Tag Archives: Fighting

Oh… Sir! The Hollywood Roast (PC)

Developer(s) – Vile Monarch

Publisher(s) – Gambitious Digital Entertainment

Following on from Vile Monarch’s previous indie title, Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator, The Holly Roast, takes the franchise into the Hollywood movie industry, and delivers the same level of quirky humour, and the same interesting twist on both turn-based and traditional fighting game combat, and builds on what the first game perpetuated to deliver a greater experience. I first saw this game at EGX Rezzed 2017, and was immediately smitten with it; it drove me to play the original game, but by comparison, the second is even better in my opinion,

Graphics – 7.5/10

The graphics in the series have undergone a significant overhaul compared to the original game, and the characters and setting look even better. There are more varied character and level designs than in The Insult Simulator, deviating away from the Monty Python themes of the first game, and it features a much greater level of detail. It also opens up possibilities in terms of future games in the series, and how they could be based on a wide variety of different subjects.

Gameplay – 7/10

The gameplay of the Hollywood Roast is almost identical to that of The Insult Simulator, but this time round, the developers have added a few new mechanics to the combat system; most notably the comeback ability. Player now have the options to add a comeback onto the end of their insults for bonus points. New comeback can also be unlocked for each character as the game progresses. But the biggest and best new addition to the series is the modding system. Players now have the ability to create new characters and stages within the game, which definitely gives the game an even greater level of variety what I personally thought to be possible after having played the demo.

Controls – 10/10

Just like the original game, there are no issues with the controls whatsoever, with it being a simple point and click game typical of most games that run best on PC.

Originality – 9/10

The Insult Simulator was an original game on it’s own, but The Hollywood Roast still maintains that same level of uniqueness; the difference being between the two of them is that there is far more to play for in the second game. The original demonstrated an entirely new way to play a fighting game, but this title has perfected this new style of play.

Happii

Overall, Oh… Sir! The Hollywood Roast is a more than welcome addition to one of the most unique indie gaming series I’ve ever come across. It’s fun to play, can last even longer than the original with modding possibilities, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Score

33.5/40

8/10 (Good)

Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator (PC, Android & iOS)

Developer(s) – Vile Monarch

Publisher(s) – Gambitious Digital Entertainment

Developed by Austrian indie outfit Vile Monarch, Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator combines turn-based style combat with the layout of a fighting game to deliver a unique twist on both styles of play, and quirky humour to match. Whilst not having a great amount of replayability for a fighting game, it can make for hours of entertainment, and for the relatively short time it took me to unlock everything, I enjoyed this title.

Graphics – 7/10

Rendered using 8-bit graphics, the developers took influenced most notably from the Monty Python troupe in both it’s character and stage designs. As a fan of Monty Python myself, it was fun identifying where the references were placed; be that either the obvious ones, like the character of John P. Shufflebottom being an obvious caricature of John Cleese’s character from the world famous dead parrot sketch, or obscure ones like the trumpets being blown by rear end in the background of the afterlife stage, reminiscent of a scene from Monty Python’s The Holy Grail. There are also references to other aspects of modern and classic thrown in for good measure, which enhance game’s level of visual variety in terms of conceptual design.

Gameplay – 6/10

The object of the game is to string together the longest insults possible by picking from a selection of phrases and conjunctions in the best order to deal as much damage as possible to the enemy, and deplete their health bar before they can deplete the player’s. There are additional characters to unlock, as well as an additional stage, and then there’s also a multiplayer mode whereby people can compete online. For a fighting game, it doesn’t have a great deal of content, and I’m hoping that’s where the games upcoming sequel will come in; Oh… Sir! The Hollywood Roast. It’s not the most plentiful experience available, but well worth the price posted on Steam of £1.59. Stringing elaborate insults together feels satisfying, and it’s also rewarding to be able to identify individual characters weaknesses to deal extra damage.

Controls – 10/10

Issues with the controls are non-existent unless gamers have a problem with their mouse. It’s a simply point and click game typical of a vast majority of PC games, and suffers from no problems in this respect.

Originality – 9/10

In terms of uniqueness, it stands out from any other fighting game ever made. It thrills me to see independent developers trying out new ideas never seen in gaming before, and making them work extremely well, like what has been accomplished with title. The developers have promised a more plentiful experience with the next game, as well as it being much more open to modding like Civilization 5 perhaps, but the first game is definitely a standout starting point worthy of more attention than is has received so far.

Happii

Overall, Oh… Sir! The Insult Simulator, whilst having a fleeting single player experience, makes up for that in its quality. It’s an entertaining, reasonably priced and funny gaming experience, and I would recommend it to all fighting game fans out there.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

The Last Guardian (PlayStation 4)

Developer(s) – Japan Studios

Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment

Director – Fumito Ueda

Producer(s) – Fumito Ueda & Kazunobu Sato

Released in late 2016 following a lengthy development cycle, The Last Guardian is a follow-up to Fumito Ueda’s previous PlayStation 2 masterpiece games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. In development since 2009, Ueda was inspired to create the game on the back on fan opinion that the connection between Wander and Agro in Shadow of the Colossus was much more emotionally charged than Wander’s commitment to reviving Mono. Ueda expanded upon this by creating a friendship between a young boy and a towering creature called Trico. Whilst I did experience some difficulties with the game’s controls, as did many other players, I found that The Last Guardian ranks in as second in my opinion of the quality of the three Fumito Ueda games; not as good as Shadow of the Colossus, but better than Ico.

Graphics – 10/10

In my opinion, it was well worth the wait to behold the transition from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4, as within that time, the graphics were given a dramatic overhaul to fit in with the standard quality of that of eighth generation gaming. But I found that both graphically and conceptually; the visuals far exceed the standards of an eighth generation game; in particular, the creature Trico’s features are intricately detailed, with it’s feathers reacting to respective indoor and outdoor environments accordingly, and it’s eyes giving it as much of an impressive emotional and lifelike appearance. The individual environments and dungeons are also something to behold, many of which reminiscent of both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus; many of which interestingly posing the question as to whether or not they are the same areas just in a different span of time, tying the game in with the mythology of the other two games nicely.

Gameplay – 7/10

The object of the game is to guide Trico through many of the different dungeons and environments in order to both solve puzzles and progress through the game. There is also an element of combat to it, as the player is persisted throughout the game by the so-called suits of armour, and the boy must use both Trico and any nearby weapons to defeat them. The game borrows elements from both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus to deliver a very unique gameplay formula, with payers having to fend off the suits of armour using multiple combat methods, and the player having to manipulate, and even climb upon Trico in order to reach otherwise impassable areas. The game is better than Ico in that the combat is a lot more intricate than the latter, since players simply had to hit monsters with a stick and advance to the next area, but it doesn’t measure up to the quality of Shadow of the Colossus, since it follows a linear progression as opposed to an open-world one, and consequently, there is less to do throughout. There is replay value to be had, since there are achievements to unlock for playing the game more than once, but what I found in particular was that the world in which the game is set offered more than enough scope for it to be developed as an open world game; especially judging by the opening sequence, which suggests that there were many more guardians in the world than Trico at one point. Nevertheless, what there is in gameplay is enjoyable as well as challenging, and there are a fair few secrets thrown in for good measure to uncover along the way.

Controls – 9/10

As I pointed out, I did have a couple of issues with the controls along with many other people who have played this game; most notably with Trico’s AI. Sometimes, the creature wouldn’t do what I either wanted or needed it to do right away in some given situations despite following the in-game instructions, and on occasion, this would also effect combat. But it doesn’t become as much of a problem as to hinder the flow of the game completely, and for the most part, Trico responds as well as what is needed to most commands given to it by the player. I particular, I do like some more subtle control features, like how the creatures instinctively catches barrels in mid-air when thrown. Features like that give the game a certain charm not found in every title in my opinion.

Lifespan – 6/10

One playthrough of The Last Guardian clocks in at around 10-15 hours, which is yet another improvement on Ico, as that game last only a fraction of that time. For a linear game however, that is about the standard time, which whilst may be fair, isn’t anything particularly out of the ordinary. Personally, I would have been willing to wait even longer if it meant the developers could make the game either last longer, or set it in an open world, which I’m hoping is what Fumito Ueda does with the next game he develops that ties in with the same mythology, if and when he does.

Storyline – 9/10

The story of the Last Guardian follows a young boy and the towering creature Trico in their bid to escape from a huge and elaborate prison. To do this, the boy and the creature develop an intricate and complete understanding of one another, which blossoms into a strong spiritual connection that becomes even stronger throughout the course of the game. Ahead of the release of this title, I had read articles expressing opinions and concerns that the game would not be released in time to fill a gap for games that primarily told stories, and consequently, it would not be as effective as it could be. In response to that, I say the game is as effective in terms of story as it can be regardless of the fact that it has been released after titles such as The Last of Us, Journey and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and despite of this, the game is better than any of those previously mentioned titles in my opinion. Regardless of the fact that there is no minimal dialogue with the exception of the occasional narration, the game is more emotionally charged and elaborate than many other story-driven games on the market, with the addition of offering more in terms of gameplay.

Originality – 9/10

This game in my opinion, is unique in story and gameplay, but most importantly, it’s unique in terms of general concept. It may not be the first game released to do many of the things that it does, following on from releases such as Papo & Yo and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, but it does these things better than both of these latter games, and more intricately too. I can honestly say that it is unlike any other game I’ve ever played, and one of Fumito Ueda’s most outstanding efforts to date.

Happii

In summation, whilst it does have it’s flaws, The Last Guardian provides a solid gameplay experience, excelling in the aspects of story, gameplay and visuals. It may not be as enjoyable as Shadow of the Colossus was, but it is worth at least one playthrough, and proved to be worth the wait of it’s development cycle, thankfully not succumbing to many of the complications that sometimes come with games that have had lengthy development cycles.

Score

50/60

8/10 (Very Good)

Dishonored 2 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC)

Developer(s) – Arkane Studios

Publisher(s) – Bethesda

Director – Harvey Smith

Designer – Dinga Bakaba

Developed primarily at Arkane Studio’s Lyon branch, and released in late 2016, Dishonored 2 was released later last year to critical acclaim, with player and reviewers citing major improvements made over the first game; most of which concerning the game’s difficulty, as many players opinionated that the last game seemed too easy. Personally, I agree that the sequel is better than the original game in almost every respect, and whilst the gameplay wasn’t structured as well as I believe a Dishonored game has the potential to be, it was more than a worthy sequel.

Graphics – 9/10

Taking place in a new city away from Dunwall known as Karnaca, there are many new aspects of conceptual design added to expand upon the series’ mythology, as well as an overhaul of graphical quality, making the game just as compelling and wonderful too look at as the first game; if not, more so. There are new machines to have to contend with besides the tall boys, and a new set of city streets and buildings to navigate through and discover new secrets and vantage points. The second game also seems even darker than the original, giving it more of a gritty feel to it appropriate for the feel of the story. The setting of the Void is where this aspect of the game seems most prevalent as the Outsider is also portrayed as a much darker character in himself.

Gameplay – 9.5/10

This time round, the player is given the option to select from two characters from the start of the game, both with their own unique set of abilities; there’s Corvo Attano, the protagonist of the original game and the empresses royal protector, or Emily Kaldwin, the empress of Dunwall. The game itself is also structured very similarly to the last, taking place in a semi-open world and offering players the option to either take a stealthy approach or run rampant and kill every enemy standing in the way. The game also presents the option of going the duration of it without killing a single person. The best thing about this game is that the character choice not only offers a new dimension of gameplay with so many new powers and options to experiment with, but it also gives it even more replay value than the first, warranting at least four different playthroughs. So even though it didn’t offer a completely open world, which I think can be implemented very easily in a game like this, there is plenty of replayability to be had making for a fairly long gaming experience.

Controls – 10/10

As with the previous game, there are no issues with its control scheme, despite the fact that there are more options and abilities available. It’s actually quite impressive how the developers have managed to incorporate so many new features whilst at the same time keeping the fundamentals of the game to a perfect standard. Keeping a control scheme unique in a gameplay perspective that has also taken and maintained prominence throughout the industry for almost twenty years also makes it seem even more impressive in my opinion.

Lifespan – 7/10

Each individual playthrough lasts about as long as it did in the first game, clocking in at around 20-25 hours, which for me, was mildly disappointing, as a game like this can have a campaign that can be easily made to last longer. However, the game’s lifespan is in its potential replay value, of which there is a great deal of for those willing to delve deeper into the game. So whilst it may not have the lifespan that a Dishonored game could have, it still has a great of longevity attached to it, and will make for hours upon hours of entertainment.

Storyline – 7/10

The sequel to Dishonored takes place fifteen years following the events of the original game. Whilst Emily Kaldwin has long since been installed as the rightful empress of the city of Dunwall thanks to Corvo, the empire has prospered, but it has not been without challenge. A serial murderer knows as the Crown Killer is murdering enemies of the state left, right and centre, and has led many in Dunwall to believe the Crown Killer is Emily herself. Whilst Corvo and Emily are attending a remembrance ceremony for Emily’s mother Jessamine, a powerful witch named Delilah Copperspoon is introduced to Emily, and claims to be her older half-sister and rightful heir to the empire. Whichever character the player chooses at this point manages to escape Dunwall, whilst the other is subdued by Delilah, who usurps the throne, and the player character is tasked with putting an end to Delilah’s regime and rescuing either Corvo or Emily depending on the character’s choice. Whilst I thought the game’s story was not as suspenseful as the last, since there is not as much of a elaborate twist to it, it still has the same level of political intrigue, and just as much emotional charge; especially as this time round, Corvo is given a voice as opposed to being confined to the role of the silent protagonist.

Originality – 7.5/10

Though the structure of the game remains relatively the same as it’s predecessor, the formula is kept fresh enough with the introduction of so many new features and abilities added. It’s most definitely evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary, expanding on what was already good about the first game with the exception of the story. In my opinion, it does still leave room for both improvement and development in the event of a possible third game, but having played through both, I would welcome a third with open arms. The second game cemented the fact that both the concept and mythology behind the series is more than worth further expanding upon still.

Happii

Overall, Dishonored 2, whilst not being exactly the sequel I had hoped it would be, still present massive improvement upon the first game. It’s enjoyable and lengthy with a decent story, and plenty of gameplay options to match; well worth one playthrough at the bare least.

Score

50/60

8/10 (Very Good)

Zombie Vikings (PlayStation 4 & PC)

Developer(s) – Zoink Games

Following the immense success of their adventure puzzle game Stick It To the Man, Zoink games followed up with an adventure beat ‘em up title name Zombie Vikings, but was met with unjustifiably mixed reviews, at least as of now, garnishing an average Metacritic score of just 61. Personally, I found it to be much better than the former game for a variety of different reasons, and hope that other review sites that haven’t yet provided a review see the game for it’s many different qualities.

Graphics – 8/10

The general design of the game is extremely similar to Stick It To the Man, with characters and scenery hearkening back to the 2D hand-drawn style of the previous game. However, the conceptual design of the game is drastically different, taking place in a world inspired by Norse mythology as opposed to a world inspired by the trappings and intricacies of modern life. Even despite how weird and wonderfully outlandish their previous title was, this one is just as magnificently strange; if not more so. The game may not run on 60 frames per second like the former, but to me, that’s semantics.

Gameplay – 8/10

Taking a drastic departure from Stick It To the Man, Zombie Vikings presents players with a wonderfully varied linear beat ‘em up game reminiscent of the like of Streets of Rage or Final Fight, and packed with variety in weapons, abilities, character choices and even side quests thrown in for good measure; something I’ve personally rarely seen in games of this kind, which after playing this, make this game seem as if a trick has been missed for many years. It all makes for a wonderfully fulfilling and addicting gaming experience, which in my opinion is much more satisfying to play through than Stick It To the Man.

Controls – 9/10

The game is a 2D side scrolling beat ‘em up, so by default, I would have problems with it’s control scheme to a certain extent; but much to my pleasant surprise, nowhere near as much of a problem as I have found with many of the games of its kind that many other gamers consider to be classics. The main reason for this is that movement is infinitely more varied, and players can not only run, but can dodge enemy attacks by rolling in different directions, which certainly help to alleviate many previous frustrations I have personally had with other games of its kind in the past.

Lifespan – 7/10

As well being bigger and better than Stick It To the Man, Zombie Vikings is also a much longer gaming experience, which always goes down well with me personally. Although the main story can take around the same amount of time to complete as the former, the increased amount of gameplay variety by proxy gives this title much more replay value, and of course, there’s also the multiplayer to indulge in afterwards, which can make for many more hours of entertainment.

Storyline – 8.5/10

The story of Zombie Vikings revolves around four zombie Viking warriors who have been summoned by the thunder god Odin to retrieve his stolen eye from the trickster god Loki. The basic of the game’s story seems simplistic, yet outrageously abnormal in scope at first glance, but it is also made enormously interesting throughout with its references to modern life, breaking of the fourth wall and quirky sense of humour. I was personally delighted to see that the developers had incorporated these same elements as they did in Stick It To the Man, and to witness them having built upon it. The game also excels in storytelling as well as gameplay, which in a market saturated with AAA games seemingly focusing on one and not the other, is always a breath of fresh air to me.

Originality – 8/10

This title is wonderfully unique in every single respect, from its wonderfully weird visuals to its staggering amount of gameplay variety to it’s coming together of many different ideas, which all form it’s own fully cohesive concept in terms of story. Ever since the start of the influx of indie games throughout the last two generations, it’s been fantastic to see so much depth and imagination implemented in the majority of these kinds of titles coming from many vastly creative developers, and this game is yet another excellent example of this.

Happii

Happii

In summation, Zombie Vikings is most definitely one of the best indie games I’ve played through 2015, and I would highly recommend it. It’s a vast improvement on what was a similar-looking yet exemplary game in it’s own right, and it makes me excited for what Zoink have in stall in the future.

Score

48.5/60

8/10 (Very Good)

WWF Wrestlemania 2000 (Nintendo 64 & Game Boy Colour)

Developer(s) – Asmik Ace Entertainment, AKI Corporation & Natsume

Publisher(s) – THQ & Asmik Ace Entertainment

Following the success of WCW Vs NWO: World Tour and WCW Vs NWO: Revenge, the World Wrestling Federation approached publishers THQ and tapped them to developed a WWF game using the same mechanics and visual style as the two aforementioned games; despite them being able to provide stern competition prior with the likes of WWF War Zone and WWF Attitude. The gamble, however, paid off greatly, commercially and artistically in my opinion, and whilst it’s disputed which THQ published WWF game is better out of this and WWF No Mercy, I prefer Wrestlemania 2000 for a number of reasons.

Graphics – 9/10

The primary reason why my own preference lies with Wrestlemania 2000 is because of the visuals. Not necessarily in terms of the game’s presentation from a technical standpoint, but from a conceptual one. The biggest advantage that this has over No Mercy is that the ringside intros are shown in full, and it was great to look at back in the day and think about how realistic it was, and it’s great to do it now for anyone who have been a fan of the WWF back around the Attitude era, and may be looking for the nostalgia factor.

Gameplay – 9/10

In game, players and fans will want for nothing. There is a plethora of different features and game modes that will keep players busy for hours on end. They can choose to go through a career mode, or of course set up multiplayer exhibition matches, or apart from that, each primary annual WWF event is available for players to try out, such as King of the Ring, Summer Slam, Survivor Series etc. The only criticism I have towards the gameplay is that the career mode is a little bit inaccessible compared to the difficulty level of the rest of the game, but it’s not to the point of being unbearable.

Controls – 9/10

The control scheme is almost perfect, if not for the fact that the movement can be a little bit awkward, and at times, it may be just as awkward to land a specific hit or perform a specific move. Apart from that, however, they work just as well as they did in WWF War Zone or WWF Attitude, and to a slight extent, I found that they are an improvement on the previous THQ wrestling games as well.

Originality – 6/10

The entire game is basically a carbon copy of both WCW Vs NWO: World Tour and WCW Vs NWO: Revenge, but I’m far too apprehensive to deduct too many marks for this, since that was the whole point of tapping THQ as publisher anyway. WWF liked this style of play, and wanted to adopt it for their games and all things considered, it worked splendidly. The formula would arguably be improved upon with new gameplay features with the Advent of WWF No Mercy, but as a starting point, this game was far more than a mere question of trial and error.

Happii

Happii

To summarize, WWF Wrestlemania 2000 is my favourite wrestling game of all time. Though I was impressed with prior WWF games that came before this, and even the two THQ games that came before this, this title blew them all out of the water, and in my opinion, no other wrestling game has come close since.

Score

33/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Titanfall (Xbox 360 & Xbox One)

Developer(s) – Respawn Entertainment

Publisher(s) – Electronic Arts

Director – Steve Fukuda

Producer – Drew McCoy

One of the most highly anticipated games of last year, Titanfall was supposed to be Microsoft ace in the hole concerning the Xbox One; the title that would attract more people to align with their system as opposed to the PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, and for good reason in my opinion.

Graphics – 6/10

Compared with the conceptual design of many other science fiction games, it feels to me like the game is wanting, as to me, it looks like a watered down version of the game Hawken; marred down by element of both Call of Duty and Battlefield. The reason why it doesn’t lose too many marks in this category is because from a technical standpoint, the game is visually flawless. There are no glitches in site, and everything is extremely well polished.

Gameplay – 3/10

In a lot of ways, I can best describe this game as a middle finger to anyone who bought an Xbox One around the times of its launch. It was game eagerly anticipated for years, but ended up being overwhelmingly restricted in terms of gameplay, as not only is an Xbox Live subscription mandatory to play it, but there isn’t even a single player campaign mode; players having to instead contend with an online multiplayer campaign mode. Some would argue that Destiny was the same, but a PlayStation Plus subscription isn’t mandatory, and players can enjoy it whilst not having to pay an extra £40 on top what they paid for the game.

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the control scheme thankfully, since it ultimately plays out like any other run-of-the-mill first person shooter. Even when players embark in one of the titan robots, it plays out more or less exactly the same as it would if they were on foot. Whilst there may be no problems, henceforth why it loses no marks in this category, there’s nothing special about them either. It’s proof of how difficult it can be in this day and age to make an FPS that stands out among most.

Originality – 4/10

Because of the bog standard control scheme, and the visible lack of difference between playing on foot or in a titan, I don’t think for a second of Titanfall being the revolutionary game-changing title it was advertised as being at the time of its release. The restrictive gameplay makes it stand out somewhat, but for all the wrong reasons. To me, this title can be seen as not only vastly overrated, since it miraculously won over 60 gaming awards last year, but it can be seen as a lesson on how not to make a video game.

Angrii

Angrii

In summation, Titanfall is most definitely one of worst games of 2014. It’s one of many reasons to buy a PlayStation 4 as opposed to an Xbox One, and makes me think that if the developers want an entire franchise to spawn from this one wretched game, then making the sequel multi-platform should be the tip of the iceberg. Major improvements need to be made in every other aspect in my opinion.

Score

23/40

5.5/10 (Below Average)

Tekken 3 (Arcade, PlayStation & PlayStation 2)

Developer(s) – Namco

Publisher(s) – Namco

Director – Katsuhiro Harada

Tekken 3 is not only considered to be one of the greatest fighting games of all time, but many so regard it as one of the greatest games of all time. Receiving almost perfect scores from most publications at the time, citing its inclusion of a more diverse character roster, and its improved soundtrack and graphics over its predecessors. Overall, I think Tekken 2 is the better instalment out of the original trilogy, but this is a more than worthy sequel in my opinion.

Graphics – 8/10

The most noteworthy aspect of Tekken 3 is the dramatic change in artistic direction. Some classic characters are swapped out for new ones, and the appearances of many classic characters left in were also re-imagined; especially Yoshimitsu. It reminds me very much of how Midway tried to drastically branch out in terms of visuals whilst developing Mortal Kombat 3, when most of the palette-swapped ninja characters were either re-tooled or swapped out for more original looking characters. The arena designs in the third game are also massively improved on, and the FMV cutscenes featured in each characters arcade mode ending are also very well done. Tekken 3’s graphics were among some of the best that the PlayStation had to offer; comparable to the likes of Final Fantasies VII, VIII and IX, and it is made very apparent.

Gameplay – 7.5/10

What I like about Tekken 3 is that it is extremely accessible in the sense that it is patently open to both amateurs and professional fighting game players, and both sets of players can enjoy it regardless of experience. Tekken 3 has a good few game modes, including the Tekken Force mode, which presents a 2.5D side-scrolling form of gameplay very similar to Streets of Rage. But what I like most about paying through Tekken 3 is the plethora of unlockable characters available to obtain. It’s extremely satisfying to play through the arcade mode with each of these characters and see how their stories end. But I think that if the Tekken Force mode was built on much more than it was, then Tekken 3 could have potentially been a lot more addictive than it is. It was actually one of the first examples of 2.5D side-scrolling gameplay, and it could have done with having some more emphasis being put onto it to make the game much more interesting.

Controls – 10/10

My opinion of this game’s control scheme is identical to that of Injustice: Gods Among Us, or most other fighting game; there are no problems, and its all down to either how fast players can mash buttons, or how effectively they can execute combos.

Lifespan – 10/10

I would estimate that it would take even inexperienced payers a maximum of 3 hours to unlock every character, and complete the arcade mode with every character. But after that, it simply becomes a game that can be picked up and played at player’s leisure, without the worry of making conformist progress.

Storyline – 5/10

The story of Tekken 3 revolves around a young fighter called Jin, who enters the third King of Iron Fist Tournament announced by his mentor Heihachi, in order to take revenge on the creature Ogre, who had presumably killed his mother. Although the basic premise is easy enough to understand, and each character has their own unique ending, apart from this, the game’s story is not elaborated on any further than that. People don’t generally play fighting games for their story, but the fact of the matter is that the story is present, but there isn’t very much depth to it. But still, it makes a lot more sense than the story of Injustice: Gods Among Us, and its much easier to follow.

Originality – 7.5/10

Of course, with the inclusion of the Tekken Force mode, Tekken 3 stands out among more or less every other fighting game of its time, and the developer’s expression of desire to branch out from an artistic point of view is more than apparent, as when I first played this game back in the day, whilst I knew I was playing an instalment of Tekken, I was quick to notice the amount of change that was implemented.

Happii

Happii

To sum up, Tekken 3 is indeed one of the greatest fighting games I have ever played, and I would recommend it to not only hardcore fighting game fans who may not have played it, but I would especially recommend it as a starting point to people who haven’t tried playing fighting games yet, as they will be able to make progress without throwing their controllers across their living rooms.

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)

Tekken 2 (PlayStation & Arcade)

Developer(s) – Namco

Publisher(s) – Namco

Director – Masamichi Abe

Producer – Hajime Nakatani

Making significant improvements over the original game, Tekken 2 was a best-seller in the UK in particular, but is also often regarded by most critics to be one of the greatest fighting games of all time; including me. Back around the time of it’s release, I spent a lot of time playing this game, since not only was there more to do and unlock than in the first, but it also seemed a lot more accessible.

Graphics – 7/10

The first of many enhancements made by the developers with the second game was in the graphics; most notably, the increased diversity in both level and character design. In many ways, it reminds me of the transition from Mortal Kombat II to III; only in this case, there was less for the developers to worry about, since there were considerably less palette-swapped characters in the original Tekken than in Mortal Kombat II. But regardless, they still managed to branch out in very different artistic directions in the way Midway did with Mortal Kombat III.

Gameplay – 8/10

As well as there being new modes added to keep things fresh compared to other fighting games of the time, there are seven more characters to unlock than in the first, with the introduction of a few new faces, as well as the classics. But with new characters also came new move sets for players to become accustomed to overtime, which in itself added more variety to the game than before. Though many of the move sets are simply recycled for all of the secret characters to use, unlocking them still felt particularly rewarding.

Controls – 10/10

I’ve always found it impressive how seamlessly fighting games made the transition from 2D to 3D throughout the fifth generation of gaming. The first Tekken had a particularly impressive control scheme, which presented no complications whatsoever. But the second game perfected this formula, as combat and movement was made a lot more fluent and even easier to cope with; which to me, is most probably the reason why the second game is a lot more accessible than the first by proxy.

Originality – 7/10

The developers also did relatively well to differentiate the Tekken franchise from other games in the genre; especially considering the fact that the franchise was not originally intended to be a fighting game at all. It was one of the first to establish a stable storyline, as well as being one of the first to include 2D backdrops in 3D environments, which is still one of my favourite forms of graphical rendering to this very day. The second game built greatly upon what had already been accomplished with the first game, making it one of the most standout titles of the fifth generation in my opinion.

Happii

Happii

To summarize, Tekken 2 went leaps and bounds ahead of it’s predecessor, and still remains a very entertaining experience, which I would recommend to any fan of the fighting genre who may not have played it yet. As well as it being one of the best fighting games I’ve ever played, it’s also my favourite in the Tekken franchise overall.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Sword Master (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Developer(s) – Athena

Publisher(s) – Athena & Activision

Designer(s) – Hironobu Tamai & R. Nakashima

Released late into the shelf life of both the NES and the Famicom back in 1990, with the overseas released not happening until 1992, Sword Master was the sequel to Athena’s previous NES game Castle of Dragon, and is today considered an extremely weak effort on their part, and thus has fallen into considerable obscurity compared to may other NES games. And I must say, after having examined this title, and having come across a plethora of flaws, it’s very much deserved of it’s status.

Graphics – 2/10

Aside from bearing a striking resemblance to the original Castlevania, in terms of things like overworld map layout, colour scheme and character and enemy design, it also happens to be one of the most unpolished games I’ve ever played. A fair few NES games suffered from graphic glitches, but this game took it to new heights, with graphical errors appearing whenever a player attacks or is defeated. Just like in Castlevania, enemies are also engulfed in fames whenever they are defeated, which makes me question how much of this game can actually be attributed to its respective developers.

Gameplay – 4.5/10

The game is also extremely similar to the original Castlevania in many more ways than one; including the gameplay. The objective, as in many other video games at the time, is simply to get from point A to point B, fighting any or all enemies that stand in the way, and with the added challenge of a few boss fights thrown in for good measure. But the main reason why I believe this game should lose many marks is because it’s extremely bland even compared to the many different games that followed these tropes. Though this happened, games like Castlevania, Mega Man and Super Mario Bros had things going for them that no other game at the time did, such as heightened challenge, a heightened sense of non-linearity or greater gameplay variety. Unfortunately, this game has none of these things associated with it.

Controls – 10/10

The one positive thing I can point out about this game, however, is that unlike Castlevania, the controls don’t feel quite as stiff, and therefore, there is much less of a sense of unnecessary complication with the controls scheme. The movement speed may be more or less the same as the original Castlevania, but that doesn’t really too much to hinder what little gameplay there is.

Lifespan – 6/10

Though by today’s standards, 20 minutes will seem laughable to most gamers, it was about the average lifespan of a game for the time; indeed, even Super Mario Bros would take around that much time to complete given the right amount of experience. That being said, it’s hard to imagine that the developers wouldn’t have been able to add even a few more levels to make this game last a little bit longer. I guess they didn’t share Nintendo’s reservations about leaving empty space on a cartridge whilst developing their games.

Storyline – 3/10

The story is also practically non-existent, most likely confined to the game’s manual; a regular occurrence at this time, when emphasis on story in video games was a rarity. It involves a knight called Sword Master out to slay the evil duo of a demon and a wizard, which he apparently summoned. So not only is it very half-hearted, but it’s also very typical of the kind of story most video games would utilize; only in this game, there isn’t a princess seemingly being taken from one castle to the next.

Originality – 0/10

As well as this game being very boring, it’s also very unimaginative too. Although console gaming was still in a primitive form, and had yet to evolve into the highly standardized industry it is today, far better games than this had already been developed before on the NES or Famicom, and as I’ve thoroughly outlined, this title failed to deliver the same kind of classic gaming experience synonymous with other NES games.

Angrii

Angrii

To summarize, Sword Master is a classic example of developers creating a game haphazardly, and failing in almost every aspect imaginable. Activision have since gone on to publish much greater games than this, but things started out primitively upon heir breakaway from Atari, and this game is a prominent example of which.

Score

25.5/60

4/10 (Poor)