Archive of Lost Games: Vol 5: The Tridisaster

By Danny “Barnaby” Butler

E-mail: Danny-Butler@utc.edu

Chattanooga (UTC/The Loop)-Welcome to this edition of the Archive! Today, we have three games to review, Hammerin’ Hero for the PSP, N+ for the DS and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for the PS3, and, for the first time in the history of the Archive, we have some great summer gaming suggestions from Senior Archivist James Webb and Archivist Josh Fogleman. Hang on folks, cause this might get a bit crazy!

Hammerin’ Hero for the PSP follows the adventure of a young carpenter names Gen who must protect his city from a greedy crime boss ruining the simple life the town folk have know for so long. This charming 2-D platformer captures the spirit of retro platformers such as Ninja Gaiden, requiring precise skill and timing to advance through some stages, with a game mechanic similar to the Genesis platformer Kid Chameleon, where players could change the title character’s costume to access new abilities and powers.

 

Get down with Hammerin' Hero, N+ and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom!

Get down with Hammerin' Hero (Above; PSP), N+ (DS) and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom (PS3)!

Gen can take a wide variety of roles, from the DJ job, which allows him to swing around a giant boom box and throw vinyl records at his foes, to the Sushi Chef job (Gen gains the ability to unleash a giant wasabi-powered energy attach) and the baseball-inspired Slugger class. This adds a great deal of depth to gameplay, and encourages the player to try out several jobs per level.

For parts 2 and 3, along with all of the other video blogs form AoLG, click here!

Certain levels are inhabited by depressed or helpless citizens, which Gen can assist depending on his current job. These side quests unlock extra collectibles and trophies, adding even more charm to this addictive title.
The game cost about $17 to $20 at most used game stores, which only adds to the many reasons of why every PSP owner should play or own this game. This is one gem in a more or less desolate and lacking PSP library.

Next up is N+ for the DS. N+ spawned from a web-based flash game that attained a massive online following. You play a ninja who must use his climbing and jumping skills to activate switches for doors in each room. Your score in based on how long it takes you to beat a certain stage, and how many extra orbs the player grabs on his way to the exit.
The game is simple to control, yet hard to master, and it offers an insane number of stages. If that were not enough, players can make their own stages, and can share them with friends and family. Throw in a price tag of about $10 to $15, and how could you resist?

Finally, we have Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for the PS3. This is a Sony exclusive series that has already made a good name for itself on the PSP. While I must admit I have not played the PSP titles, I have enjoyed everything UL: DK has to offer.

UL: DK play like the Champions of Norrath series for the PS2, and allows for up to two players to team up and defend the kingdom of Dureth from the rule of the corrupt king. Players can choose between three classes (mage, rogue or warrior) as they hack and slash their way to victory and glory.

While the story is a bit forgettable, the gameplay is fun and fast-paced, enabling characters to massacre dozens of enemies with ease. Players can buy or find gear, such a gems for weapons or armor, which can add combat abilities and can quickly swing the tide of battle in your favor. If you are looking for fun title to jump into with a buddy for under $20, check out Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for the PS3.

Take down giant dragons and wild beast in Monster Hunter Tri, releasing April 20th for the Wii.

Take down giant dragons and wild beast in Monster Hunter Tri, releasing April 20th for the Wii.

Great cheap games are always great finds, but what about some of the solid new releases we have coming out in the next couple of months? Archivist Josh Fogleman said he was excited about Monster Hunter Tri, releasing April 20 for the Wii. This title brings the smash portable hit to the Wii for the first time in the US, and will include underwater combat and a host of new monsters to challenge. “ I loved the demo,” Fogleman said, “and I can’t wait for the full release soon.”

Another great title is Just Cause 2 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. James Webb just started playing the title, and said that it is even more insane that the first Just Cause. “ Now you have a grappling hook attached to your arm,” He said. It can even be used as a weapon!

Other great summer titles include:

  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
  • Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii)
  • Lost Planet 2 (Xb360, PS3)
  • Infinite Space (DS)
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (DS)

So many games and so little time! I thank you for tuned into this edition of the Archive. Stay tuned for the next edition coming soon this summer.

Can’t get enough of the Archives? Check out these back issues! Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4

Images courtesy of IGN.com.

The Archive of Lost Games Vol. 3: Harvey Birdman (Wii)

By Danny “Barnaby” Butler

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) –Welcome once again the to the infamous Archive of Lost Games! I am your host and archive curator Danny “Barnaby” Butler, and today we are talking about the Wii game Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law.

My guests this week are James Campbell, and returning for a historic third appearance, it’s James Webb.

Webb was the first to take a whack at this detective/court room adventure game inspired by the popular Adult Swim cartoon. Birdman, a semi-popular cartoon hero from the ‘80s has finally decided to settle down, deciding to trade his superhero exploits for arson and copyright lawsuits.

Birdgirl, the over-ambitious, unwanted sidekick of Birdman, often provides the player with key pieces of evidence throughout the investigation.

Birdgirl, the over-ambitious, unwanted sidekick of Birdman, often provides the player with key pieces of evidence throughout the investigation.

The acting talent in the game impressed Webb, who said he was a fan of the series.

“They assembled almost everyone from the original cast, except [Steven] Colbert,” he said as he pondered the answer to the game’s first puzzle.

“The game is very true to the series,” Webb said, “so fans of the show will definitely enjoy it.”

Newcomers might get a little lost he thinks, but the story lines are crafted to help draw in newcomers. Webb compared the game to a cheaper version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series for the Nintendo DS.

“Fans of that series should enjoy this,” he said, “but they will notice that some court room sequences are slightly more restrictive than they are in Phoenix Wright.”

Harvey Birdman, no longer a superhero, now works for the law firm Sieben & Sieben as a defense attorney.

Harvey Birdman, no longer a superhero, now works for the law firm Sieben & Sieben as a defense attorney.

Campbell, who had not played any of the Phoenix Wright series, though the game was humorous, fun and entertaining.

“I really liked it,” Campbell said right after trying his first case. “If I had a Wii, I would definitely want to pick this up.”

The game is priced at five dollars new, so it will fit in just about any budget. While reviewers’ did like how the game stuck to the show’s signature style and pace, most sites gave Harvey Birdman low reviews on account of its length (the game takes about 4 hours) and relatively shallow game play.

That’s all for this week’s edition. Tune in next week for Deadly Premonition on the Xbox 360, a game which explores the dark corners of the mind of a detective.

For previous archives, click here for Vol. 1 and here for Vol. 2.

All images courtesy of Gamespot.

The Archive of Lost Games Vol. 2: Just Cause (XB360)

By Danny Butler

E-mail to: danny-butler@utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) –This week on the Archive of Lost Games, we highlight Just Cause developed by Avalanche Studios.

Just Cause followed CIA black ops agent Rico Rodrigeuz in his quest to free the island of San Esperito from the oppressive dictator Salvador Mendoza. Mendoza, who might have weapons of mass destruction, is no match for players, who are able to use boats, helicopters, and a cool stockpile of weapons to help free the people of San Esperito.

The game is an open world experience, much like the newer editions of the GTA series, allowing gamers to explore the coolest aspect of the game: the island.

He's on a (jet)boat!

He's on a (jet) boat! While the boat is a ripoff of the Batboat, the lush environment and water effects seen really make this title.

The game features some of the most stunning environments I’ve seen in a next gen title, which is surprising given the game’s reported small budget. In fact, that is mainly what saved the title in many of its reviews.

Out of the big three gaming review publications (IGN, Game Informer, and Metacritic), the game’s highest review was a 73% (Metacritic) with game play mechanics and glitches being at the top of the list of complaints.

While the title does suffer from some glitches (every once and a while your in-game PDA freezes up or you can sometime end up molesting the environment), most of them are pretty amusing given the plot of the game.

For the last edition of The Archives, click here!

Archivist James Webb, a senior from Marietta, Ga., said Rico reminded him of the 1,000,00 peso-man sketch from a Robot Chicken episode.

“He’s like the Mexican Terminator!” he yelled right before grabbing and throwing a helicopter out of the sky.

Our new Archivist for the week is Reed Brock, an avid gamer who works at a local used game retailer. While he still has not a had a chance to play the title, he did said that he wasn’t excited about the release, mainly due to the price, but he is considering playing it now that both a sequel has been announced and the price has dropped dramatically.

Most retailers sell the game used from somewhere between $6-$10 dollars, but the game carries a mature rating which means you have to be at least 17 years old to purchase it from most dealers.

Take a Magical Mystery Tour with The Beatles: Rock Band

by Louise Elliott

CHATTANOOGA (The Loop/UTC) — The Beatles have reunited and you’re their newest member in The Beatles: Rock Band.

This game is rated T for Teen for Mild Lyrics and Tobacco References.

This latest in the line of Rock Band video games offers players a uniquely rewarding experience by allowing them to be part of the musical journey as a member of the legendary quartet.

Just like other versions of Rock Band, players can perform on drums, guitar, bass, or vocals to a number of full length songs.   The Beatles version however has been revamped to reflect the bands’ musical journey and their establishment as cultural icons.

Songs can be performed with up to three vocalists, whose goal is to master the famous Beatles three-part harmonies.

The play format is also slightly different.  Players can begin their journey as The Beatles did at The Cavern Club, the Liverpool locale where the band was discovered.  The journey then continues to other famous stops along The Beatles’ 10-year career.  Players can perform concerts on The Ed Sullivan Show, Budokan (where The Beatles made their Japanese debut), and even rock out at Shea Stadium.

The game disc includes 45 Beatles songs.  Among some of the best game play moments are “Come Together”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, which is performed at The Ed Sullivan Theater, and “Revolution”, from the Abbey Road album.  More songs are available through download.

The allowance of The Beatles’ music in video game form may have been a surprise to some, as the owners of the groups’ catalog have been famously reluctant in releasing songs for commercial use.  According to Switch.com, the game was developed with creative input from Apple Corps (the Beatles’ label), along with that of surviving band members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

  • Released 9/9/09 by developer Electronic Arts
  • The Beatles: Rock Band stand alone version (game disc only) MSRP $59.99
  • Published by MTV games

Beatles fans and gamers alike have been anticipating the release of the game for months.

“I love The Beatles,” said Michael Eubanks, a Memphis senior.  “Their music is awesome.”  Eubanks said he has not yet played the game but is excited to get his hands on it.  He said he thinks “Come Together” would be a fun song to play.  “I just love song,” he said.

Amanda Cook, a sophomore from Nashville said she really wants to play the game too, but thinks it’s too pricey.  “I play Rock Band when I get the chance, it’s just really expensive,” said Cook.  “Beatles songs are well known and normally really good, so I think it would be fun,” she said.

Some students have already played the game, but share the sentiment that the game is overpriced.

“I was happy with it, but it’s expensive to buy the guitar and the game,” said Ben Knuettel, a Chattanooga junior.  “It’s cool because it’s all Beatles songs, but I wish there were more songs on it,” Knuettel said.

Overall, the game offers many strong points and memorable highlights.  The graphics are far more impressive than those of other Rock Band franchise offerings.  The story-telling theme is also a plus as it makes the player feel more a part of the game than other similarly modeled versions have.  Playing this is game is becoming one of “The Fab Four”, as you witness their transformation both musically, visually, and culturally.

The only downfall of this version is that it occasionally exposes the overt simplicity of many of The Beatles best songs.  The drum and guitar parts are sometimes extremely repetitive and would be a bore if it weren’t for the attention grabbing graphics displayed during play mode.  Often times, particularly during the earlier catalog, consecutive songs have the exact same drum beat or guitar rhythm.  This can take away from the challenge that makes music video so appealing to player.

Despite, or perhaps thanks to, its sometimes overly simplistic feel, The Beatles:Rock Band is the perfect party game.

I give this game 8 out of 10 Choo-choo whistles.

Write to Louise Elliott at linda-elliott@utc.edu

Related Story: Beatlemania Returns