Review: GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

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Rare’s GoldenEye was a sharp reply to PCs of how exciting the FPS genre could be on a console – especially the N64 – in 1997. It also stands out as what is probably the only movie-based game to actually expand on its own material while being good at what it set out to do.

With those two things in mind, it’s easy to see how GoldenEye became such a influential legend, one that fans would even go so far as to bring the experience back to where the FPS began on PCs with mods recreating its famous levels with Half Life 2′s engine, Source.

Those same fans had also clamored for Nintendo to release the classic game on the Wii’s Virtual Console as a downloadable game only for the idea to die a slow and license litigated death.

And then developer, Eurocom, stunned everyone when they announced their own GoldenEye game built from the ground up as a re-imagined reboot. But far from being sacrilege, Eurocom’s remake is both an unmistakable homage and a fantastic FPS in its own right.
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Review: Metroid – Other M

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Samus Aran isn’t supposed to need anyone. Ever since she let her hair down decades ago in one of gaming’s watershed moments (“what? Samus is a girl?”), she has been the quiet and revered standard-bearer for strong, female lead characters. She needed no rescuing and wasn’t prone to inner monologues about stars, life or making people happy. She didn’t wish for love or try to counter her femininity by acting macho.

Basically, she was just damn good in that awesome, alien-killing armor of hers.

At least, that’s what I and others want to believe — some of this imagery, in a way, is our fault. With other female lead characters grunting, bouncing their chests and splattering bits of sex appeal on everyone’s screens, many fans who’ve known Samus since the original Metroid have crafted a mental ideal around her minimalist nature. With her cloudy past, abundance of weapons and gadgets and her reputation as a bonafide ass kicker, she’s almost like an intergalactic Batman.

And this is where Metroid: Other M becomes both a satisfying and confusing experience. The gameplay says one thing about this legendary heroine, while the storytelling says something completely different — and sad. Team Ninja succeeds in taking Samus to new action heights, but I can’t shake the feeling that the mystique that made Samus so appealing in the past has been damaged.
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Review: Dragon Quest IX – Sentinels of the Starry Skies

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By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

The Dragon Quest series’ relationship with gamers outside of Japan hasn’t exactly been a stable one, especially out West.

It’s certainly not because of quality. Memorable characters, heartwarming adventures, and artwork from Akira Toriyama create experiences just as worthy of your time and attention as any Final Fantasy title.

This is further proven in the series’ latest iteration, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies. It not only echoes what has made the Dragon Quest saga memorable, but is also the first numbered installment to receive a handheld-only release.
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E3: A look back on Day Three

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Day Three was a relaxed day for us. Only a handful of appointments and the crowds were a little thinner as quite a few people decided to head home once they’ve gotten their fill of news. I don’t blame them. My feet at this point were turning to mush from all of the standing and walking, but the end was in sight. Almost. Today was a catch up day for anything interesting that I wanted to see for myself so we weren’t under any pressure to run from one booth to the other.

Then again, the Lakers were defending their title at the Staples Center that evening making getting out early something of a priority. When Angelinos tell you to go home instead of hanging around to see burning taxis win or lose, it’s probably good advice.
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E3: A look back on Day One

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Another E3 has come and gone leaving behind clouds, motion controls, and a bevy of sequels. So what does it all mean? I’ve had a few days to gather my thoughts on what we’ve seen on the show floor and behind closed doors, so here are a few ideas on the message left by waggling hands and brutal teddy bears.
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Super Bowl XLIV in Tecmo 8-bit

Do you remember Tecmo Bowl on the NES?

Do you also remember the impossible that would regularly play out during the game against the AI such as eighty yard returns on a single play on every other play? That’s like what Tracy Porter did during the Super Bowl…but having him do that magic in about as many times. But Tecmo Bowl holds a special place in the hearts of gamers that remember it as one of those titles, the ones that they look back on with a warm smile on their face. Flaws and all, it was great fun before Madden conquered the genre.

And here’s how Tracy Porter’s run would have looked like in the game thanks to one 8-bit fan. It’s not using the original sounds of the game, but it uses the live broadcast replacing the live visuals with 8-bit goodness.

BOOOOOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!

EA has revived a classic from the nineties for the Wii with the announcement that NBA Jam is coming out for it. Yes, THAT NBA Jam, the same one which came out in the arcades and consoles in ’93. The arcade version was known for its four way co-op and pit two-on-two teams against each other with helicopter slam dunks, face planting fouls, and catching the players’ basketball on fire if they were…on fire.

It even featured real NBA players, their mugs digitized and animated onscreen, and now that’s coming to the Wii in some kind of form. The official website is up with polls asking who players want to see in the game, but I’ll have to admit to being a little disappointed in not seeing anything for Mutant League Football. Maybe next time? For now, if you need a refresher course on what it might look like, you can catch footage of the original arcade version below.

A Holiday Gaming Guide

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So it’s another year of holiday gaming as parents try and figure out just what they should get their kids (or themselves), and I’m willing to bet that a console might be on the minds of those willing to camp out storefronts in Black Friday or battle each other for the last copy of Super Mario Bros. Wii left on the shelves.

With Sony’s new pricing policy for their PS3, Xbox 360 bundles, and the Wii joining the moneymaking fracas, it’s as if it were launch day all over again.

A few days ago while browsing, couple had asked me what kind of games they could get their thirteen-year old daughter on the Xbox 360 and told me what kind of titles she loved to play. They were buying an Xbox for her because her brothers were living elsewhere and wanted to keep her connected, but were wondering what she could play on her own.

After hearing them gush about Guitar Hero, I pointed out Beatles Rock Band. They said she already had it for another system. I asked if she liked to play first-person shooters or sports games and they said no.

I didn’t know what to tell them, only that it was tough finding something for their daughter’s tastes on the Xbox 360 that wasn’t a first-person shooter or a sports game…both of which they said she was not interested in it, but her brothers were. In the end, they opted to get a flat screen TV instead. But if she had been a huge shoot ‘em up fan like her brothers, she’d find more than enough to be happy about on the system.

Her particular needs were very specific, but the question remains the same for many parents and newcomers unfamiliar with all of the gaming jargon that kids, and perhaps as many adults, speak as a second language.

So here’s a little help from Tech-Out on what to look for when you head out into the busy shopping season and are trying to decide which console, and what extra games, you want to bring home.
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Review: Muramasa – The Demon Blade

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade is an art lesson disguised as an action game. If most of my schooling was this enjoyable and simple, I’d probably be more cultured.

The Nintendo Wii has become something of the local art house for video games, as designers compensate for the system’s lack of obnoxious graphic horsepower by putting out titles with a unique visual spin. Before Muramasa came MadWorld and No More Heroes, a pair of games that stood out as much for their creative look as much as the gameplay. Okami also earned a lot of praise for its artsy vibe.

Muramasa bobs and floats along the same artistic river, making the player feel as if they are performing within the confines of Japanese paintings rather than the standard levels one would see in most action games. Adding to the mystique is the fact that Muramasa functions as a classic side-scroller, which makes it instantly accessible to practically anyone who plays it. This approach also enables the player to immerse himself or herself in other elements, such as story.

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Happy 20th Sega Genesis!

Today’s the 20th Anniversary for the Sega Genesis! The days of blast processing, doing what Nintendon’t, and rising from your grave are back again among the die hard fans that still remember the 16-bit wars and the games that they had spawned. The Genesis was the platform of choice for many players during the day, especially thanks to a blitzkrieg of savvy marketing moves and third-party titles…and some of the most entertaining commercials to ever come out in a battle between consoles, the kind that aren’t seen today because someone might get their feelings hurt. With lawyers.

Sega would also use the Genesis to pioneer several important advances that, while they may not have been as successful as Sega had hoped at the time, went on to help pave the way for the next generation on. Backwards compatibility with the Master System was handled with a module that snapped on top of the system, a CD ROM drive was made available for it to support the new medium, and the Sega MegaNet in Japan was arguably the first to allow multiplayer over consoles.

So if you still have a Genesis, or one of Sega’s Genesis compilations, take some time out to enjoy some old school fun. SEGA!!!