GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 60 – 51

Heavenly Sword Main

Here we go, 60-51 in GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games!

A quick recap on how I decided who came where:

I decided, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them. This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

A few provisos before we hit the next ten games…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices 😆 ) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 🙂

Let’s crack on with the next ten…

 

60. PAPERBOY (ZX Spectrum)

Paperboy

I reckon most people in the world have played Paperboy, with it’s near crushingly difficult streets and inhabitants. This is one of those games that will have you screaming in frustration one moment and celebrating a perfect delivery in the next. There are objects flying at you from every direction and all you’re trying to do is deliver the papers. Also loved the training sections at the end with the ramps etc. A nice slice of gaming history.

 

59. RAINBOW SIX VEGAS 2 (Playstation 3)

Rainbow Six Vegas 2

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 was a great follow up title featuring more of the same tactical SWAT style shenanigans. If you like your shooters fast and furious (ala Killzone 2) then this won’t be for you. Methodical planning and several ways to strike make this a tactical dream. But it’s still a FPS at heart and there are a few frantic firefights waiting for you as you return to the Strip.

 

58. HEAVENLY SWORD (Playstation 3)

Heavenly Sword

Heavenly Sword was supposed to be THE game to showcase the power of the PS3. But somehow everyone got caught up in how good Nariko’s hair looked and the game got itself some lukewarm reviews, with it’s short length (5 Hours) cited as a problem. For me this was a fun hack n slash that actually did a few bits better than the genre defining God Of War games (combos for a start). Yes it was short but it was really enjoyable and the cut scene graphics still rank up there as among the best I’ve seen. Worth checking out, especially as you can get it for about a tenner now.

 

57. STREET FIGHTER IV (Playstation 3)

Street Fighter IV

As comebacks go Street Fighter IV has to be up there with the best of them. Other than Mortal Kombat  nothing had come close to touching Street Fighter II for years – Tekken on the PSOne was the most fun following SF II but we all knew Ryu and co. wouldn’t be beaten. So imagine our surprise when the trailer for SF IV turned up. Sweet artistic graphics? Check. Decent roster of old and new characters? Check. Same move sets but with a few added extras? Check. Street Fighter IV is one of the best looking fighting games ever. And the fact they retained the move sets means anyone who has ever played Street Fighter II can pick this up and get involved straight away.

 

56. DESERT STRIKE (Sega Mega Drive)

Desert Strike

Desert Strike sees you piloting a helicopter on covert missions in the Middle East. Whether it’s blowing up satellites or rescuing M.I.A’s (soldiers Missing In Action, not the pop star 🙂 ) you will have a blast. Using a mixture of machine gun, rockets and hellfires (big rockets 😆 ) you will be tasked with all sorts of missions. The ‘copter was a bitch to control most of the time but that only made it more fun; seeing yourself bounce off a building as you reverse at full speed always raised a chuckle. Memories of my Dad being up until 3am playing this also raise a smile 😀

 

55. CAPTAIN COMMANDO (Arcade)

Captain Commando

For years this was known as the ‘game with the baby, y’know, the baby in the robot suit’ by me and my brother – much to the confusion of 99% of people we were trying to explain it to. This arcade machine suddenly appeared in a local shop one day and once we played it we were hooked. It’s essentially a re-skinned Final Fight but with the added bonus of being able to use ED-209 style bots throughout the levels. Oh and did I mention the BABY IN A ROBOT SUIT! 😎

 

54. MIRROR’S EDGE (Playstation 3)

Mirrors Edge

I completely applaud EA for putting this title out and trying something new. This is a game that is totally first person (while you play) but involves very little shooting and lots of parkour and hand to hand combat. It’s not often a company will take a punt on something as ambitious as this and it has it’s problems but Mirror’s Edge has a lot of heart and it was a great gaming experience – possibly one that might shape future first person games so that they aren’t all shooters.

 

53. ROBOCOP (ZX Spectrum)

Robocop ZX

Man, I loved Robocop on the ZX Spectrum. Shooting criminals, then putting together photofit ID’s of them. Then shooting some more… This was one of those games that looked amazing in the arcade and… quite frankly didn’t on Spectrum. However the gameplay was there and I spent a lot of time on the streets, trying to wipe out the OCP scum 😎

 

52. SPACE INVADERS (Arcade)

Space Invaders

Another classic like Pacman – the gameplay of this title is almost ingrained in our pysche. Defending yourself from the hoardes of aliens, while trying no to shoot at your own shields is one of the most basic yet fulfilling gaming experiences. This was back in the days when there weren’t levels as such, or an end to the game. It was all about the points. And they were there to be racked up in Space Invaders, as you faced huge numbers of enemies. There’s something almost tragic in the fact that basically you can’t survive the invasion – it’s just a case of fighting them off for as long as possible before dying as they take over 😥

 

51. RACE DRIVER: GRID (Playstation 3)

GRID

Race Driver GRID is one of the best driving games on the market and featured a revolutionary new gameplay mechanic enabling drivers to rewind the race (up to 4 times) and effectively have another go at that tricky corner or overtaking manouvre. It really does bring a whole new dimension to the gameplay, making people more likely to take risks and therefore have more exciting races. The graphics of the game itself are really impressive and the crash mechanics are up there with the Motorstorm series. The World Tour mode is very deep and offers plenty of different options. Definitely one to pick up if you don’t already own.

 

So there we go, we’re at the halfway stage!!

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Fight Night Round 4 – Review (PS3)

FightNight2

I’ve been looking forward to Fight Night Round 4 for years – literally. Round 3 was released way back in 2006 so I’ve been eagerly keeping my eyes and ears open for news on a fourth installment. I was happy to find out last year that the game was scheduled for 2009.

I really enjoyed Fight Night Round 3 but it was just a graphical overhaul (albeit a very good one) of the Playstation 2 version.

Following on from my Demo Impressions blog I can confirm that the changes we wanted have been made for Round 4.

Firstly the knockdowns – rather than a set animation you now have a more fluid way of falling to the canvas. It’s much improved and while not perfect (you will sometimes see the same fall more than once) it’s probably as good as they are gonna get it.

Secondly the overpowered haymakers – this has definitely been sorted. Now not every haymaker stuns an opponent which is great news and the ones that do feel like solid punches that would genuinely do damage. Also being stunned doesn’t always mean you’re on your way down now.

FightNight1

In the previous game getting hit with a haymaker saw your health drop to almost nothing and a punch or two would be enough to drop you, regardless of what stage the fight was at. Now your remaining health flashes red, your boxer staggers slightly, you are slow in getting your guard up and whilst your opponents shots take off more health it’s easier to clinch or just soak up a little punishment to survive.

It makes the game a lot more interesting and fights seem to last a longer. In multiplayer fights in Round 3 you were often done in 2 or 3 rounds whereas in Fight Night Round 4 that is still possible, but most fights seem to go 5 or 6 rounds. You really feel like each fight is a battle now.

You use the left stick to move your boxer with the right stick controlling punches. So push the right stick up to the left – left jab. Push it up to the right – right jab. Holding L1 and moving the left stick leans, while R1 and the right stick blocks. It takes a while to get used to but it’s such a great control system.

The career mode is horrendously addictive – you create a boxer (or use a legend/current boxer) and take them on the journey that is their boxing career.

Let me briefly interrupt myself to discuss Photo Game Face, something EA has been pushing recently. I thought I would give it a try – basically you need a photo of yourself front on and side on then you move lots of crosshairs to indicate where your eyes/nose are etc. Once that’s done you can play around with some sliders to tweak your appearance and voila!

Now I always create myself whenever this sort of career mode arises and this is the closest I have ever got. Seriously, everyone I’ve shown it to has been impressed. It will probably add 15/20 mins onto your create time but it’s worth it (and you can use the face on any EA game without having to recreate it at all). NB. My main tip once you get to the slider part is get your wife/girlfriend to give you a hand as they can tell you what you look like better than a mirror and mine certainly wouldn’t have have looked as good without some help!

FightNight3

Anyway, back to career mode – you schedule your own fights on the calendar and get to put some training in first. Training is only 1 or 2 sessions and you can auto train but only get 50% of the possible benefits. I kept up with the training until I got into the top 5 then I switched to auto from there.

So you’ll fight and work your way up the rankings. You start ranked 50th and the first four or five guys you fight will pretty much be punchbags but once you hit the top 30/25 things will be more challenging.

I certainly found it a struggle once I got to the Top 15 – I was losing lots of fights on decision and didn’t have the stamina. So I changed tactics and didn’t go hell for leather which helped and really improved things – I still lost fights here and there but it was a steady climb from there.

Until a four hour session last weekend saw me clinch the EABC (Electronic Arts Boxing Comission) title. I was most pleased and it was even sweeter as it was at the second attempt following a 9th round KO defeat in my previous attempt.

There is more than one belt in each weight division and I believe you can also switch weights if you wish – however it took me until age 32 (starting at 18) to win the title so I doubt I’ll have much chance to switch weights! 😆

FightNight4

For me that makes it great – the fact I didn’t breeze through beating everyone up is a plus. My record currently is 21 Wins (17 by KO) 17 Losses and 1 Draw (I was robbed 🙂 ). 17 defeats is quite high but I reckon more than half of them were times I just couldn’t finish the man off and lost on points.

I even had my trainer begging me to quit (three times – it was a new low for a career mode in gaming 😆 ) but like Rocky I stuck it out and eventually got the belt.

The thing I love about this game though is the fact it’s a great pick up and play title. Anyone can get involved once they know the basic controls and while not as bad as a button masher they can still give you a good fight while frantically rotating the sticks in any direction 🙂

I’d recommend this to anyone, it’s great fun and has a surprisingly deep career mode.

Rating: 9/10

The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler: Review (Book)

BigSleep

I’d heard how great this book was and that the film version was also supposed to be really good. So when scanning our bookshelves for something to read I thought I’d give it a shot.

Turns out that was a very wise move.

The Big Sleep is the story of gumshoe private detective Philip Marlowe. Available for 25 bucks a day (+ expenses) he’s the man to turn to if you have a problem you need investigated.

Written in 1939 the book still stands up today as a brilliant work of fiction – a short, sharp, concise story that flows throughout.

It’s the original from which most of our ideas of private detectives come and has certainly been a huge influence on scores of story-tellers and film makers.

Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich, elderly gentleman who has been blackmailed regarding some debts his daughter has run up.

This starts a chain of events leaving some dead, some in prison and some with their hands very dirty indeed.

The Big Sleep is written with a great sense of it’s characters – Marlowe of course shines but the supporting cast are also well formed and believable characters.

I found it amazing that Raymond Chandler had managed to squeeze so much into a story that spans only 250 pages!

I suspect The Big Sleep wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste but if you like a good mystery or enjoy a good gumshoe story (Louie Knight is always a favourite of mine) then you should most definitely check this one out.

Rating: 9/10

GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games: 70 – 61

Motorstorm Pacific Rift

Here we go, 70-61 in GregHorrorShow’s Top 100 Games!

A quick recap on how I decided who came where:

I decided, as so many games mean so many different things to me, I should come up with a fair way to judge them. This is what I came up with:

Time Spent Playing

Storyline

Difficulty

Fun

Ground Breaking?

A few provisos before we hit the next ten games…

Firstly this is my list of my Top 100 games. I certainly don’t expect you guys to agree with it (though hopefully you’ll agree with some of the choices 😆 ) and would welcome any comments.

Secondly, I’m not planning on putting the scores or totals up, just listing the games in the order they came out in.

Lastly, I never owned a Nintendo or Microsoft console so my experiences on these games were limited to friend’s houses etc – bite me 🙂

Let’s get going…

 

70. BLACK (Playstation 2)

Black

Black was the first real ‘Hollywood’ first person shooter. Presentation took over from gameplay as they squeezed every last drop of graphical power from the PS2 – proving the console wasn’t quite on it’s last legs as predicted. This game packed in some amazing set pieces and at times it honestly felt like you were playing a film. The level in the shower room was among the best I’ve played in a FPS and I was always surprised a follow up never emerged.

 

69. RESIDENT EVIL 5 (Playstation 3)

Resi Evil 5

Chris Redfield returns, only this time he’s scooted across to Africa to deal with an outbreak. Teaming up with Sheva the player has the option to play co-op or with an AI buddy in tow. That’s the main addition to the game following on from Resident Evil 4. That and the fact a lot of it takes place in the sunlight. The game was well paced and finally the zombies got machine guns 😆 I really enjoyed getting back into the Resident Evil universe but I wasn’t really blown away by the fifth in the series.

 

68. SPACE HARRIER (ZX Spectrum)

Space Harrier

I used to love Space Harrier on the Spectrum. Flying round with your awesome rocket / jet pack shooting stuff 😎 Again same as the other Spectrum games you had to casette load between levels 😦 Not really sure if there was a story but you’d blast through serious amounts of enemies while using flight to avoid incoming enemy fire. I remember playing this for ages on a little black and white TV and then seeing it in the arcade – it was soooo colourful! Not that a colour TV would’ve helped at home, the Spectrum version didn’t quite have the same look as the arcade one 😉

 

67. MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT (Playstation 3)

Motorstorm PR

One of the best racing games I’ve played. This truly is fun. The risk/reward of the boost adds a lot to the game and the addition of heating up/cooling down your boost bar makes for some tactical driving. Sadly the online part has never really worked for me so I haven’t had quite the happy experience I did with the first Motorstorm. But this is an improvement in almost every way, on an already impressive game.

 

66. GOLDENEYE (N64)

Goldeneye

Often called the ultimate first person shooter Goldeneye revolutionised the genre to such an extent it’s often the first game on many lips when talking multiplayer. I never owned an N64 but I had plenty of long sessions at mates houses during university. They really struck a near perfect balance between the weapons and the level design was brilliant. This is a game everyone should have played and it has helped shaped FPS’ers ever since.

 

65. FOOTBALL MANAGER (ZX Spectrum)

Football Manager

Oh the joys of a football (soccer for my US chums) management game. 🙂 This was the first major management sim I remember and regardless of the (loveable) stick men graphics the gameplay was addictive as any title out there now. I don’t recall having much success, despite several signings and no real save feature meant a season usually had to take place in one sitting *gulp* But that was cool with us! Good times had by plenty with this one and despite being wholly unsuccessful it whetted my appetite for further spells in football management 😎

 

64. MARIO KART (Super Nintendo)

Mario Kart

Mario Kart was a staple of most kids gaming lives in the 1990’s and I was no different. The vibrant cartoon graphics and the wonderfully thought out weapons made this a stand out title. How many of us have been leading only to be hit by a red turtle shell? Or indeed benefitted from a burst of invincibilty? Many others have tried, and failed, to replicate this formula – in fact Twisted Metal probably came closest and that is way too dark for kids 😆

 

63. SOS: FINAL ESCAPE (Playstation 2)

SOS Final Escape

A fantastic idea and one I feel disappointed didn’t make it to a wider audience. Effectively your character survives an earthquake and it’s up to you to help him get back to civilisation without succombing to the many death traps the disaster has left in your way. There are no guns or violence here, you’ll be using your wit and puzzle solving skills. I’m not a big fan of puzzle games but this was presented really well and it felt like a proper adventure.

 

62. WWF SMACKDOWN 2 (Playstation 2)

WWF Smackdown

As I mentioned earlier I was into WWF when I was a kid in the late 80’s / early 90’s but it was a wrestling game in the late 90’s that I ended up playing the most. WWF Smackdown 2 had one of the deepest career modes I’ve ever seen. It was great fun creating your wrestler and seeing them go through the various stroylines etc. It was almost like a role playing game. I had no idea who most of the other wrestlers were tbh, other than the famous ones like The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin but that didn’t matter because it was all about your created guy. And that made this a quality, fun title.

 

61. TRACK AND FIELD (Arcade)

Track And Field

This was an absolute arcade classic – hitting the buttons as fast as you can while taking part in various athletic based events. I’m sure more than a few kids were left with crippling hand/finger injuries after extended sessions on this! And how cool was the guys moustache 🙂

 

Our next batch covers 60-51 and then it’s time for the Top 50 GregHorrorShow Games!

Stay tuned…

Spin Offs The Way Forward For PSP?

AssassinsCreedBloodLines

Having just watched the first proper trailer of Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines for the PSP (which you can see HERE), I have to say I’m impressed.

Obviously it doesn’t look as nice as it’s PS3 cousin but it certainly packs a graphical punch. The game covers the period between Assassin’s Creed and the sequel (due out later this year).

It got me thinking that this type of spin off game really is perfect for the PSP platform.

With ports of PS3 games you’re bound to judge them against their more powerful counterparts, which is unfortunate as they will never match up to them.

But using a PSP game to fill in the blanks between PS3 titles is a brilliant idea because you can get further into the game’s universe and learn more about the characters. All while (hopefully) playing a great game as well.

It’s like a spin off TV show from a movie (Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles etc) except because of the format it’s a lot less limited in terms of what you can do.

ResistancePSPSpin

Resistance: Retribution is a really good example of this. It was a great looking title that delivered well on gameplay and story.

You had a new main character but a few old favourites turned up to make you feel at home and remind you this title is part of a bigger picture games-wise.

Some of the best PSP games have been spin offs: God Of War – Chains Of Olympus, GTA: Liberty City Stories etc but I’d love to see more of them.

Imagine game universes like those in Infamous, Prototype, Red Faction or Dead Space. Wouldn’t you like to know more about them?

Kessler - Infamous

It would be brilliant to maybe play through some of the events InFamous’ Kessler went through before the PS3 game is set.

Or maybe play through a new character’s experience of the marker from Dead Space.

The possibilities really are endless and as long as the games themselves are up to scratch I imagine they’d sell pretty well.

Another spin off announced at E3 was Resident Evil for the PSP. This could be really cool – I imagine it’ll be like the Ada Wong missions you got after finishing Resident Evil 4 (which clocked in almost as long as a proper game). Should be cool – now I’m just wondering who the game will follow? Sheva? Leon?

ResiPSP

I know I’d much rather play something like Resistance: Retribution or Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines than ports like, say, The Simpsons or Tomb Raider.

Hopefully as the PSP grows in popularity we’ll see plenty more of these types of games, I for one would certainly love to explore more of the great game universes that have been created recently.

Music – “Takin’ You Back To The Old Skool”

Discman

It’s amazing how music can bridge the gap between the past and now.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s months or years there is a song that ‘takes you back.’

I read a great book called “Your Brain On Music” by Dan Levitin – it explains how music recognition works within the brain and reveals the amazing fact that an imprint of every song you’ve ever heard is in your brain – just waiting to be reactivated.

It is a wonderfully interesting book if you love music and is definitely worth checking out.

But I digress…

I love that feeling, almost like a rush of adrenalin, when you hear a track you haven’t heard for ages and you’re suddenly catapulted back to the past.

For some tracks it’s a specific memory, I recently heard ‘Stop’ by The Spice Girls on TV and I remembered my mate’s Dad driving us home, with that on the radio (it was No.1 at the time I believe), the morning after all night session at another friend’s house.

BranVan3000

Others are more generic memories – Bran Van 3000 ‘Drinking In LA’ popped up on random on my ipod a few weeks ago and I was back to the summer it was released. No specific memory, just a feeling of it being sunny and warm.

I remember having ‘Turtle Power’ by Partners In Kryme taped on VHS with loads of other stuff we recorded off the Chart Show on TV. Me and my brother played the video all the time and dancing/messing around. Happy days. I heard it for the first time in years last week and I was transported back.

I also find it amazing that small children can pick up on things so quickly and almost all of them love music. My 2 year old daughter now has her own playlist on Vidzone of stuff she likes. She loves dancing around to it: Abba ‘Mamma Mia’, La Roux ‘In For The Kill’, Prodigy ‘Warrior Dance’ – she sings along with everything.

One of the best musical inventions of recent times is the ipod and the advent of digital music.

I remember having tapes in my walkman on the bus to school and as we got more advanced Cd’s in my discman – but it seems so limited. Especially carrying round 10 cds! It sounds insane.

I have a playlist of stuff I’ve rated 4 or 5 stars – it has almost 3,000 tracks in it. There is nothing better than sticking than playlist on random and seeing what comes up.

Plenty of great old tracks to fire up the synapses and get the memories flowing!

Fools Gold – Review (Film)

FoolsGold

One of my guilty pleasure films is ‘How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days’ starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. And it was the promise of that kind of chemistry that tempted me into giving ‘Fools Gold’ a spin, despite pretty negative reviews across the board.

Ben Finnegan (McConaughey) is being divorced by his wife Tess (Hudson) after years of treasure hunting together. He barely makes it to the divorce hearing on time but gets a chance to tell Tess about his latest discovery – a piece of a plate that was aboard a Spanish fleet of ships carrying treasure in the 1700’s.

And so begins what I imagine is supposed to be an Indiana Jones/Romancing The Stone type affair but what it is in fact, a predictable and fairly pointless film.

FoolsGold2

Firstly, I can’t stand it when they use semi famous (or famous for that matter) actors in a context whereby it would’ve been better using local actors.

‘Cock-er-nee geezer’ Ray Winstone plays Finnegan’s American treasure hunter rival Mo. I’ve nothing against Ray Winstone but his accent was terrible. Why couldn’t a) he have used his normal accent or b) the makers just used an American actor.

Same goes for the two Jamacian ‘stooges’ of one of the bad guy characters (one of whom is Theo from the Cosby show). Could they not find two decent Jamacian actors? Seriously.

And why make poor old Ewan Bremner Ukranian? The US audience would’ve had enough trouble with his Scottish brogue never mind East Europe via Scotland.

The script is funny is places but it’s all so obvious it’s almost insulting.

The millionaire’s daughter Gemma (Alexis Dziena) is pretty much a waste of everybody’s time although I did think the two gay chefs were fairly amusing.

FoolsGold3

The chemistry between McConaughey and Hudson just doesn’t seem to be there – at least not in the same strength as ’10 Days.’

Fool’s Gold probably could’ve been a clever little treasure hunter movie with a different cast. It looks gorgeous – the locale around Southern Australia is amazing – and it really captures the beauty of the area.

As events take a slightly more gritty turn in the last 20 minutes or so things improve but really that just enforced the feeling that this could’ve been a much better film with a little more edge.

Rating: 5/10