2011 Award Winners

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It’s now time to enter the strange world of the 2011 gaming awards from yours truly.

BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
When it comes to beat-’em-ups, I know what I like. It’s my favorite genre after all. I played a bunch of them this last year and Streets of Rage 2 is still the very best of what this genre has to offer.

To an extent Final Fight One on GBA is my preferred version over the arcade just because it isn’t as cheap and it has a few bonus extras like the Street Fighter Alpha versions of Cody and Guy to keep it fun.

The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, while simple, has a great music and play mechanics to keep this game out of licence game hell.

Capcom’s Knights of the Round was never one I got into very much before, but last year I played a bit of the SNES port. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. The character of Percival helped in this with his dashing ability.

Streets of Rage 2 (GEN, PSN)
Final Fight One (GBA)
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)
Knights of the Round (SNES)

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
I also know what a horrible beat-’em-up is. Revenge of the Wounded Dragons is definitely that. Cheap tactics are the order of the day and instead of using Dragon Rage to kill enemies off faster, I was standing still gaining health back. It was a frustrating game and its memory has stuck with me.

The boss fight on stage eight of Streets of Rage against the two women without the backup puts this game here. Plain and simple.

Magic Sword and Rush’N Attack aren’t as bad. But they did have things about them which made them less exciting. The former made you feel like you had to hurry through the stages, but doing so only made you take more damage. The latter was just a bit too simple, but other than that I can’t complain all that much about it.

Revenge of the Wounded Dragons (PSN)
Magic Sword (PSN)
Streets of Rage (PS3)
Rush’n Attack (NES)

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Whether it’s shooting rocks or ice in Super Stardust HD, playing Plinko in Peggle, or block stacking in Tetris, there’s always a friend who’s score you’re trying to beat. With me it was getting over 348 million points in Alien Crush which was the most fun to score high in for 2011.

Tetris (PSN)
Alien Crush (PSN)
Peggle (PSN)
Super Stardust HD (PSN)

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MOST VISCERALLY SATISFYING
Beating down fools is fun in any game, but certain games do it with brutal style be it with hidden weapons in a stealthy fashion like in Assassin’s Creed or street brawling in Yakuza. The most satisfying moves to pull off this time was in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.

Yakuza (PS2)
Assassin’s Creed (PS3)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

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MOST SURPRISINGLY GOOD GAME
These games are the ones where you have very little, if any, expectations of them being any good. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill is a perfect example of this. It gets hated on for being a Tomb Raider clone and the critics are correct. It’s not a game I would recommend, but I somehow managed to scrape some fun from the bottom of this old crusty barrel.

One game I can recommend, however, is Run Saber. It’s a clone as well, but a decent one similar in most ways to Strider. Atlus even published great games back in the Super Nintendo days!

Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PSX)
Run Saber (SNES)
Art of Fighting 2 (SNES)
Shadowgate Classic (GBC)

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MOST FUN VS. USAGI704
In one of the most odd award categories, but fitting for me, is which game did I enjoy the most when facing off against Usagi704. Is it the copious amounts of Mortal Kombat matches? What about the surprisingly good port of Art of Fighting 2? It was actually the matches we had on the Genesis version of Super Street Fighter II way back this time last year.

Super Street Fighter II (GEN)
Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN)
Mortal Kombat 3 (PSX)
Art of Fighting 2 (SNES)

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
There’s a number of ways for a game to be disappointing. Half-Life 2: Episode One is an example of simply not being as good or memorable as the previous main game. Rainbow Six Vegas was an unfortunate case of not being able to pass a boss which was glitched. It wasn’t a big deal once I viewed the underwhelming small amount of the game that was left.

NBA Jam was very disappointing in its Remix mode. The camera angle wasn’t good at all for 21 or Domination. Being a big fan of the original arcade game and still really liking the Classic Campaign in this new edition made this all the more upsetting.

NBA Jam (PS3)
Half-Life 2: Episode One (PS3)
Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3)
Robocop Versus The Terminator (SNES)

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DOWN RIGHT CRAP GAME
I’ve played some crap games in 2011. You’ve already met Revenge of the Wounded Dragons. Now meet GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. It would’ve won this category, but at least I could explain in my review what was wrong with the game. Then I played a game where I couldn’t. This pile of trash goes by the name of Army of Two.

Revenge of the Wounded Dragons (PSN)
Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu (PS2)
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (PS2)
Army of Two (PS3)

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BEST ACTION/ADVENTURE
It’s no secret I adore Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. In 2011 I bought the Prince of Persia Trilogy and got the platinum trophy for said game. With that said, I’ve played the game quite a number of times. I needed something new. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was new, but the experience was similar to the first game. How about new and fresh experience? Assassin’s Creed fit, but it was a bit too repetitive.

This is where Demon’s Souls came in. It was a risk since I usually don’t get into many games of its type. However, the risk paid off. I found the challenge to be overall less than hyped to be, but a challenge nonetheless. The boss fights were very memorable and gave me a sense of accomplishment. No other game I’ve played in recent memory can claim this.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS3)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)
Assassin’s Creed (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

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ABSOLUTE BEST GAME OF THE YEAR
Continuing on the theme of fresh, new gaming experiences, each of these four nominees for 2011 Game of the Year delivered this in one way or another.

Gunstar Heroes is a run-‘n-gun which isn’t new to me, but the amount of variety in the stages and bosses of such a game is. I mean there’s a more traditional shoot-’em-up stage in this game. Treasure’s crazy, but good.

The ultimate winner is Yakuza! It has everything I like about such a game. The story is very good and the fighting mechanics are one hell of a brutally fun time. It’s not often after playing a game that I get a mental reminder to play the next game in the series. This has been the case with Yakuza.

Gunstar Heroes (GEN)
Yakuza (PS2)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Demon’s Souls (PS3)

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Now Playing: August 2011

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Last Tuesday was the 20th anniversary of the Super Nintendo as released in North America. Knowing this date was coming up I decided to make it mainly a SNES month.

I played Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers once again and also did a speed run of it in 42 minutes and 12 seconds.

Soon after I asked on Twitter which of eight random chosen games I should play next. The two top picks were Robocop Versus The Terminator and Run Saber. The former game was pretty bad with unforgiving AI and overall uninteresting gameplay. At least there was a funny glitch where you can hold the A and X buttons while on a ladder and Robocop will keep climbing even after passing the top of it. Stage 6 was as far as I was able to go.

Run Saber was much more fun. This take on Strider from Atlus has a bunch of moves to perform in a fast-paced platformer. It has an arrow at the top of the screen always showing the direction to head in. I recommend this game if you’ve ever enjoyed Capcom’s Strider. Finished on Easy was a score of 266,800.

There’s not much to say about Street Racer. It’s basically a Super Mario Kart clone with less charm. At least the racing is decent.

Two other games I finished off this month giving me a total of 27 for this year was Knights of the Round and Alien Crush. In the Capcom beat-’em-up I selected Percival. I prefer him since he’s the only one who can dash. Granted it doesn’t last long at all, but this mobility and being the more powerful of the three characters make him a great choice. My final score was 430,820 at level 15.

I think I’m Alien Crush’d out at this point. I’m played a lot of the game in the recent past, as most of you know, but nothing can prepare you for this. On the PSN version via my PSP I improved my score so much that there’s no way I could possibly top it and that’s even if I’d want to (and I definitely don’t want to). My previous best score, regardless of the version of the game, was 78,533,200 and now it was improved by over four times the amount. Behold my new best high score of 348,932,500!

aliencrush-348million

You’ll probably need some time to recover from that revealed score so I’ll end this here. As always thanks for reading!

Little To No Purchases

little-to-no-purchases

It’s something of a surprise since it doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve gone one month without a single game purchase. I’ve certainly added games to my wish list in the meantime like God Hand and more recent releases like Moon Diver. Along with the games below I also added a third Game Boy Advance SP to the collection in early February. I have a feeling these 16 games are still more than most have bought this year or maybe I’m just being a bit cocky. :P

January:
Prince of Persia Trilogy HD (PS3 import)

February:
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PSN)
Shatter (PSN)
Peggle (PSN)
Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2)
Run Saber (SNES)
X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (GBA)
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced (GBA)
RayCrisis: Series Termination (PS)
Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero (DS)

March:
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (WII)
Gradius Collection (PSP)
Yakuza 4 (PS3)
Tetris (PSN)
Super Hang-On (GEN)
Kamen Rider Climax Heroes OOO (PSP import)

The Dragon of Dojima

dragon-of-dojima

During the time since I finished Duke Nukem: Time to Kill and Rush’n Attack I’ve started playing Twisted Metal: Head On on PSP and the original Yakuza. There’s not much to say about the former. If you like Twisted Metal it plays as you’d expect. I already played its PS2 port the year it came out so I know what to expect here.

Yakuza, on the other hand, is a new experience for me. I think the best way to sum up this game is a beat-’em-up with RPG elements and just enough of an open world style to make the experience memorable.

The story itself is probably the best part of it and has definitely kept me going. A lot of the details of the world, such as what items are sold where and what they do, are left up to the player to experiment with. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on whether or not you like things spelled out for you. I’m in the middle to where I like discovering things, but sometimes I wished there was a bit more explanation than is given.

The combat takes a bit of getting used to. When your character, Kazuma Kiryu, chooses a direction to throw a punch or kick he’s determined to go that way. The animation can’t be interrupted to change course, but it’s not a deal breaker. It’s just something you get used to over time. Add in the heat meter and fights get brutally satisfying before too long.

I’m currently 4 hours and 25 minutes into the game on Chapter 5.

As I mentioned last week I was able to get a copy of Run Saber for the Super Nintendo at a reasonable price off of eBay. It has arrived. This makes for only two SNES games left on my wish list: Sparkster and Wild Guns.

runsaber

Early Bird Can’t Have The Worm

early-bird-no-worm

As I had figured when I sent in my Atari 2600 games as trade-in to eStarland, they didn’t accept Shuttle Orbiter because the cart was broken in two spots. I lost out on an extra $17.50, but with nobody else locally who even takes those games I thought it worth trying. I can get it back, but it’ll cost $4 for shipping and isn’t worth it.

On eBay I tried for Sparkster on SNES twice. Near the end of the first auction it got to $35 and I wasn’t willing to pay that. The second auction I simply forgot about which sucks because I could’ve bought it for $20 since nobody else tried for it. Oh well. Some other time.

The auctions weren’t a total loss as I was able to get Run Saber, also an SNES game, for quite a bit less. Think of it as a take off of Capcom’s Strider and at least just as good. It should arrive early next week.

During the middle of this last week I tried to get Marvel vs. Capcom 3 early at Sears. For some reason they had three copies of the PS3 version already setting out on the shelf. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it because their system wouldn’t allow for the sale. I say ring it up as $60 under generic general merchandise and sell it to me. At least I got a consolation prize by taking a photo of shelf when I first arrived to show it as it was.

mvc3-1week-early-tn

Do Ya Liek Run Saber?

do-ya-liek-run-saber

THE PACIFIC
Last Sunday HBO starting showing the follow up to Band of Brothers called The Pacific. The main crew of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg returned to tell the story of a group of US soldiers that helped with the war effort against Japan during World War II.

The first episode I didn’t think was as strong as the previous mini-series. You got to know who those men were in Band of Brothers right away where as that wasn’t the case this time. I can’t remember a single name of the characters from The Pacific. It’s unfortunate. Hopefully this will be rectified in the second episode tomorrow.

RUN SABER
This here is a Super Nintendo game that I remember from back in the day by name only. I knew nothing else about it until today. Then I saw this video of gameplay footage.

I want it! :D As the video description says it’s pretty much the SNES’ version of Strider. It looks awesome, sounds awesome, and it was published by Atlus. What more do you need?

DO YA LIEK TEH VIDYA GAEMS
Well do you? Of course you do. It’s a video game review series by Darkbeat. He gives you the scoop on older classic games while also adding in a few laughs along the way. Check out his most current review of Dynamite Cop for the Dreamcast!