story in a time when gameplay stories were first becoming much more prominent than they had been previously.

 

Originality – 6.5/10

At the time, there didn’t seem to be that many stories in games, which touched on political instability and alluded so elaborately to nuclear war, but more annoyingly to me, it severely lacked innovation in gameplay compared to other RPGs of its time, and to me, it shows how Capcom seemed to focus less on gameplay in general in the midst of the release of Resident Evil, which again focused more on the story as well as horror.

 

Happii

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In summation, Breath of Fire IV isn’t terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but I couldn’t help but feel that it could have been an infinitely better game than what it turned out to be. After playing it, I feel as if people do indeed give it too much credit, and I do believe that it’s overshadowing by Final Fantasy IX wasn’t unjustified by any means.

Score

43.5/60

7/10 (Fair)

Scouse Gamer 88 Aladdin Header

Aladdin (Super Nintendo)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom

Designer – Shinji Mikami

Rating – N/A

 

Part of Capcom’s repertoire of licensed games, Aladdin for the Super Nintendo was in fact in direct competition with a counterpart for the Sega Mega Drive developed by Virgin Games, which were both met with critical and commercial acclaim; with the Mega Drive port becoming the third best-selling game for the system behind Sonic 1 and 2. The Super Nintendo game was developed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame, who went to say that he actually preferred the Mega Drive version, but in my opinion, the Super Nintendo version is much more challenging, and more enjoyable by proxy.

 

Graphics – 10/10

With what technology was available at the time, the developers captured the feel of the film perfectly. The city of Agrabah is shown in every different time frame, ranging from day to sunset to night, and the Cave of Wonders has the same dark and ominous atmosphere, along with some pretty elaborate level designs. There was also even a level added in the form of the Desert Temple, depicting Aladdin attempting to rescue his companion Abu, after he falls of the carpet whilst riding back to Agrabah, which doesn’t happen in the film.

 

Gameplay – 7/10

The game is a traditional 2D side scroller, which was commonplace at the time. Players are required to adapt to the structure of each level in order to get around as best as they can; similar to the Lion King video game, but with a great element of challenge in my opinion. Shinji Mikami stated that the reason why he thought the Mega Drive port to be better was because of the fact that Aladdin wields a sword, but in my opinion, not only does the lack of a weapon make for a heightened sense of challenge but it also better adheres to Aladdin’s character in the film, since he likes to improvise.

 

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the game’s controls whatsoever. It’s actually quite interesting to witness how well the developers were able to modify the 2D platforming formula by giving Aladdin so many different acrobatic abilities in order to overcome all the different obstacles in each level. The level whereby this factor is at its most prominent is in the Cave of Wonders, with the player having to make very careful precision jumps over narrow rock and skipping stones.

 

Lifespan – 5/10

The game can take just over an hour to complete, which at this time was just about the average lifespan of a 2D platformer. With the advent of Super Mario World, Nintendo had proven that 2D Side scrollers could be made to last considerably longer, whilst also having much more substance in gameplay, so at this point, Aladdin’s lifespan was made to seem underwhelming in comparison.

 

Storyline – 6/10

Depicting the story of the film, it follows a young street urchin named Aladdin, who comes across a magic lamp, and uses the genie inside to change the course of life for the better. As was customary in video games at the time, there wasn’t a great amount of emphasis on the story, with the developers merely sticking to the broad strokes. They added another subplot to it in order to in turn add a new level, but of course, it’s much better to simply watch the film to get the best feel for the story; the comedic element is much stronger, as it is provided by the late great Robin Williams as the genie.

 

Originality – 5/10

Unfortunately, since this game followed the trends and tropes of what most games did at the time, it’s a clear sign that this game was rushed out to retail to coincide with the film to a certain extent. But regardless, the game isn’t without its charms; it’s a challenging title, in lieu of Capcom tradition, which isn’t too inaccessible and presents players with an experience that stands out among a fair few other side scrollers released at the time.

 

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Overall, Aladdin was a fairly well-developed licensed game, made in a time before the medium of games based on a pre-existing license would generally become frowned upon within the industry. Batman: Arkham Asylum would go on to break that notion many years later, but Capcom made good use of many Disney licenses, and this game is no exception.

Score

43/60

7/10 (Fair)