Phrase of the Week

PHRASE OF THE WEEK: DIE JOB DEATH CAR? (Daijobu desu ka - Are you OK?) (C) Sodom

Monday, October 4, 2010

Okay, last one... (filler)


Nuff said.

...although that's just for mere three months... Didn't expected THAT to come, honestly. Should we open champagne?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Whiplash review became a One-Week Spotlight (filler)

At last, I started to gain speed on the stuff I do. For the first time, my review was 'recommended' somewhere else and by someone else... Well, closer to the topic. Whiplash was chosen for User Content of The Week on Headshot gaming.
Here's the raddish. And here's the horse. (c) Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa.

Now, for some true announcement, got another mental break right on the 28th of September and all due to the goddamn failure on visa application. Won't tell any more, however, it's all private, woohoo! But, if you please, I'll post THE COMPLETE LIST of my current WIPs. With Hexen for N64 review being fully ready (lacks cover and screencaps for the complete post though...). And considering that I kept some of them in deep secret, I think now it's time to do the justice.

  • [PC] Rise of the Triad
  • [NES] Dezaemon
  • [ZX] Adventures of Buratino
  • [ZX] Wolfenstein 2004
  • [NES] Diablo
  • [GB] Populous
  • [NES] San Guo Zhi: Qun Xiong Zheng Ba
  • Some console game makers and S.T.U.F.F., part deux
  • Deeper look on GINCS. All what's simple is genial.
Yes, so big the list is. Why I just can't post them all, you ask? Well, here comes your answer. Even a pack of these.
  1. I don't feel like really finishing them.
  2. Sometimes I get so excited I start to write crap which results in a dead end. Sorta kinda.
  3. The game or object of review is not fully studied.
  4. In case with 100% text. It may take one hour to do the screencaps and 15 minutes to render the cover. On the first: considering that I may screenshot very random moments of the game, it's not an exception that I may be blamed for playing child games by my mother again (I rarely ever get FULLY obsessed by a game now, though).
And now, to finish this load of crap, some 'Penny For Your Thoughts!' moments. In other words, the games that I plan to review but due to overload of WIPs, can't do that currently.
  • [PS] Firebugs
  • [SNES] Doom
  • [SNES] Super 3D Noah's Ark*
  • [PC] Rival Realms
  • [PC] S.A.G.A.: Rage of the Vikings
  • [ZX] Goody
  • [ZX] Genghis Khan
  • [N64] Daikatana
  • [GBC] Daikatana
  • Something christmassy or else. **
So that's it for the author's scrappy block, hope I will break the silence of non-commenting pretty soon and will deliver with an extra portion of obscurity awesomeness.

* Not taking the actual Wolfenstein 3D on SNES for the review, because accuracy-wise, it's terrible. Loosely-based-on-the-original levels along with heavily butchered game completion scheme made their job. No, new weapons ARE kinda cool, but taking the butchered level structure into account makes it pretty much expectable to fail. Also, thanks to Nintendo's [censored by Nintendo's censorship] censorship, the atmosphere of good ol' Wolfie is now supported only by splendid music. So I took Super 3D'Noah's Ark by Wisdom Tree (basically, nothing else than Color Dreams in religious disguise) which is, apart from its' tedious setting has really awesome level design and... oh boy, four levels per episode instead of three in SNES Wolf3D.
** In concept, those may be both parts of Santa Claus in Trouble for the PC, Bomberman 2002 for the NES and one Santa Claus game for the PS, forgot its' name.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Third follower (filler)

To start the posting on this month off, I'm gotta welcome the third (AT LAST) follower of this site. Come in, teh2Dgamer, and enjoy your stay.

And make sure you subscribe to him and his awesome vids:

Coming up soon is... uhm, the list's too long, so let me decide our next victim soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some console game makers and S.T.U.F.F., part un (filler)

I would gladly post my next review, but the reason why I started to make this is... just because I've got lots of them in my mind. So, there it is. The software that might help you to create your own games, but NOT on the PC. Rather than that, on the consoles. Even on the handhelds. Even on the phones. Some might even be reviewed here. But right of the bat, some shrt descriptions for each of them.

Had to omit several game makers since I haven't seen them in action, so... Wait for part two! Like, RPG Maker's granddaddies on MSX and their GBC counterparts. Also, if I missed somethin', call me anytime.

Oh, and if you wanna download and try something of these, leave your request in comments. Pretty much like it. Hee wee go.


Platform: NES -> NES
Genre: scroll-shooter

Pretty much the only game from the 'work-right-on-the-console' category on the NES. As many would guess, it creates... that's right, space shooters. Three levels, built-in sprite and music editors. Was released ONLY in Japan. Also... is it me or it doesn't have any place to save the ready-to-use game on?


Platform: PC -> NES
Genre: multicart

Yeahle, the SDK for creating multicarts! Based/hacked/ripped straight from one of the Animal Crossing's built-in ROMs. The original Forbidden Four had Mario Bros., Ice Climbers, Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda (packed with battery save, yah!). With some messing up, you may create your own product... like below. Don't ask me how to do it, though. All in readme. Just one note right off the bat: insert games with corresponding mappers.

And one more thing, in case if you want to insert your own logo like I did. First, try to adopt your new title screen to the colors set by default. Second, if the logo looks glitchy, then try to fix it with Djinn Tile Mapper: select the tileboard with logo in the graphics window (but make sure it's positioned 1:1 like on the picture), search for the game names in the 'Names, scripts and other stuff' (biggest window by now) and hop-la! You see the garbaged logo. Now, if you know enough about what HEX is, you may definitely fix it.


Platform: PC -> MD
Genre: interactive novel or something like this

Another SDK, but this time, more, MUCH MORE user-friendly. And really little-known, so lemmie bump it up. Allows you to create text adventure games, supported with pictures, right onto a MegaDrive ROM. All you need is imagination, custom GFX and music. About the music. Theorethically, MVSTracker must do this dirty job, but importing the ready-to-use tracks into MVS0 ends up with having the header different to tracks in the example ROM. And the tracker itself looks pretty limited... to me. Supports either 16-color or 31-color images (with the second screwing up sometimes) and, as you may have guessed, supports MVS format chiptunes. Also, pretty easy system for scripting scenarios (source code of the engine itself's included too).
If you didn't get something about the language, then...
  • Everything without variables - Text! Dialogues! Stuff! May be used with the ENTER key.
  • #loadbkg forest - runs forest.pcx from the 'pics' folder.
  • #playmusic lunituni - runs lunituni.mvs from the 'music' folder.
  • #goto scenario - runs :scenario entry (see below) in the same script. If used without '/i' in the beginning, the content of the previous entry blends with the 'scenario'.
  • #progcall progname - runs PROGNAME.txt in the 'scripts' folder. Any name may used for the script name, but be sure to have MAIN.txt, this one is an autorun script.
  • /i - new line. Not to be used before you the '!' variables (see below), most likely after them.
  • #set fl0000 - turns the fl0000 key on. Notice that GINCS doesn't work with any keys other than fl0000-fl9999.
  • #clear fl0000 - self-explanatory.
  • #if fl0000 - is the fl0000 key on?
  • #if not fl0000 - is the fl0000 key off?
  • :scenario - new entry, named 'scenario' script-wise. On practice, may be called anyhow, just don't make the title too long.
  • !scenario;Run The Scenario - menu. Engages the ':scenario' entry in the current script.
  • ' - dash. Does nothing, used for commenting the script itself.
That was pretty much the first step. Check the example game to see how it actaully works. And, again, the footage:


Platform: PS -> PS
Genre: 3D scroll-shooter, Starfox-like

Never officially went outside of Japan. Sadly. Still, we live in the age of emulation, so there you go! If you thought that Dezaemon series lacked shape (even with Dezaemon 3D on N64), then here you go: you may create something similar to Starfox from the SNES. Not only that, you get the maker bundled with THREE sample games. And the model builder as well. Althrough, I must admit, with lotsa Japanese text, you'll barely ever make something in it.
Nevertheless, the game itself is so-o-o-o-o-o-o speedy (althrough you may blame the untextured polygons) that you would definitely try to make something in it, if not only the lack of translation...


Platform: PS -> PS
Genre: ditto?

Well, everyone knows what RPG Maker for PS is. Allows to create your own RPG by storing it on both yer memory cards, comes with a sprite editor, Anime Maker, blah-blah-blah... Well, THIS GAME is a sequel. J-only, once again. And, most notable change in here is that this installment disposes of the most overused in the world Final Fantasy battle system completely. Instead, we get something like... Chrono Trigger in Hard Mode. Nicey, huh? Also, the graphics are pretty much alike to those you can meet in the latest RPG Makers for the PC. With, needless to say, more memory card space required for the custom characters' sprites (but only those, who battle!). It's all in [you may guess it], but this link may help you to understand where and what.
And almost forgot to tell ya! This game supports custom music now! Only thing you have to do before composing your own songs is to get Ongaku Tsukuru 3.


Well, that's all for today! Thanks for visiting and, repeating again, if you need something listed above, just say it in the comments and I'll post the download link. Next time, we're gonna fuck up Fighter Maker for the first PS.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

[PC] Whiplash

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Genre: racing
PC/developer/publisher: Gremlin Interactive Ltd.
Year of release: 1995
Players: 2
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Additional peripherals supported: gamepad

Get Crashday. Remove all the career stuff and replace it with teamplay. Add a bit of atmosphere from old-skool NFSes, and you'll get Whiplash, maybe one of the best racing games ever made for old systems (DOS and Windows 95, to be exact). Why? Well, if it begged me to play it as much as my faves, Crash Team Racing and Gran Turismo, there is a reason for that. Why won't we discuss which ones, if you have a minute or two?


Okay, it may have kinda poor graphics, even if you keep all the GFX options on max, but. First, it was a DOS game, and if DOS would do the 3D render similar to Quake II or even III, all the numerous polygons will be untextured, plus, the game would go no more than 25 FPS, no matter which machine you try. Second, who said these graphics actually LOOK like they're bad? Try that Country Justice cocksucking trash and you'll see that the graphics are supahbad not only technologically, but estetically too. Okay, never mind. We're not here to discuss the polygon count, you know.
What's cool in Whiplash (therefore refered to as Fatal Racing, or simply FR) is the gameplay. It's not just about finding perfect curves 'on air', it's also about floating, bumping, bumping bad guys, riding on extreme curves... Well, to my knowledge, this is the first well-known racing game that used lotsa stunts, succeeded by Crashday and Trackmania series... And you thought that the coolest stunt racings were released today? Try FR, it will let you blush in that case, I swear.
Oh, and the feature I mentioned above. Teamplay, yeah. Any modern racing game I've seen (newest CTR clones don't count) always lets you to be a one car army. And that's it. In FR, you will have a choice: either you play alone (eight cars overall) or with a partner (same goes for each team, so it goes to sixteen rides). As a team, you will get a bigger chance to win the first places on the championships (or the last ones, if you both fuck up). Of course, what kind of team this would be without some helping stuff like communication... Time after time, you will get messages about your comrador's ride status ('No one's getting past', for example, or 'I'm going in for pits') to make sure that everything goes Ol' Raitt and decide what to do (accelerate, in most of the cases, or bump 'em all) in case if something goes Fairly Odd. If you want, you may even set a chase camera that shoots your teammate (and his position), in place of the timer or rear view mirror. Or, refer to the 'F*' keys to give orders to him.That helps VERY MUCH, I give you my testicles if I won't prove that.
As a dessert, I'll tell you that this is, perhaps, THE ONLY racing game on my memory that may be played COOPERATIVELY. So, if you have a friend that mastered all his Colin McRays and Carbons inside and outside, bring him to your home so he would play this game shoulder-by-shoulder with you. Now, this method gives more profit than playing it with a dead AI. You may decide whom to bump and when to stop for pits... But make sure that you and your friend are used to split-screen mode. Otherwise, you may use the cable connection between two comps, so good luck on trying to sync that stuff!
And, of course, what kind of a fatal racing game it would be without the damage system! Visually, they don't appear. Anyhow. If you won't count the smoke. But when you drive the car... That starts to feel ve-e-e-e-ery badly. Wanna always arrive first? Accelerate to max speed and never, I said, NEVER bump the walls. Yeah-yeah-yeah, bumping walls a lot may harm not only your baby, but it's ultrasonicness as well. In other words, the more you receive, the more your max speed suffers. Easy as hell, yet it's the factor one of your upcoming failure. That's not GTA4 where you get the stolen stuff all broken and still ride with the wind like nothing happened. So, you know, don't fail © Rise of the Triad. In case of what, you either pit or lose one of your three lives (the only time when you may hear the announcement shouting 'FATALITY!!!' Gawd, that's what should be used for M.U.G.E.N. announcers instead of classic Shao Kahn's voice). You lose the cup during the both operations, still.
There is a lot of difficulty levels, starting from 'Girlie' and ending with 'Impossible'... But they only slightly change the AI's behavior and pump the laps number up. That's it. What really makes the game harder (rather than marathonish) is one of three collision damage levels, plus one secret one that may be enabled by DR DEATH cheat (accept this as your name before you type your name in). While low one makes the game feel like yet another NFS clone, Death Mode is sooooo assy but sooooo beautiful that makes the action just goddamn hardcore. Also, that makes bumping the enemies easier too... And that makes you to cut out EVERY curve perfectly, therefore...
And it's sure wouldn't be a stunts racing game without really wild tracks filled with abnormal roads, spaghettis and the things that may make your car fle-e-e-e-e-e-ep! For a starter, there are a lot of turns (yet you may simply accelerate like nothing happened). Then there comes a section of more deadly angles of turning and bumpy roads. Then, lots of 'passages'. Then, ramps. And, to make your blood not just boil but rather burn, and burn as long as you play this game... 360° road sections which will make the world turn upside down... Or even aside. Controlling a car in such a hell needs practice, practice and practice yet again.
Nicey and responsible controls will sure help you in your quest for gold medals. To mention, you can select between a manual gear swap or an automatic (automatic is recommended, so you would use more attention on not going out of bounds).
Sound. Nine out of ten, if I would have a rating system. The sounds are all cool, yet the announcer may get a bit annoying after 30 minutes of playing. Every car and every track has its' own narrative description (digg 'em boyz). The music is just drivy and gorgeous. Even if that's not Flatout's earbreaking awesomeness, it's something close to this level. Just different genre, that's it. Awesome running demo music. Really classy and awesome (yet again) main menu theme. Another fitting and recognizeable theme for the first track, Grand Royale, that may be listened again and again, considring that this game is just full of marathones... The other themes keep the spirit up pretty much like above mentioned tracks did. Just one disclaimer... All I said about the awesomeness of FR's OST refers to the MIDI version of the soundtrack. The CDDA version, for some really weird reason, retains only the demo theme alive, while the others were merely replaced with some techno songs that turn into techno shit when blendered with FR's atmosphere. And yeah, you guessed it. No classy main menu melody. WTF, I MISS IT SO MUCH! Oh, and one more disclaimer. If you decided to use the MIDI tracks, use the old sequencer, because with the newer one, some instruments will get on desync. And, if you can, please post the entire MIDI soundtrack on YouTube, I would HIGHLY appreciate that, thank you.
Oh, I forgot another feature that makes FR look like most modern games... Replay video editor. Loved to mess up with this when I was a kid...


So, overall, if you think that ALL serious racing games are all about showing the road and the car's LARGE BUTT, play this and think again. It may not be really serious, maybe even fully arcade, but it really, really does its' job. It entertains. Eat my eyes if you are a racing game fan and you didn't liked burning rubber and burning the badguys on the right side from you.
Now, why do I think this game had to be ported on consoles and not remain a PC exclusive. Well, let's take PlayStation for example. Even if the actual game required 4 megs of RAM at least (or eight), the graphics would be no bother to deploy here becuase there's not so much textures used. Plus, not so much polygons. Dumb CDDA track could be either replaced with epic rearrangements of the real FR music converted to XA or become sampled PSM tracks (announcer's endless pile of quotes could use XA format, pretty much like CTR did), but I know that Gremlin would make that nightmare come true, so... Also, the replay editor would be gone, but... Well, if Gran Turismo allowed to record replays, then I'd put this one too. With the editor.
So, may anyone tell me, why FR wasn't ported to any of the consoles existing on that day? Gremlin had trouble with money, I guess?

'Serious' arcade racing never was so fun. If you like marathones and explosions, this fun is sure for you... And, to pump the juice up, this game should be yours if you like to beat games WITH a friend! Nobody knows why there was no, well, remakes or ports of this. Even homebrew ones. Maybe because this gamie is an obscurity? Gark, too bad.

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Whiplash has better title. Fatal Racing has better title screen.
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Wee, wee ween!
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Never mess with Ms. Platina Berlitz. Otherwise, brutality guaranteed.
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When drivers become pilots.
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Beware of pitstops. The AI tends to mash your ride even there.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

[NES] Educational Computer 2000

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Educational Computer 2000 [Kibord 003]

well, educational computer!
PC/developer/publisher: ehrm... why did I put this? Whatever. Microsoft.
NES/developer: unknown, but judging by the copyrights, MOONSPIRV or sort of.
NES/publisher: unknown
Year of release: 2000
Players: no, rather users. One.
Media: 1 MB cartridge, NES compatible
Additional peripherals supported: Subor Keyboard and bundled mouse. Without them, you couldn't even use it fully.

Oh yah, for the first time, I'm going to review, well... Not really a game, but rather a bootleg clone of pre-2000 Windowses. Why? Well, because if you had these long ago, these will make you cry. Really. Cry out flaming tears of The Grand Nostalgie. And out of all the pirated 'educational systems', I selected this one. Not Win98, not newly-dumped Win2000. This. Why? Well, because it's not a stupid slideshow like Win98 and is more functional than both versions altogether.
So, in Famicom's manner, these 'educational systems' replace the real PC thing. But, while in case of Famicom these were trying to become standalone computers, most of the keyboard famiclones were sorta kinda simulators before you bought a shiny new PC with preinstalled game series named Gates' Nightmare (time for throwing rotten tomatoes guys! If you don't abuse at its' glitchiness at all, of course). Yet even today, in our age of worldwide crisises and crysises, I see those keyboards with a slot for a cartridge in shops. Who knows, maybe I could have even spend two times more money on buying this instead of my three-years-old Dendy 2. One thing I definitely know, however. Like Famicoms, these educational systems will soon become gaming consoles rather than computers...


OH and what I see! This cart wasn't fully made by guys from China! Or is it? In any case, I see some familiar Russian titles in here! So, here are the few things you'll see here: some pointless drawing/planning/karaoke programs, keyboard trainer, pretty decent Solitaire, some system options, including screensver setup and stats of your 'machine' (I swear, the screensaver feature is cool to see in here), Donkey Kong Jr. Math, an accurate MS-DOS mockup and 1MB SRAM... Yeah, 1MB SRAM used for fully functional Microsoft Word. You know, I would rather use this version than the regular Notepad/Word that bored me to death. And hell yeah, it saves everything properly, but there is one lil' problem... How the Dickens do I import the files from the cartridge SRAM to my comp?
What you badly need to play with all of these toys, however, is a Subor Keyboard (Famicom's one won't go) and a mouse (yes people, NES had a mouse, thanks to the guys whose idea it was to make educational shit). FCEUmm from CaH4e3 (for dummies: pronounced as 'Sanchez') supports both very well. One complaint for the mouse... It scrolls too slow. Like you were moving a cursor with a joypad. No complaints on keyboard, but the cursor speed fucking sucks. Fucking sucks so much that you have to move your mouse back about ten or twelve times to get the cursor from one side of the screen to another. Maybe this is one of the really few cases where trackball comes in handy? Oh, and on Solitaire, 'the contrary happens': moving the mouse becomes such a softness...
Another bad thing is the music on the title screen. It feels like Micro Genius's crap tunies, no kidding.
One more. The program collab is completely random.
But it's fun to see the 'inside' of this cart with PC-DOS.
It was fun to discover that the songs that my parents and grandparents loved were reconverted into 8-bit, even if the result sounds crappy.
It was fun to see the characteristics of my 'computer' in the options menu (so, if you're going to do NES style games, use this as a reference).
It was just awesome to discover maybe the most comfortable text editor on the NES, out of all, perhaps, three or four.
It's not a slideshow like Windows 98 parody. It works.
I wish I would have this thing bundled in case if I buy a keyboard famiclone.
So all in all... If you wanna mess up with it, mess it, for fun and profit. If you see no sense, don't bother. It will never replace the real Windows in any case. Here, I said everything I thought about this multicart. Really short, but that's all I have to say, honestly.
But we shall return to Windows stuff very soon. Ehrm, what do you think, maybe we should review some classic Windows games ported to NES, huh?

Out of all edu-stuff I saw for this console, this one is the most neat. Every program included here works. Without the real famiclone, however, it becomes zero priority, but if you had Windows 98 as an OS long ago... Check this out.


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System programs. Comes packed with Word and Excel.
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Such a sucky system. LAWL.
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And now, the screensaver!
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I dunno who made THIS program, but he never knew Russian THAT well.
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Select your deck pattern for Solitaire. Nobody would know that doing this would be harder than playing Solitaire itself.
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DOS prompt, as a dessert.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

[ZX] Nether Earth

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Nether Earth
Genre: real-time strategy, indirect control
ZX/developer: Icon Design LTD
ZX/publisher: Argus Press Software
Year of release: 1987
Players: 1
Media: casette tape
Additional peripherals supported: Kempston joystick, Interface 2

Let me tell you something. For a gamer, who rocks it on since the year 2005, ZX Spectrum doesn't ring a bell. But, let me tell you, it had something that would make you shout something like 'Wow, and that was made in 80s? Cool...' Of course, the hardware specs didn't made Spectrum save from various platform games, but. It had the first real-time strategy ever, Stonkers, released in a mileage before Dune II. It also had a first adventure FPS game, Total Eclipse, shown to the world long ago before Half-Life. 3D billiards? There sure will be one. ZX Spectrum has it too. A music tracker? Thanks to the fans, it's present as well. Point'n'click adventure? Say hello to Vera. And so on, and so on, and so on...
No hardware limitations stop entusiasts from making ZX Spectrum's fanbase even bigger than the one that exists on the NES. They'll sure create something that will make Battle Kid: Fortress of Peril like your poor kid's I Wanna Be The Guy. Look at them remaking old-skool FPS games and you'll ask yourselves if NES is really superior to ZX Spectrum. Of course, the reason of why the ZX scene is more active than NES is still a mystery, even to me. Well, maybe because you were unable to create your own games on our Best Beloved Console (Dezaemon doesn't count. It was a standalone cart and had no saving feature.) while with the magic of BASIC, you could create everything limited with your imagination, knowledge of BASIC itself and the free space on the tape. At least I think so...
But ZX had something kinda revolutionary even in its' early ages... Meet Nether Earth, an RTS whose game mechanics were later used in Herzog, in Herzog Zwei, in Tanktics, in Uprising, in Battlezone...
Damn those who think that Modem Wars really was the closest predcessor to Herzog Zwei... Nether Earth was! If you've played this, you'll know why.


Right off when you run the game, you have an excellent one-time possibility to listen a gorgeous techno intro track... And it's the 48K version. I swear, if there would be the 128K version of this, this tune would lose everything it had before. Why do I think so? Well, was Robin of the Wood's 48K music great, despite it sounded like 'DRRRRRR' if you had no musical hearing? Yesh. Had the 128K version of the same game same celtic spirit as the original? No. Was Lode Runner 128K version music REALLY ANNOYING despite it was a cover of a classical piano tune? Certainly, considering that it's the only tune in the game which will, sadly, repeat even ingame. And that the loop is no bigger than 20 seconds. And that the only way to keep your ears save was muting the TV set or put the headphones off, because YOU ARE UNABLE TO TURN THIS FREAKING ANNOYANCE OFF IN OPTIONS!!! Ahem, never mind, that's the wrong game. Back on topic...
So, in Nether Earth, you're thrown into the first and, at the same time, the final battle against an alien race known only as isignians. Okay, you already guessed that this game has only one mission. And let me warn you: THIS MISSION ALONE IS INCREDIBLY LONG! And kinda hard for the beginners, because these extraterresial bastards start with three warbases, while you're obliged to mess up with the remaining one! That sucks, but hey, I have overwent more hellish obstacles, and that is a strategy game, after all, so why not? Also, thank godness we would be able to save the progress on the tape if we would play it on real ZX...
The concept. In here, you control the, ehrm... 'device'. So, with this device, you'll be able to fly across the map, request the production of battle robots, give orders and control the robots directly. Pretty much like it, but even this is enough to rush through the game. What's also important, the device is invicible all the time, which means that it may even resist nuclear attacks! It sure gives a WTF face expression, but it helps and PERIOD.
Now, the robots. These are, perhaps, the only units in this game (aside from the device), but these may be fully configurable! Before he sees the light (or rather the light sees him), you need to equip him with a chassis, bunch of weapons (starting from a lame cannon and ending with the implanted nuclear bomb) and electronics, if you want the robots to have their own, even lame, almost identical to Battle City, AI.
Now, with what you pay to create these iron dummies. As I said, from the start you get one warbase, which will equip you with a plenty of 'General' points every day. 'General' points (no, not army ranking ones) are basically universal: with them, you will be able to pay for every add-on for your robots... But no matter what, no matter how, you need to capture factories that produce separate credits for each add-on. You can't capture them. But, your suite can! So, that's where you have to pay attention the most: resource management. Luckily, the map is just one long straight line, which means that the 'domination factor' will be more than obvious. Yes, you guessed it, the enemies capture factories too. But, in case of the emergency, you may destroy them, no problem.
Oh. Have I already mentioned you can control robots directly? Ah yeah, I have. But let me explain the process with more details. So, after you sit on robot's head (you start to lay eggs. Kidding.), you may either give him a capture/destroy/retreat order, or... Choose 'Direct Control' and dispose of that stupid pathfinding mechanism: you will ride him yourself. In fact, if you need a faster ride (because these dummies are VERY slow), always take the tanks with antigrav chassis. Not only they are the fastest, but they can also get through many ground obstacles (holes, humpy roads) in a second. There will be a trouble if you meet an enemy robot, however, because the direct control and battle mode are separated from each other. And the 'Move Robot' option makes 'Direct Control' completely obsolete. Also, thanks to the sucky control responce time in the orders menu, your robot will be ashed before you fire any of your guns. Well, the menu and the robots are a bitch to control, but, weirdly enough, the device controls as slight as like nothing happened!! How do you call that?!
How it plays... Slow tempo yet kinda high replayability. Paradoxally, because since Red Alert, we know RTSses usually being fast-paced and dynamic. NE, however, didn't even broke the rule, because it came earlier, obviously. At least it's faster than the above mentioned Stonkers... Still not sure that the gameplay will be fine? It once eaten all my PDA's battery when I was emulating it on UnrealSpeccy. Not because it was a complicated game to emulate, but because I was messing with the damn aliens for so much time. That's how exciting it is.
Since I've told you pretty much about the game itself, lemmie describe the graphics. Well, the 'working area' uses only two colors (forget about the bevel on the bottom-right side), but everything is recognizable: buildings, factories, robots, stuff... The view is isometrical, but no worries, that didn't inflicted the control scheme (contrary to Snake Rattle 'n Roll). Everything moves at the same side as you want. If only they would fix the buttons' response time...


Nether Earth was a pretty popular ZX game in muddahrussah, if you will forget that its' popularity has been shadowed by Dune II. Really, really shadowed. Right, once again I'm sorry that the press didn't care about everything that helped Dune to become a success. But even with that, Nether Earth got a simple 3D remake (yet with lots of custom maps), a mobile game adaptation (known as Wasteland), an unofficial translation to Russian and even Nether Earth Editor. But will I EVER know how to enable the editor mode, hah?!!
Oh, and this gamie has also been available on Commodore 64. But, only due to one reason, you should refer to ZX Spectrum version rather than this... The interface placement sucks there! Short but you get the idea.

If you've just discovered ZX Spectrum for yourself, this thingie is one of the must-haves for your collection. Slow yet goddamn exciting gameplay, only one but awesome tune, only one mission that will take hours to complete. Okay, that may sound weird... but, think of exciting gameplay again. After all, it was really innovative, wasn't it?


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Lemmie see your brains...
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That's when you have to dispose of annoying pathfinding.
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Making a bomb on a floating platform, seriously.
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Battle between ours and theirs.
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No, that's not a bug. That's a nuclear bomb explosion shot at the wrong time.

Friday, September 10, 2010

[NES] Harry's Legend - Debug mode demo


Hah-hah. Messing with debug mode in Harry's Legend (former Titenic)... You know, with this, the volleyball minigame becomes A LOT easier.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Be back very soon (filler)

Alright, the previous post indeed was useless. Heeh.

In any case, expect a straightaway megabig bunch of new stuff for the remaining month, including the things that weren't mentioned in the announcement.

Doesn't mean that you aren't free to subscribing to me and posting comments though [does Bowser's Hotel Mario laugh].

Monday, August 30, 2010

...I'll be a mess among my parents. (filler)

Oh damn, it just turns out to be a straight line of misfortunes with the computers for me. And that's because only of one old trojan that Dr. Web couldn't spot for TWO (!) years. And that goes with updates, seriously. Don't say I should set up another antimalware program: that computer was my mom's. But it went on full rampage only now. My DVD recorder went dead. I accidentally infected my laptop when was deleting those damn trojan's lavras on the mom's comp. I got a lot of programs disabled, including Dr. Web itself (well, thanks for helping you stupid bastard), Task Manager, Daemon Tools and Insofta Cover Commander. Now I'm even afraid of inserting my PDA into the computer or upload something anywhere. Not even that, now I can't log into Dr. Web's homepage, dammit!

But, since mom's computer got infected too (awwwww shit I couldn't delete that autorun.inf file and thanks to Dr. Web again... he couldn't spot the roots of evil), I can't enter that site from this machine either. But that's not all. Now I'm blamed for downloading childish (hahaha) shit even if I'm being seventeen already! Dad doesn't allow my mom to run something on that comp, even the anocounter program, so my future higher education is riding on the edge. So, what I have to say? I am a retard, and the more time I spend in front of the computer, the more I become upset, nervous and frustrated. And don't even try to pat my head, THAT WAS MY FAULT. Period. So, kill it off, I'm going on REAL hiatus.

I wanted to expand the Old Krank's Reviews but seems like you guys won't pay any real attention to it right now. I still have got only TWO followers, and both are my friends. I know that schoolfilmer and SamuraiMaster do read my blog, but are not subscribed yet (or maybe forever). *sigh* Men, anyone can comment, even unregistred users! So, if you liked the review, say it directly! If you won't, well, this site will be abandoned.

So long, I shall come back one day!.. If I shall.

EDIT: Okay, mom's comp is clear, but I have lost my PS ISO collection for the fourth time. Rehashing it in closest future.

EDIT: Sheesh, sorry. It's still alive. Stooped me ^_^.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Due to technical issues... (filler) Nether Earth 3D-cover for now. Not even for Diablo if I will figure out where to run Insofta Cover Commander...

And my DVD recorder passed away recently. Before my laptop got infected... HEY, I was just removing a lot of this damn trojan's larvas from the other comp and I was deleting them so rad that I accidentally ran two of them. So, non-infected USB drives - GONE. Normal task manager - GONE. Reinstalled Dr. Web's scanner - GONE. So, hiatus?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

[MAG] Video-Uss Dendy: Game Genie


Short one, nuff said. The rest is said in editorial.

Pirated Games Central entry with the same text, LAWL.


I dunno if Game Genie was really sold at Steepler's, but considering that Video-Uss Dendy was the first videogame magazine in Russia and that Video-Uss publishment had contacts with such widely known magazines as Joystick and Joypad (see below)... I guess that everyone who read this article wished to have such a thing at home.

Short but enjoyable. So enjoy it and sho-- wait, that's from the other movie.


(attention hackers)


A gaming console is not a computer in a regular meaning of this word., it doesn't allow you to reach every file of it, it doesn't allow you to change the code of the game. So, on the question placed in the header, some will say that it's not possible, some will say that it's only for the experts who own special hardware - EEPROM programmers (and that won't be in all cases), but there are the people who will definitely say 'yes'. These are the gamers who know what Game Genie ("Genius of the Game" [sic! - Nicker]) is. With Game Genie, you may be able to play your favorite games even better and use all the features of them, usually, even hidden ones! It's inserted into the console exactly the same way as a regular cartridge, and the game cartridge itself has to be inserted into Game Genie.

THE CONSOLE FOR THE CONSOLE! [ehrm, 'An addon for the console' would be a more exact translation, but it lacks the loudness of the original phrase - Nicker]

Game Genie, without damaging the cartridge, modifies the game for the rules you write itself. Lives that never end, ammo, invulnerability, superspeed, new arsenal, unlimited time - now you control these all. The Game Genie manual lists the descriptions of the genial possibilities of 74 games. These include Batman, Castlevania, Duck Tales, Double Dragon, Dr. Mario, Robocop, Solomon's Key, Tetris, Top Gun and many other popular games. Find the game that interests you in a manual and, using the arrows, input the listed codes on the Game Genie screen. Every code corresponds to the new special abilities the characters will gain. After that, press START button and the old game with new things shall begin. You may even combine infinite lives and energy or warp to the last area with superjump and infinite ammo e.t.c. Easy. The interface of Game Genie is understandable even for kids. If you want to play the game without using Game Genie's features, there's not need in pulling it off from the console, All you need is pressing START button without entering the code, then Game Genie will forget all your previous entries and you'll enter the game like if the cartridge would be inserted directly into the console.


Monday, August 23, 2010

[DVD] Kidnapping Caucasian Style

ANNOUNCEMENT OF Kidnapping Caucasian Style (Kavkazskaya Plennitza) REVIEW

Another dose of cooperative stupidity, this time, me and Double-Oh review the movie of my childhood, and IT IS BRILLIANT. Nuff said, go see the review and the movie.

Or don't press this link if you're too busy.

Diablo's coming soon... I guess.


There is the entire movie with English subtitles, in case of. Thanks to IgorRussland for sharing, sorry if you don't know me, dude!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

[MD] Dune: The Battle for Arrakis

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Dune: The Battle for Arrakis

Genre: real-time strategy
PC/MD/developer: Westwood
PC/MD/publisher: Virgin
Year of release: 1993
Players: 1
Media: 1 MB cartridge, SEGA MegaDrive compatible
Additional peripherals supported: none, sadly

I really do like this game. What I hate about the aura it makes, however, is that it is always treated like 'FIRST REALTIME STRATEGY GAME EVER, YAH!'... when you are grown-up enough to believe in fairytales, you start to believe this shit widespread by journalists. For the last time, STONKERS FOR ZX SPECTRUM WAS THE FIRST STRATEGY CONTROLLED IN REAL TIME. But I usually would like to close my eyes and cool down... unless I see the same gaming press in the faraway past when they poured shit on more fast-paced and unusual Herzog Zwei and gave flowers to Dune II which was pretty much like 'supUrb' and 'revolutionary' in their opinion, because they were pretty much like blind not to see that the concept actually existed since long ago. Westwood just tried to perfect it, as well as making it 'indirect control strategy' with mouse, and, needless to say, they did it.
I still like Dune though. If you forget about all these gaming press baby pranks. I can't really forget about Herzog Zwei at the same time, still, because, when I first tried this game, I understood that it has everything that Dune: The Battle for Arrakis haven't. But I will tell you what exactly much, much later. Meanwhile, we move on to the game...


Of course, Virgin in cooperation with Westwood couldn't make it look ABSOLUTELY the same as the PC version; otherwise, it would look just plain worse that the 'custom port' they have delivered to MegaDrive. First of all, the new intro looks badass (as well as the new intro theme written by Frank Klepacki himself), even if the port doesn't retain the ACTUAL sneak peek with the story. Also, the new feature that wasn't available on the PC, a little tutorial video, in case if you feel like a noob with this game. Needless to say, completely redrawn ingame graphics. Mentat behaves a bit different than he did on the PC, where he surveyed you to make sure you're not a spy sent by another house. The economics were rebalanced, sorta kinda, so one credit doesn't equal to dollar but rather to something more expensive than euro (hence that, buildings and stuff cost less but harvesters DO collect spice a bit slower).
And the interface. It has been changed completely. Do you remember that episode from Westwood's history when they have invented simple-to-use 'one click - one action' controls for adventure games (that remain in domination even today, too bad Sierra ACTUALLY invented the same thing at the same moment) while the other games of its' time messed your head up with the list of optional actions located somewhere below the game screen. Like, you want to open the door. Nowadays, you could simply point the cursor on it and click. Before, you had to choose 'Open' out of the long list, then point, then click. Do you get what I mean? Well, that's exactly what they did with PC-to-MD transition of Dune II. If you also remember how the original Dune II looked, you should also know that it, of course, didn't had all the possible orders listed in three columns, but moving your units with clicking 'Move' on the screen EVERY fucking time will be getting ridiculous. On the MegaDrive, you just have to point the place where your unit must move and press the A button. Simple as that. Believe it or not, this feature alone became the part of the modern RTSses, therefore used not only in Westwood's creations, but also in the RTSses not made by them (take Warcraft for instance). I doubt, however, that it was innovative too, because of the same damn Stonkers...
And, of course, Mr. Klepacki has proudly redubbed the voices and remade the music specifically for this edition. Yes, the cover versions of the original OST fit the game exactly, I will agree, but one thing is that THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TRACKS. Seriously, this game indeed lacks ingame music. Only four songs for the entire lotsa-hour non-stop action? Hah-hah. Even I could fit more music stuff into just one meg cartridge, Westwood!
And, for a dessert, I'm gonna tell you about the fate of this port in our suffering motherrussias. In there, Dune instanly became a cartridge that every good megadriver (not meaning the members of Megadriver band) definitely owned in his collection. And thanks to the, sorry for going nuts AGAIN, malpopularity of Herzog and, let's say, Populous on MegaDrive... it has been always treated like the only RTS on this console. But that's not the thing yet. Again, like in my Doctor Mario review, I'm gonna mention my first emulation site ever, So, the hacking of this game actually went on full speed, which brought us an easy-to-use map editor, which is, technically, a ROM editor too. Not to say that before, a guy nicknamed sergi, who is a host of, hacked this game BEFORE the editor came out, right into three versions. Sadly, the only way you could play these by now is to buy the reproduction cartridge with the hack. So, if you ARE a die-hard fan of Dune, keep your moneypig save and sane.


I will admit this port is awesome and that they've left the charm of the PC version, but let me return to where I have started the review: Herzog Zwei has the features that Dune: The Battle for Arrakis doesn't. So that's what basically OUGHT to be fixed in Dune so it technically would be par with Herzog Zwei. It needs more soundtrack. It needs the flexible password system. It needs bigger unit limitation. It needs the split-screen versus mode. The animation of troops shouldn't be that choppy. The AI should be less dumb. All that Dune managed to push into one megabyte is nothing compared to Herzog's success at fitting all this into 512 kilos, counting that it had different kinds of terrains. No, I don't say that Dune also needs to have the terrains other than desert, because the sands are the blood of entire Duniverse, that's in the canon. And it doesn't need the same kind of indirect controlling as Herzog at all. But, if they would fix all the problems I listed above, this port would be far more than superior to the PC version... Sadly, it's just a good game. Nostalgic, but not flawless.

That was a game that made the childhood of many happy owners of MegaDrives who lived in mid-90s before the invasion of PlayStation in ex-USSR kids' houses... It even made Dune 2000 on it obsolete because of how terrible this thing was. But I swear, even such a good port could be much better that. It IS a masterpiece, but if you look more carefully, you may accidently find Herzog Zwei more perfect than this, sorry about mentioning this game all over again.

P.S. Okay, I made a little ad above, when I was talking about the map editor. Anyways, if you're interested in getting it, contact me anytime (warning you that I have not created the program, SEGAMAN did).


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Yet another shiny new title screen. You gotta love the intro (even if you can't skip it). 
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The ropes are REALLY easy to teach, but in any case, you should learn a couple or two of extra commands! 
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The mentat screen now looks creepier, huh? 
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Paparazzi paparazzi.
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Attacking an Ordos base. Too bad I can't capture it right now - MAX UNIT LIMIT! 
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Harvesters at work. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

[NES] Super 64-in-1 Harry's Legend

CONSOLIDATION OF Super 64-in-1 Harry's Legend

No, it's not a review, but rather something I made to test my capture card. It's more like of first glance or else...

The title 'Consolidation' came out because I... well... I didn't want to continue the long list of the videos starting with 'Let's...' (not only 'Let's Play').

A friend of my sister had this thingie, so big thanks for giving it to me (and no, he doesn't have e-mail or anything. In fact, my sis and him are no more friends, so...)!

Anyways, enjoy!

[PS] Quarantine

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Quarantine [Hard Rock Cab]
Genre: racing+FPS
PC/developer: Imagexcel
PC/publisher: GameTEK
PS/developer/publisher: Asmik
Year of release: 1994
Players: 1
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Slots on Memory Card: 1
Additional peripherals supported: none, sadly

Oh men, I haven't played a good dystopian setting game for a really long time... And notice, not the setting where 'an alien force or an atomic explosion menaces our Mother Earth and the human remains should keep the material remains all right', no, that's postapocalyptic. To explain you, why this is dystopian, lemmie explain it to you with a simple example. Every time you get from the bed (after hearing a LOUD honk, of course), you see a large projector screen with the Hilterish face shown on and the catchy title below: BIG BROTHER WATCHES YOU. Or, imagine yourself waking up in your own taxi cab after your own alarm clock signals. You take a quick bite of your own hamburger, prepare your own Uzis and get back to your own job... illegal job that instanly makes you the most wanted not only among few adequate persons (in good point) but also among these Omnicorp patrol bastards (exactly at the same meaning you thought before).
Because, as the motto says, driving a cab in this city is a murder.
Drake Edgewaters got exactly into the same shit. Before he was forced to ride on the edge, he had everything: money, loving wife, adorable children, a nifty lofty house in KEMO City (don't let the eastern feeling of this word fool you, KEMO is actually an imaginary twin of Detroit City)... But Gates seemed that he had to move to any save alpine place afterwards. Crime. That's what both KEMO and Detroit had shared in Quarantine and Robocop universe. The current heads of KEMO were so stupid that they just kept the chaos growing. No need to have a degree in politics to predict that this government was thrown into Carribean to be the dinner for sharks and was replaced with a new party represented by Omnicorp.
Like Prince John, Omnicorp indeed did something useful to prevent the chaos breaching into other cities, but their dictatorship just wanted to see the chaos growing. They merely fortified all five parts of the cities (and lead the town into quarantine mode, hence the name). The borders are sealed. The only thing that would make you come through is the password demanded from Omnicorp that required a *little fee* from you. Weirdly, despite you were criminal or not, OC gives it to you anyways.
Talking about the mysterious schizo virus that made about 60% of the population maniacs kept progressing without any reaction from OC itself. Well, yeah, they promised that they will make a cure that will be applied to every citizen. Still, it actually won't heal anyone. It will terminate the illness just like it will terminate everyone. Why? Well, that's the point of the game. Survive, blaze through all this hell, recover the cure and dispose of it! I'm not going to spoiler this time, guess what it will be.


Ride you cab, find the customers, deliver them save and sane (and OH, fast), get greenbucks. That will be the thing you'll do most of the time. Didn't I mention you get a lot of green bucks from only one customer? I mean, A REAL LOT. They will propose you ANY price, just in hope you deliver them savely. For them, of course. But, $875 for just one-minute ride is not really a little price, ain't it?
After all, that price is just enough to patch your car from inside to outside. The risks are pretty high, however. One reeeeaaaaally damaging run (especially on long distance) may end up with outcome of all your prey spent on ammo refill and armor repair.
Technically, it is what you would call Doom clone if you would live in mid-90... but with an attitude! Where Quarantine really worked is in popularizing the blend of FPS and racing games (not sure if it was born at the same time), which was later simplified to just taxi arcade game by such well-known project like Crazy Taxi and a lot of its' budget ripoffs the names of which I always forget. To be honest, however, I always found Quarantine more fun in gameplay features than Crazy Taxi. Sure, Crazy Taxi, as well as it's sequel, wasn't 2,5D, featured more bright locations, pumpy soundtrack... But, you know, both these games were originally made for the arcades and adopted to the arcades by default, so that says everything. Timer is enabled not only when you carry a passenger, but also when you are currently looking for him. Also, considering that the main visitors of the arcades are teens, this series were pretty tolerant in violence. You couldn't really kill stuff, only push it with your cab...
...while Quarantine actually had a lot of methods to KILL stuff, ANY stuff. It didn't really cared about the teen rating as it was one of those games that made violence fun (NOT REAL LIFE VIOLENCE DAMMIT!! Despite one of the game designers actually dreamed of riding taxi the same rad way when he was doing some crisis money... And used his dreams in this game. Remember kids, videogames help to prevent RL murders!). Cars, cabs, pedestrains, future customers, maniac killers, random grannies - all to get rid of your thirstiness for destruction. The level of violence is always compared with GTA4 series, with the latter being FAILing against this gamie. While in GTA4, the people you made suffer became fully dead after some heavy weaponry, in The Big Q, they ALWAYS SQUISHSQUASH, which can't be unfun, I swear... Unless it makes you puke.
There are a lot of methods to pull the infinite population of KEMO City down, but all they may be split into three categories: 'use your arsenal, let them boom' (with the most variations available) and 'be a tank, smash it apart'. There is a third category, however, which is really fun but rarely used: 'low on time? take him away!'. That works with the passengers only; when you see that you DEFINITELY can't deliver him or her in time, you simply eject the seat and hear your customer dying. Could be morbid in real life, but it's just a game, where there are still lotsa customers, right?
The soundtrack. Ahem... Well, it was one of the first games to use the soundtrack not made for the game specifically, no. Instead, it used lotsa songs made by random Australian alternative rock bands! About how it made the OST awesome... Flatout OST SURE was bigger and better, but the age of Quarantine actually makes me tolerable on its' music. So, it was really cool for its' times. Still is, but, personally, I find most of these ten tracks 'backgroundish'. What I really love there, however, is the authors' pick for track one: 'Berlin Wall'. That's the great choice to start the game with, while the latter tracks just keep the atmosphere pumped. In fact, that's why I called these 'backgroundish'. And now, sorry guys, honestly sorry, but I need to make myself into writing the next paragraphs... [sings] I'm the one who says it... the one who says it's... TRUE!...


So yeah, when this thingie became localized in Japan, it was renamed to Hard Rock Cab for some reason. But, for your information, for some really weird reason the same game was released in Japan under TWO names: Hard Rock Cab on PS and Death Throttle on 3DO. Okay, I find this plain stupid.
...and I'm still laughing on how they have left the original 'Quarantine' title where you usually start the game (WELCOME TO QUARANTINE. PRESS KEY TO START. Notice: not 'Hard Rock Cab').
So how the port feels like? Ehrm, I guess that you wouldn't expect that, but... PC perfect. Apart from Japanese text in dialogues, controlling it WITHOUT keyboard (obviously) and, last but not least green blood (whad-da-fuck?). Every scream from the original is here. Every single texture is on its' place... couldn't imagine that they would be able to fit a game that requires 4MB RAM from your old comp into a console that has only 2. Yay!
Control-wise, it's like Duke Nukem Total Meltdown. Two simple-to-understand control schemes which can be a bit messy when you're in the game. These got 'check'. But. To my frustration, this game doesn't feature the support of Dual Shock, which, considering that you still don't feel how you CRASH into the wall, how your car receives a heavy BADABOOM, how your car DRIFTS (in fact, it turns as slight as Doomguy from his heavily-awarded game) and you don't feel how your car, after it thrusts up, LANDS on the ground. This game would be simply perfect (yet still not for anyone) if not only these. When you crash into the wall, actually, you literally feel yourself like a ball in the pinball machine. These were on PC, these were deported to the PS. Oh ass... I wish the vibration feature would be here.
Another not-so-good feature that was deported directly from the original (I'll list it and end the review) is that, well... is that when you have a passenger, you usually get the compass that points to the destination area, but even with it, you may end up trying to arc the large wall (not a building unless it's really long) without any proper results, which ends up in catapulting your passenger away. There is a minimap, however, and it really helps if you get into such situations. Also, it's more accurate than compass, but there is a big problem: the fade in/out time is kinda long. It seems to be eternity when you try to use the minimap a lot. So, using compass makes you lost while using minimap slows the gameplay down.
Overall, I told you absolutely nothing about the port itself but rather listed all the major problems that the original game had (as well as the port). But in any case, I guess you will be really amused if you'll hear that... the PS version has no slowdowns. At all. Doom had. Hexen had. Duke Nukem Total Meltdown had. But this runs as smoothly as a feather! Guys, am I smoking something?
Oh, and you may save almost EVERYWHERE by using only one slot of memory card. you will hardly meet any game that saves this way, I swear.

Basically, I don't have much to say. Quarantine is not a game for everyone. But, if you're the man who liked this game, then this port should be on your shelf. Of course, it has no extras at all to be superior to the PC original, but technically, you'll rarely ever meet a port like this. I pray for Asmik. Period.


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Ehrm, wasn't that Alternative Rock? Anyways, pretty kickass title. 
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Pretty enough for a game like that. 
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This screenshot has a feeling of like you're riding on the territory of an airport. 
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...ack, Japanese.
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Squishing zombies is fun. And only try to disagree with me!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

[NES] Magical Rockman (hack of Krion Conquest)

ANNOUNCEMENT OF Magical Rockman (hack of Krion Conquest) REVIEW

You may wonder where is the review text?
We reviewed it cooperatively with Zera-san (I could review it with Indy too, but he was completely tired out that time). The design he made for the review was a bit messy, but the review itself was such a comedy... ah well, go see it yourself.
We'll do more coops sooner, I promise. And if you didn't liked this one, the others will be even better.

EDIT: Indy's video footage for this hack got an honor, woo!

ONCE MORE: Achieved 60% in C&C Red Alert Retaliation (as Allied). I did much, huh?

Another footage made by Indy, before he got his TV exploded. Enjoy while it lasts.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

[PS] Hexen: Beyond Heretic

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Hexen: Beyond Heretic

Genre: FPS
GT Interactive Software
Probe Limited
Year of release:
Slots on Memory Card:
Additional peripherals supported:
none, sadly

As a kid who loved both Doom and Heretic, I really loved Hexen as well. Yes, it was kinda darker and more complicated in gameplay than its' predcessor, but I understood it SHOULD BE that way. I have been always wondering what 4th weapon does every class have, what are the secrets in this game, loved the pre-final-boss episode in the graveyards (and Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir boss fights as well) and even considered infinite Wings of Wrath to be a glitch of sorts... And guess what, I still like it.
So, when I heard about Hexen being ported to PlayStation, my eyes started to shine, literally. After watching some videos on YouTube that cover this port, my hopes on seeing a good port became evaporated, but even with that, I've finally downloaded it from Rom Hustler. And started playing through it. Even if I understood that the port was a complete shit. So why didn't I tried to beat the N64 port? Maybe because the N64 pad is more complicated in usage than the PS one? Ah, screw it.


For those who completely forgot WTH is going on,a short recap of the story so far. So Corvus, the elven protagonist of the prequel, killed one of the Serpent Riders, D'Sparil, another Serpent Rider named Korax started to terrorize the world of Hexen. The only thing I actually don't get is how Korax may ride on the serpents when HE IS A SERPENT... Doesn't that look pointless, huh? Oh well, back on topic. So, the inhabitants of Hexen live under tyranny of The Legion, The Church and The Arcanum, each led by Zedek, Traductus and Menelkir respectively. One creepy night, these men decide to make a deal with Korax who promised to give them incredible powers in change of their lives (so they would be almighty zombies, sort of), and therefore, make life in Hexen even worse. The new protagonists, Baratus (fighter), Parais (cleric) and Daedalon (mage) dedicated their next hours of life to dispose of all four villains and become the owners of Serpent Riders' Hemisphere, an ancient relic that allows to decide the fate of any world existing in the Universe.
As you can see, the plot is nothing really special, but you know, that was only a warmup. The level design, the atmosphere, well, EVERYTHING is in spirit. THIS kind level of level design will never get out of your memory if you love it (compared to Wolf3D and Blake Stone levels which were exciting to play but not really memorable in their structure); I still remember how that goddamn Menelkir's tomb looks like, even if I haven't played it for months!..
But, to be honest, this is only a supporting factor. The most unique thing I distingushed from the other 'Doom clones' I had as a kid is that the gameplay itself tries to go, at least, a bit farther from your regular Doom clone (now, by the context, it's needed to leave this without quotes). Mostly by popularizing so-called 'RPG elements' which are popping up nearly in every single new blockbuster game (and the latest one that used them (kinda) wisely was S.T.A.L.K.E.R.). Three character classes, armor points, hub system a-la Spyro the Dragon (one 'home' level, several sublevels, plus a secret one in each of five chapters (except the prologue and epilogue)), puzzle solving, freqeuent usage of mana - these are, perhaps, all the RPG elements included in the game, which doesn't, however, distract you from the main point of the game - killing stuff. And solving puzzles, of course. These two will take most of your time when you play this. And the balance between 'kill-solve', unlike Heretic, goes more to the right than the left this time... But not that much. What? Oh, I hear. Wanna mess up with bloody stuff, huh. Pleasure. Set the Nightmare skill level before you start and you will not only be unable to stop your blood boiling, but also you won't get the puzzles solved that easily, thanks to the traditional massive respawns.
Puzzles, by the way, may not be that easy as you progress, but most of the time you just have to do what you are supposed to do in this chapter. Just to fill the holes, spoiler time. First chapter - just follow into the opened portal doors and pull all three required switches. Second - pull SIX switches this time, but only to activate the sealed doors that lead to the boss. Third - collect all the gem planets, apply all of them on the astrological board, fight the badguy. Fourth - exactly the same, only this time you collect gears to make the castle clock work. Fifth - fight three menaces of Hexen and, in case of victory, unseal the passageway to The Ultracheap Badass Final Boss Of This Game - Mister George Bush. No-no-no, kidding. Korax himself, what else were you thinking?
Classes. Probably my #1 favourite gameplay feature in the entire game. As said above, there are three classes in this game, all throughoutly balanced (but most pick the mage for some weird reason. They miss Heretic or else?). What's even more interesting, not only physical characteristics and weapons are different in each class, but the usage of several inventory items too! Let's take the most widespread one, that may be used as an alternate weapon, flechette, a bottle with green, yucky and poisonous liquid inside, for an example. Baratus is the fastest, consumes the least mana (and it case if it ends, the weapons may be used as melee ones) and has the biggest resistance against enemies' hits. One problem: his first truly long-range machine of chaos comes under number three. Him using flechettes as grenades may compensate this a bit, still... Parais is a golden middle between the other two classes in EVERYTHING. Speed, strength, weaponry... Yeah, about weaponry: he gets the first long-range weapon under slot number two and his flechettes are used to actually POISON the enemies. You know, the green clouds look no good. And are no good, which is good for us against the brainless monsters. As for Daedalon, he owns the coolest weapons in the game, indeed. For a starter, he gets a wand that may hurt the dumbies even on really big distances, albeit very poorly. But afterwards, he will be able to freeze everything in sight and even throw thunders (really effective against centaurs who block with their shields like fighting game turtles); his flechette appeal actually marks the cameo appearence of the timebombs from Heretic, the sequel! But! Despite this coolness, he's so physically weak... He walks as slow as Momo's turtle rides a bicycle made in good ol' USSR for kids with a hydropump engine placed behind! And he's the weakest in health among all the classes. So, as you see, the perfect balance. Everyone is good and everyone is bad at the same time. Make yer pick, gentlemen.
Talking about goodies returning from Hexen, I guess that I would give a pair of words to this too. Like, you still may turn your haters into... no, not chicken, this time you would mash them for a barbecue. Pigs, what else were you expecting... Also. Chaos Device is back, but now, it doesn't transport you back to the start in case if you get grounded (Banishment Device now does this), but rather pushes the legion, that is about to slash you apart, aback. Needless to say, it's now a more freqeuent item to run into.
And now about what you won't find in Heretic. Obviously, this game has three BFGs and all they look awesome, but before you start seeding death everywhere, you ought to collect three part of your future work instrument. But again, this show is really worthy to look at, ain't it, boys?
Okay, I told everything that's worth knowing about this game if you haven't tried it yet. And if you haven't done it yet, give it a shot, no matter if you will like it or not.
What I find weird, however, is that unlike his big brother, Hexen was officially ported on consoles, including the first PlayStation. Alas, while the creators of Saturn and N64 actually did made a really decent adaptation, Probe (the creators of really good ports of MK1&2, including really smoothly programmed MK2 for the PS) decided to move this into cash projects. Hence the quality.


One question to Probe. I know that the RAM constrants of PlayStation really suck, but hey, DO YOU GUYS CALL THESE GRAPHICS? This actually looks EXACTLY like Doom on Super Nintendo, plus floor/ceiling textures and bigger screen resolution. That's it. The one-sided enemy sprites, pixelated textures and screen area are still here. And don't tell me that it's the console which can't afford more juicy graphics than this. Otherwise, take a look at Doom again, but on the PS this time. Freezy framerate, the illness of almost every FPS classic ported to these times' consoles, is still here, but Williams actually managed to retain all the textures and enemies (sans Archvile, sadly), plus every enemy is covered with sprites for all 8 sides! So sorry, but your Hexen deliberately fails at this attempt and has nothing that this port has. But what's more interesting, the turning and the physics are EXACTLY the same as in the SNES Doom, which is making things just ridiculous as hell (I would keep talking about Williams and Probe messing up with BOTH Mortal Kombat and classic FPSes and ending up with having ridiculously same results, but you know, that'll be just pointless trash talking, so moving on).
In addition to really poor graphics, you may also notice that the dark fog has been added on every level. To my knowledge, such thing is implemented into modern games to put some more emphasis into atmosphere and cover the not-so-graphics away from your eyes. But c'mon! The graphics are already piece of junk so nothing would be really hidden, huh? Also, this fog is so useless that it even hampers when you, for example, are fighting the second boss. Thanks to the fog and pixelated screen, you can barely see from where this flying fucker throws fireballs! Therefore, you're unable to save Wings of Wrath for this run. Crammit.
From what this port really suffers as well, is from re-e-e-a-ally ba-a-ad programming and several enemy/platform replacements. Like, in the original version, your character will make a 'buh' sound if you stand in front of the wall and press the 'Use' button. In the PS port, he will buh every time you press 'Use', even if you don't stand in front of the wall (in clunky fashion of SNES Doom, AGAIN). And yes, they have managed to fuck the balance up. Fighter's gauntlet usually killed that two-headed dimwit, ettin, in 3 hits. Now it takes SIX hits to finish him up, the fighter just throws his fist A LITTLE BIT faster. Okay, Probe, I don't get this 'new addition'. How could you come up with such a stupid idea?!
For the replacements, let's give Darkmere a look. Originally, there were black statues holding 'firedishes', sort of. Here, they are replaced with three torches. It would be okay if those could be hanged on walls only, but later on, when I see the same torches 'flying' in the air...
Enemy replacements. For some unknown reason, the Seven Portals has all the serpents removed, leaving centaurs to mess up with. No, serpents ARE in the game, but only brown ones. Greenies are nowhere to be found, even on Light Crucible which had both types just in one level. Oh c'mon, what's wrong with you assholes? It's a fucking palette swap, goddammit!
All the sounds are on their places, thankfully, but the music... the music... well, for some reason (YET AGAIN) they reconverted the music into redbook quality, therefore, leaving only 1/3 of the original soundtrack alive. Aw damn, couldn't you use the privileges of XA so I shouldn't listen the Seven Portals theme on Shadow Woods and miss one of my favourite themes, Zedek's Tomb, huh?
This version has very, very neat (I'm not kidding) FMVs, but sadly, no matter which class you'll pick, it will always show the mage. Damn, will you ever stop me swearing? Were you unable to XA all the music and waste a bit more time on rendering same cutscenes with the remaining two characters?
Loading times. Well, these are okay, since every level loads in 10 seconds, but the saving times... I bet you don't want to wait thirty seconds while your game saves. Yeah, I counted. Thirty. It may look like nothing on words, but on practice, it feels like eternity. By the way. Wanna know why it takes thirty seconds? Well, the entire savegame occupies the whole memory card, all 15 blocks (compared to Duke Nukem Total Meltdown's 3-6 blocks). Awwwwwww, do I need to have EVERYTHING I've done logged? You don't need these dead bodies in any case since you can't do anything with them, why remembering their positions then? Can you simply store the puzzle progress sequence in just one or two bytes instead of remembering every switch, item and weapon I interacted with?! What the fucking fuck where you thinking, Probe?!!


Now there's no need to continue listing all the major fuckups done with this port. You already understand that it's just plain lame and looks and behaves like SNES Doom in many ways. All what was excusable for a 16-bit console will never go well with 32-bit one. So... the review is over?
Hee-hee, not yet. There is at least one good point in this thing. Controls. There, you may choose one of about twenty control mappings (compared to the same DNTM's three schemes) for your comfort. But where the comfort really ends is the use of 'shift' and 'inventory' buttons, you just gotta get used to them. While holding 'inventory' doesn't really do anything but switches the items with left and right on your D-Pad, the Shift button... Well, by holding it, you may change weapons (there is no reverse weapon tracking, however... and they swap as fast as in Serious Sam on the XBOX), use the items, look up or down and ascend or descend in case if you use Wings of Wrath. While the first two functions won't be a real bother, the remaining ones, apart from being rarely used, are just komp-lee-kei-t'd. Like, you wanna fly up. All you gonna do is to hold Shift + Jump + Up (almost said Ctrl + Alt + Delete, wow). And now imagine that a lot of serpents are attacking you from the ground. And that you're playing on hardest difficulty. They sure will burn your alter-ego's skin up before you press all the required buttons, for sure.
Plus, among all the level replacements, there is a good one, after all. Do you remember Korax appearing on the wall when a new chapter was about to begin? Well, now this wall doesn't disappear so cheaply, instead, it quickly scrolls down making a loud clang afterwards Now that's the thing that should be implemented into PC Hexen...
As I said at the very beginning of the review, I started playing through this version. And guess what, I made it to chapter three, Heresiarch's Seminary (a.k.a. Monastery)! So why couldn't I do that on the original Hexen? Why do I load up the ISO of this crapling into pSX emulator instead?! Why do I see all this pixelated mess that's called 'mawnstarz' again and again but keep moving the storyline on?!!
...these are the questions I would never find answers to.
Anyways, bottom line.

Considering that PlayStation was a more affordable console than SEGA Saturn or Nintendo 64, this port indeed had potential. But none of it has been pushed forward. No optimization at all, crappy design, even more crappy programming... And that's Probe, the guys who made some really decent Mortal Kombat ports! I may give them a credit on leaving all the levels in their original order (unlike Doom for the same console), but OH MA GAWD, how much have they suffered... The only reason you have to download this port (neither buy, nor rent, only download - they haven't deserved their loaf of bread this time) is kickass FMVs. Otherwise, if you can't stand its' B-sides quality, beware of this thingie. It's cheaply done, after all.

P.S. Some may say that I have overloaded this review with mentioning yet too much other classic FPSes, mostly Doom for Super Nintendo. My fault. But still, why can't I let myself say that it's technically worse than all the stuff I told about above?!
P.P.S. Also, my longest review so far. I mean, sixteen kilobytes of pure text?! Doubtin' that you have read the whole thing entirely...


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Zedek before he orders an execution. 
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So far, it looks accurate... so far.
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Korax's dirty face. 
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Frankly, even with such amount of enemies the game keeps the same framerate! 
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This damn guy takes six hits  instead of three now. WHY?!!

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'WHERE IS THE SERPENT?!' - ''He told me to kill you while he's out...'