summer of arcade Archives

Summer of Arcade: Part 5.

Rounding out the final week is an old school beat-em-up: Castle Crashers.

To be honest, I loved beat-em-ups as a kid: Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, The Simpsons Arcade…. The genre’s kind of died out these days. One of the last good old-fashioned style beat-em-ups I played a few years back that was of any notable praise were the Lord of the Rings games from EA and the TMNT game from Ubisoft(!) on the GBA(!!).

Castle Crashers is not only a neat homage to a semi-dying genre, but a funny and colorful game in its own right. The levels are well done, there are plenty of things to find, plenty of new gameplay elements introduced to keep things new and exciting, lots of homages to other games, plenty of stuff to find, and it’s a blast to play with friends. I’ve been systematically converting my friends to get the game so we can play online together. I’ve still got a ways to go before I complete the game, but I’ve been finding the overall experience funny, clever, and just enjoyable to rip through multiple hordes of enemies.

So here resides the fifth game Read the rest of this entry

Summer of Arcade: Part 4.

Galaga Legions. Brought to you by the same people who made Pac-Man: Championship Edition. That fact alone secured my fourth purchase during the Summer of Arcade.

The game is fun. People are trying to make comparisons to Geometry Wars 2 with it, but you really can’t. It’s a different type of shooter. I don’t car much for the new style graphics, but the retro skin is nostalgically wonderful. The shooting is also fast-paced and crazy, with stuff literally filling the entire screen and coming from you in every direction.

The satellites are actually pretty cool. Two break-away pieces of your ship that can be positioned anywhere in any direction on the screen. It’s fun to try not using them, but there are moments that seem absolutely mandatory.

It’s not quite as faithful to the original, such as Pac-Man: CE was. The biggest difference being the ship can move all over the screen as opposed to left and right, and the ship capture mechanic has you stealing enemy ships instead of adding a second ship for dual firing. But it’s an interesting concept, and the screen gets crazy with al the stuff to shoot, to Read the rest of this entry

Summer of Arcade: Part 3.

I’ve spent a miniscule amount of time looking at some of the SOE FanFaire here in Vegas, mostly because a friend of mine is in town and he got me into the opening reception. Other than that tiny view of some of their games, I’ve not seen much, but it’s fine, as I was more glad to see my friend.

That said, true to word, I downloaded Bionic Commando: Rearmed this past week, which continues another solid entry in the “Summer of Arcade” series. The best way to sum up the experience is that if you liked Bionic Commando on the NES, you’re going to like it here.

The game has been updated with (obviously) better graphics, a soundtrack that will keep the experience exciting (it’s funny how most of these old-school game soundtracks have a more “Epic” feel in scope despite the hardware and sound limitations), and solid control. They’ve removed “pseudo-Hitler” (or Master D) from the game, changing him to look less, well, Hitler-y, and if his head still explodes at the end, I’ve not gotten there yet to verify either way. But it’s a moot point in the long run. Bionic Commando is still fun Read the rest of this entry

Summer of Arcade: Part 2.

I’m taking a few days to let these titles soak in before I comment on them. Braid is definitely one that meets that need.

People are going to either like or hate Braid. I’m in the “like” camp.

It’s simply a beautiful game that looks like a watercolor painting. The design is wonderful, the music is soothing, and I’ve chuckled as the game makes some not-too-subtle homages to Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. – Even the story itself, with it’s “Find the Princess” seems to be more a metaphor than an actual quest objective.

The puzzles can numb the mind at times, but the answers are there right in front of you, and once you figure it out, they make very logical sense. So you don’t have to run off to another level or world to solve a puzzle. But you can just bounce through the levels and clear the worlds with minimal effort to rack up a few easy achievement points. But you’ll miss the point of the game, and certainly won’t “finish” the game by any means.

At $15, it’s a little pricey, but it’s well worth it to delve in such a beautiful and original Read the rest of this entry

Summer of Arcade: Part 1.

Since the 360 is getting all hyped for August’s gaming line-up (enough to have a theme and a contest), I figured I might as well share in the enthusiasm as the next few weeks look to be great in terms of downloadable games.

The first from the series is Geometry Wars 2. After spending a few days with it, it’s a very pleasant upgrade from the original that doesn’t deviate from the original formula.

Although the original “Evolved” version is included as one of the sequel’s six modes, it’s still a fun game to play. The six modes are:

* Deadline – Which is the standard game on a timer.
* King – A king of the hill sort of game that the ship can only shoot in the circles provided.
* Evolved – Which is what it is (the original game, with a few new enemies).
* Pacifism – The old achievement from the first game, which is now devilishly hard and addictive.
* Waves – Survive droves of the new enemy orange ships.
* Sequence – A set series of challenges to endure.

It’s all good fun, with new score increasers called “Geoms” that push the muli-scoring aspect to new heights, up to four player simultaneous Read the rest of this entry

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