On 4/8/2019 at 3:05 PM, Saucy said:
PARASITE EVE for a future Christmas episode. In Captain Zzap, Ross said he was running out of Christmas games he feels like talking about, and every year since then I've suggested Parasite Eve in the comments, but they usually get buried so I don't think he's noticed.
Ross, I know you really only do PC games on the Game Dungeon, but you might want to make an exception for this one. It's far and away the best Christmas game ever, and it honestly seems like the kind of thing you'd like a lot. It's got great atmosphere, hilariously incorrect soft science, mutating animals inspired by The Thing, unique RPG hybrid gameplay, people exploding into orange goop like in End of Evangelion, shotguns, kickass music; basically everything you could possibly want for Christmas.
I fully support this. Ross's Snow/Christmas equivalence gives him a good bit of room, but Christmas as a backdrop (as in this game and Die Hard, to name just two) might help expand things a bit for him. I remember the crafting system being kind of unique and weird in a fun way, too: body armor that healed you or protected you from status effects, modding sub-machine guns to accept grenade rounds, lots of fun.
Here's hoping he doesn't run into too many emulator issues, or Square/Sony getting all copyright-happy on him for reviewing a twenty-year-old game that, as best I can tell, they don't sell anymore and hasn't been compatible with their consoles for two generations now. Google says it works on the PS3 and PSP, but the links just take you to the PS store's front page, so it may be gone for now outside of emulators.
Speaking of emulators (though not Christmas-related), one game I'd been thinking about for a while but took a week of searching to track down the name of, hails from the NES days: Captain Skyhawk.
Generic name notwithstanding, this is a surprisingly solid game. The basic premise is you fly a sci-fi version of the sexiest fighter of the 20th century, the F-14 Tomcat, in a war against invading aliens.
Even on the old 8-bit machines of the day, the gameplay is surprisingly solid: your fighter moves and drifts in predictable ways, debris/gibs from ground targets fly and tumble, there was little or no slowdown at any point, and while the missions were linear, they had a lot of variation. The main missions are isometric/top-down vertical shooter attack runs to blow up alien ground bases, but you also drop supplies for resistance outposts and rescue captured scientists, or you might be shooting down alien fighters and blowing up enemy space stations in more of a chase-camera mode. In the main missions, your maneuverability is also not just limited to front-back-left-right: you can also change your speed/altitude to deal with different targets, which so far as I know is unique in top-down vertical shooters. Also, a bit like Tyrian, you have the option at certain points to upgrade your fighter a bit: you can load up with missiles and bombs that can be consumed during missions, or improve the cannon, which is your basic infinite-ammo default weapon. Or both, if you're really good at blowing up aliens and rack up the score.
The only criticisms I have are that the terrain is a basic type of 3D polygonal grid, a bit like Test Drive 3 - but as Ross observed, that sort of interpretive scenery isn't a bad thing. It's just... Well, not what a lot of gamers are looking for today.
The other is that it has next to no music. The tracks it has aren't bad, in a minimalist 8-bit way, but not every level has them, and the noise of your cannon and the high-pitched drone of those big GE jet engines are going to be your soundtrack for most of the game. It's a bit disappointing, but if it comes down to a tradeoff between solid fast-paced gameplay and having lots of music, then I think the studio made the right choice.