Hart & Usagi #89: Phone Club

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On episode 89 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we chat about a variety of topics like Telltale breaking labor laws, breaking and entering to play the NES, and more.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Only ’80s Kids Remember: Breaking Into Houses to Get an NES Fix
* Sony Says It Has Fixed the PlayStation 4 Message Bug That’s Been Causing Consoles to Crash
* Red Dead Redemption 2’s 100-Hour Weeks Are Nothing New for Rockstar
* Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition update will improve the speed of the game’s inputs
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night On PS4 Won’t Have The Iconic “What Is A Man?” Scene
* Telltale hit with class-action lawsuit for breaking labor laws
* PS Vita Production in Japan Will End in 2019, No Successor Planned
* Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle Smashes its Way to PlayStation 4
* The PlayStation Classic is Going to Have a Much Harder Time Selling its Nostalgia Next to the SNES Classic

Listen or Download (1:09:39)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

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Now Playing: December 2013

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This month of video game greatness has had me log nine total games played with four of them finished.

The first up was Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom. This 1993 beat-’em-up arcade game isn’t as exciting as I was hoping. It’s not to say that Capcom didn’t do well on the game. I guess there’s more to the game than I was expecting. I’m sure to pick it back up in the future to get a better feeling for it.

The next three titles, The Mark of Kri, Kirby’s Dream Land 2, and Sleeping Dogs have been talked about in their own blog posts. Check them out at the links provided above.

As gamers know, Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii has been praised much upon its release. One thing I realized while playing it is that I’m not one of those people. I also figured one other thing. I don’t think I’m as interested (or skilled) in platformers than I like to fancy myself as. This was evident while playing Kirby’s Dream Land 2, but much more so with Super Mario Galaxy.

There’s also several issues I think SMG actually suffers from. Here’s bullet-point list of them.

  • The camera isn’t ideal for judging distance of jumps very well.
  • Swimming in most every game is bad, but controlling Mario underwater was particularly craptastic.
  • Spring Mario is the worst in control since the only way to move is by continuous jumping. It doesn’t help the use was normally on narrow paths.
  • The pull stars aren’t all that bad, but when needing to move quickly under a time constraint, like say a race, isn’t exactly what I call fun.

I know I might be seen as a bit too picky about my complaints, but I did stick with the game for over 12 hours.

I played some of the DS exclusive title Space Invaders Extreme 2. Just like the previous game, the music is really great and the visual style gets me in the right mood to shoot some of those pesky classic space invaders. I suggest getting either game if you’re into classic arcade score chasers!

Finally, along with Usagi704, we hooked up our original model PlayStation systems to separate televisions and connected the consoles together with the PlayStation Link Cable. We had some fantastic fun playing co-op in Doom. We finished around ten levels.

Yesterday we played some of the classic launch game Destruction Derby. I still really like that game. Getting through intersections by “threading the needle” (aka close calls) is still as thilling as ever!

We also played some of Mortal Kombat Trilogy (a non-link cable game) and Usagi played his Team Shenanigans in 2-on-2 Kombat consisting of Human Smoke and Kitana. My team was a combination of Scorpion, Cyrax, and Nightwolf. Some characters were given new moves. Nightwolf was given a red Shoulder Charge (←←→HK) which helps a lot to get in and stay in close. Scorpion was given a forward Teleport Punch (↓→HP) to keep opponents guessing. As usual I still get beat more than not, but overall still a fun time!

Enjoy the New Year!

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ONLINE PS2 GAMES
Recently I was wondering if any of my online enabled PS2 games would still have that service up and running. To my surprise quite a number of them still do. Sure it’s less than half, but it still amazed me that 12 of 20 games worked online.

There was one thing that was consistent with my findings. If GameSpy operated the online servers, you could guarantee that those games would still be playable.

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Burnout 3: Takedown
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
Call of Duty 3
Champions: Return To Arms
Flatout 2
Midnight Club II
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet: Deadlocked
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Urban Chaos: Riot Response

EA games seemed to be the ones that were the least likely to work. However it was odd that of the Burnout games tested Takedown worked while Revenge didn’t as you can see below in the list of games shut down.

Burnout Revenge
Everything or Nothing
Goldeneye: Rogue Agent
NFL Street 2
OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Project: Snowblind
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

SYSTEM LINK PS1 GAMES
In similar news, I was looking for a list of games that were system link compatible for the original PlayStation system since Usagi704 did buy the cable and I had got one of the original models.

Unfortunately there’s only apparently 30 games that have this option, as listed on Wikipedia, with quite a few being racing games of some type.

Of that list, I have Destruction Derby, Doom, Final Doom, and R4: Ridge Racer Type 4. I’m looking into a few of the others like The Need For Speed, Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012, and Armored Core among a couple more.

BORDERLANDS
Since my last blog post I’ve found some more fun to be had with Borderlands. I’m much quicker when comparing weapons and items and I don’t feel as much like a weakling anymore, though it still happens from time to time. Level 13 must be where the magic is. My current level is 20.

Trophies: 19 / 51 (37%)

1995 Game of the Year

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NOMINEES
Destruction Derby (PS)
Final Fight 3 (SNES)
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (SNES)
Mortal Kombat 3 (PS)
WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (PS)

1995 Game of the Year: Mortal Kombat 3
Runner-up: Destruction Derby

Most people would agree that none of those games listed above are worthy of even being nominees for Game of the Year and I would have to agree. However, these were the only ones that were listed on Wikipedia for a 1995 release. Chrono Trigger was one of those games, but obviously I can’t choose that game since I just started playing it.

Purely for just the amount of time I put into each of those games, MK3 reigns supreme. It was and still is an enjoyable port of the arcade game that I recommend above all other ports of the game.

The best way to sum up Destruction Derby is that it was Burnout before that series got started on the PS2. Probably the best two things about this game was the track Crossover and the Destruction Bowls. It was great fun for an early PlayStation game.

Previous entries: 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994

Calypso Grants My Wish

Watch out! Here comes a massive collection update. Behold 19 game additions and one system.

Last Thursday I went out to local store #1, It’s About Games. I did so for the GBA SP system. I was going to try and find the Pearl Blue system with the brighter screen, but that was proving to be extremely difficult to find. At least now I’ll have a color that will match the God of War edition PSP this June. I also added a single NES game to the order.

Game Boy Advance SP (red) – system & AC adapter (complete); excellent
Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones (NES) – game only; great

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The next day I stopped by Gamestop after a haircut. I wasn’t planning to get Spy Hunter, but at $2.99 I couldn’t pass that up. I made sure that I was really at Gamestop when I saw that price on a decently reviewed game. :D

Spy Hunter (PS2) – complete; fair

After that I decided to make the trip to Shelby to see what Stickman’s had in stock. As usual they didn’t disappoint, especially with the selection of Super NES games. I bought nine SNES games along with the original Twisted Metal game in the early PlayStation longbox.

Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle (SNES) – game only; great
Fighter’s History (SNES) – game only; fair
NBA Jam (SNES) – game only; excellent
Fatal Fury 2 (SNES) – game only; fair
The Lion King (SNES) – game only; great
Robocop Versus The Terminator (SNES) – game only; great
WWF Raw (SNES) – game only; excellent
Aero Fighters (SNES) – game only; good
Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse (SNES) – game only; great
Twisted Metal (PS) – complete; good

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Larger view

Those two days were great and then I received my eStarland.com order on Saturday. I ordered all of the Twisted Metal games that they had. The reason I got TMIII and TM4 is because I wanted to see first hand what’s wrong with them. I also had my eye on Mercs for the Genesis for some time once I found out that it had been released on a home console. I always liked that game in the arcade and since I didn’t have a Genesis during that time, I was totally unaware that it was ever on that system. It was a nice surprise when I read that on Wikipedia.

Destruction Derby (PS) – complete; good
Twisted Metal: Small Brawl (PS) – new
Twisted Metal III (PS) – complete; excellent
Twisted Metal 4 (PS) – complete; great
Mercs (GEN) – complete; excellent
Max Payne (PS2) – complete; good
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – complete; excellent

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To paraphrase Calypso: “I am Hart704, and I thank you for visiting my blog.”

Condition scale: Excellent, Great, Good, Fair, Bad, Poor

PlayStation Wish List

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A final list the Super Nintendo one was not. At this point in my history of video games I no longer rented any games. If I played any but didn’t own them it was because a friend had a copy. Two such games fall into that category.

Owned (12)
Destruction Derby*
Duke Nukem: Time to Kill
MDK*
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Mortal Kombat Trilogy
Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha
Street Fighter EX2 Plus
WCW Mayhem*
WCW/nWo Thunder
WWF Attitude
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
WWF War Zone*

Played (2)
Mortal Kombat 4
WWF In Your House

Never Played (9)
Area 51
Castlevania Chronicles
NBA Jam Tournament Edition
NFL Blitz
One
Quake II
Revolution X
Time Crisis
Time Crisis: Project Titan
WCW vs. The World

* I enjoyed playing the corresponding game.

I’m sure your first thought after looking at the above list is, “My that’s a lot of wrestling games.” It sure is. I was really into it during late-1998 and so I pretty much bought every wrestling game that I could. That included the good games (War Zone, the Smackdown series, Mayhem) and the bad games (Nitro, Thunder, Attitude).

In the same cash burning vain as Castlevania: Dracula X for the SNES. I’ll more than likely not be getting Castlevania Chronicles. Besides the poor graphics, even for the time, it looks too much like a remake of the original NES game in screenshots. That’s definitely not worth the asking price of $27.47 (woithout manual) all the way up to $49.95 (complete).

Another game that seems to be pretty expensive for the game only is Time Crisis: Project Titan. $24.95 is the price for a complete used copy. The original game is $9 less. At least I won’t be needing a light gun. I’m set with the Nyko Super Cobra Light Gun. It’s a beast.

Bad Games by Good Developers: Reflections

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I guess that this time I really should have titled the post “Good Games by Bad Developers.” The reason being is because unlike the previous one, with Naughty Dog, Reflections made a good game for their first time on a home console and after that there’s been little good since. The first game was Destruction Derby on the original PlayStation. It gave me my crazy car crashing fix before Criterion Games showed up with the Burnout series.

After loving the first Destruction Derby game. I was sure that I’d like its sequel. I did to an extent, but it wasn’t nearly as fun to play. From then on I didn’t sign up for the excitement anymore. In fact, that series was so off my radar that I didn’t realize, until more recently, that three other Destruction Derby games where made.

In mid-1999, Reflections started a new driving game series called Driver. I remember the TV ads being everywhere and I received it as a gift, even through I wasn’t looking to get it. The cheat codes for no damage and no police was the only way I remember being able to enjoy the game. Even then I was bored with it pretty quickly.

As you can see, I was happy with Reflections’ first console offer in Destruction Derby. But, soon after they went downhill and have yet to return.

GamePro magazine scans:
* Destruction Derby (888×1242, 536 KB)
* Destruction Derby 2 (920×1246, 529 KB)
* Driver (913×1250, 388 KB)

Destruction Derby 2 gameplay videos:
* Black Sail Valley
* Red Pike Arena