It’s been a while, readers. But I’m back. That’s right, the PhD is over. Submitted and awaiting viva! Throughout these past few months, I haven’t stopped playing games entirely. Still, my enjoyment of life in general has increased dramatically now, and that extends to games too. After listening to a recent Retronauts episode about the Gradius series, I decided to dust off my copy of the expansively named Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus for the trusty Sega Saturn. I’d always been curious, so why not try these spin-offs of a beloved series?
Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus is a collection of three arcade games, namely Salamander, Life Force, and Salamander 2. The former two, which I’ll cover first, are variations on the same basic game released within a year of one another in 1986-7. Salamander 2, by comparison, released almost ten years later in 1996, and is a more modern iteration on the series formula. These games all riff on similar level themes, bosses and structure, many of these themselves nabbed from the Gradius series. For instance, every game alternates between horizontal and vertical scrolling stages, and contains a mix of biological and sci-fi themed stages. Continue reading
Reputed to be one of Treasure’s best games and one of the most ambitious shmups of all time, Gradius V is the stuff of legend. Expensive and difficult to track down on its native PS2, thanks to the PS3’s online store it is finally within easy reach for PS3 owners. And at a cheap price too! Having sunk my teeth into it at long last, I’m happy to say that in my opinion this game’s glowing reputation is justified.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Gradius V is the way it shakes up the conventions of the traditional 2D shooter genre. When I wrote about Shienryu on PS1 in my most recent shmup review, I concluded that it was competent in all areas but inspired in none. Gradius V is similarly competent, retaining the tried and true gameplay mechanics of the Gradius series, but this fifth entry is also incredibly inspired, adding puzzle elements into a genre that is generally much more taxing on your thumbs than your brain. Continue reading
You don’t just forget about something like Konami’s presentation at E3 2010. Unless you happen to be me. I had completely forgotten about this debacle until a “worst E3 moments” video list reminded me. There are of course, a great many awkward, funny, and yes, even weird E3 moments outside of Konami’s 2010 presentation. But Konami take the cake for cramming all of those merits and more into a single corporate press conference. By turns goofy, creepy, embarrassing, and incomprehensible, rest assured Konami provided gamers with an abundance of riches before their recent withdrawal from the traditional gaming market. Enjoy, and remember, you will be sucked.
We actually recorded this back during Halloween, not that it’s a particularly horror-themed show. This is our follow-up to last episode’s discussion of best ever gaming lists, as we dedicate 40 minutes to discussing our Best Games Ever of All-Time. Things get a bit confusing – is it a top 5? A top 10? How many lists are we doing? Are we combining them? – but somehow we fumble through to present our top 5 best games, followed by our top 5 favourite games. Which games will turn out on top?! All will be revealed… (Click “continue reading” to find our full lists for reference!)
Episode 12: Scientifically Verified Best Games of All-Time
Download episode… (MP3)
I haven’t written for our blog in a while – because I’m moving house! As I sit here, surrounded by boxes, suitcases, bags and random objects, I feel inspired to write about the ultimate moving-house-wish-fulfillment game (I wish I had a capture gun right now). Eledees, also known as Elebits in the US, was one of the first games to be released on the Wii, but you wouldn’t know it because it’s one of those many underrated Wii gems. Continue reading