Splatterhouse

March 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Articles, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Click for full review.

 

Its not often that titles that fall under the AAA radar of most gamers is something worth talking about. And whilst missing Halloween, possibly the best suited launch dates for this game in the UK, Splatterhouse still has a chance to get the attention it deserves.

Our story follows that of Rick, barely conscious, face down in his blood. His last memories that of his girlfriend Jen, being taken away by a strange old man deeper into his mansion walls. With his final breaths, Rick is spoken to by something known as the Terror Mask, and by wearing the mask, Rick will be able to act revenge on the creatures that are taking his love away, but to what price will he have to pay down the line?

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The combat in this beastly beat-em up is simple, with X being quick attacks, Y being heavy, B being grab attacks and the LT to bust a move out and let the Terror Mask take over to increase the bloodshed. More advanced tactics include blocking, dodging and using your upper body as a sprinting battering ram. All being upgradeable to maximize the bodily harm you can do to all the enemies that will be coming after you throughout the game.

The only real issue with the combat is the over the top special kills get tiring and repetitive way too soon in the game. Whilst the squeezing of heads, ripping of limbs and the rather tasteless ‘anus’ punch finish move are all specific to the certain enemies and they do have a habit of slowing the flow of the game down. Sometimes you’ll find yourself avoiding the special moves to just to help things move on a little faster.

The game opts for a cartoon like, yet serious tone, perhaps being better described as a ‘step up from cell shading’ to give it a bit more of a grittier pop, yet still keeping things mellow but eerie. Since we’re not looking for the next Resident Evil experience, this art direction suits the games general tone, even with the comedic outbursts from the Terror Mask.

The game also has an interesting feature in which Rick, whilst getting all up in the grills of monsters alike, will actually physically take damage from them. Going beyond the traditional fading bloodstain, Rick’s arms and torso will actually be aesthetically damaged, so you can see muscle, organs and in some case’s bone. Take too many hits in succession and Rick will lose an arm, severely weakening your attacks. From here, you have two options; take refuge from the onslaught until the powers of the Terror Mask will regenerate your missing limb. Or get your rage on. Pick up said limb with your still attached arm, and start swinging. Soggy end first, of course.

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To add a little more length to the game, there are extra difficulties, audio files from the antagonist of the game and pieces of pictures. Each level has a set amount of pieces the pictures to collect and put together yet it’s the content of them that’s a little bit unnecessary. Perhaps it took from the idea of Mafia II’s Playboy collectables, but Splatterhouse includes images, often naked, of Rick’s girlfriend Jen. But as a gamer, this addition could appeal to the pre-pubescent of us gamers, but for those who are a little more grown up for computerized boobies, it just adds a little more to Splatterhouses occasional ‘a little bit too much’.

As well as more difficulties, there are combat arenas for you to hone your skills, each arena with its own kill challenges for you to complete, and if that’s not enough, also unlock able are the original three Splatterhouse arcade titles. Kickin’ it back old school.

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Splatterhouse, whilst being a fun and a bit of a different game, also has a strong sense of immaturity which can often ruin it, if it took itself a little more seriously, Splatterhouse could have been a little bit more of an experience.

With all the titles out at the moment, Splatterhouse makes it in the pack as a nice game. Nice, being not too great, but not at all too shabby. With a good, albeit slightly predictable story-line, and a good varied amount of locations and reasons to just go a little nuts and start tearing enemies limb from limb. Splatterhouse does suffer a little with its slight repetitiveness, sometimes unnecessary over the top features and sometimes a little inconsistent upkeep of graphics. With issues aside, Splatterhouse is FUN. Splatterhouse does deserve your time and attention if you’re a fighting story based/horror fan or even if you just fancy something a little different to what’s out on the #1 spots right now. But the game doesn’t push itself enough to be a bestseller, and in some cases, you just wish it did.

7.0

Revenge Of The Wounded Dragon

April 15, 2010 at 1:35 am | Posted in PS3 Reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Click here to read full review

Tekken 6

December 16, 2009 at 2:35 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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See full review here

The daddy of beat em up is back in its sixth installment, the game promises a lot, but does it pack the full punch?

The beat-em up platform is a desolate area. With no new IPs in the genre, the golden oldies have made their comeback in the new generation of consoles. Dead or Alive, Soul Calibur, and Street Fighter have returned swinging and a kicking and its time for the iron fist of fighting. Tekken, to make its sixth impact on the world like a haymaker to Santa’s face! Is the sixth installment ready to take the crown with full force? Or is it just Tekken the piss?

Back in the day, Tekken was my game. It was one of the first titles I’d ever played in the beat em up platform, and the series soothed all my side fighter needs. It wasn’t until the launch of the Playstation 2 that I ventured into other means, including titles like Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance, Bloody Roar 3 (bout time that was revamped I say), and Dead or Alive 2. After that, Tekken faded out for me with the dull and confusing Tekken Tag.

When it comes to fighting games, both back then and now I’d like to call myself a ‘middleweight’ I didn’t know the massive combos but I’d still give a damn good fight to those who did. I always had a good bearing on the games unlike some of the lightweights you may encounter. This meant when even playing the computer, some bouts Id sail on through, and others would need some going at. It was a rewarding difficulty and position to be in. But after the launch of the next gen consoles I feel something changed. The games had something to prove. And now, they had the means to do it.

So, the story so far eh? Well…Once upon a time, there was a lad called…Hei…actually. To be perfectly fair. Despite number 6 being claimed as the title to tie up and bring the story more fully out and really make it understandable, after unlocking a few ‘ending’ videos. The stories for most characters are just as obscure as they always have been with yet more cryptic, head scratching FMV’s. From what the general jist is, Jin Kazama has hosted a sixth Iron Fist tournament. As usual, the winner gains control of Mishima Zaibatsu, along side all this, Jin, heading Mishima Zaibatsu has gone to war with the G Corporation, secretly headed by that of Kazuma himself. Like normal, its all just as crazy and hard to understand, but who cares its Tekken…oh you do care? Ack, my bad.

The main focus around Tekken 6 single player is the Scenario Campaign mode. Whilst a heavy revamp of the old Tekken Force Mode first seen in Tekken 3, the game takes this sort of style and greatly expands it into a story campaign. We follow the character Lars, as he leads a rebellion of Tekken Force soldiers to fight back against the Mishima Zaibatsu, he meets a girl named Alisa and we go from there.

Most of the levels are fairly short, with about 10-15 minutes in each level. They’re linear point A to B style layouts and it’s literally punch your way through. And the end of each level we’ll bump into a familiar Tekken faces that we’ll end up needing to defeat. Once defeated, there able to play in the Arena mode. Arena mode is the Arcade mode but shortened. This 4 stage mode gives us the prologue story and ending to each character in which you’ll combat 2 contestants, Jin Kazama and finally Azazel, which…I’ll go into later. Whilst the Arena isn’t compulsory, if you want to try to squeeze ANY form of storyline from the game, it’s where you’ll have to spend a little time. Otherwise, you can continue with Lars scenario campaign as you please.

Fortunately if the scenario mode isn’t for you, the old classic arcade mode is still around along with plenty of offline modes to enjoy against the A.I. or with a friend. Survival, time attack and team battles all make a more than welcome appearance. This is best to hone your skills; to take on your mates in a quick button whack frenzy to become king of your sofa!

Now let’s talk about Azazel. Azazel is the main reason why you probably won’t want this game much longer after you encounter him. Azazel is the new big boss, similar to True Orge. These days, fighting normal humans isn’t good enough, so they decided to keep up with the Tekken story randomness by adding in this fella. Much like True Orge and just as unwelcome to be there. Azazel is a pain. Attacks on him are ineffective unless he’s about to start a combo. Where as your attacks are useless as quite a lot of the time you’d do more damage to tell him that his outfit looked way to 12th Century. As a character he fills half the screen, meaning his attacks are massive and almost always unavoidable. And his attacks are as fluent and take around the same amount a standard grab attack. Maybe I’m not that hot at beat em ups anymore as much as the next guy. But I know what’s fun to play and what’s rewarding. Azazel isn’t. That joyous feeling you get for K.Oing him for the last time as actually your blood returning to your body from your face.

Now the world of Tekken has moved online, so now you can get the chance to actually come fist to face with those guys who used to get the high scores in the arcades and set their winning title as ‘ass’. They were a genius in their own mind, I assure you.

There’s limited things to do regarding online, besides beat people up. The lobbies are rather restrictive and it’s basically just standard versus, with a few changeable variables like how many to a room and how many rounds. Sadly, no Team Battles or anything like that comes online. Sadly.

What tore me apart about this game was how it looks. In arcade and normal game play, the characters, and arenas look beautifully created, whilst not making the processors work to push the boundaries of visuals, Tekken takes what’s available and makes what is more than great looking to play with and enjoy. But then the Scenario mode, a part of the game you’ll be spending a fair bit of time in, seems to have been knocked down a few pegs. With manageable graphics and the often addition of 2D walls and barriers this part of the game, wont be treating your eyes to anything spectacular, its one of those visual downgrades you’ll come to grow to and just get used to.

The Scenario mode is quite long, not to mention there’s the arcade and arena modes that require a good dragging through as each character. But something’s lacking again. It feels like developers are getting a little lazy on the rewards side. No unlockable costumes (you can dress them up yourself but who wants to do that?) no mini games, there’s not much in the rewarding sense this time round. Unlike that of Tekken 3. Lets bowl! Or not in this case.

With beat em ups becoming more of a smaller community to cater too, the game definitely stands up to those who are already massive fans of the franchise. Meaning it difficult for those who want the game for something a little fun and different to be kicked to the side lines in a hurl of fists and fury. It’s disheartening, but for those who will stick with it, you’ll find the game your after. Just don’t expect your mates to be as good when the come over. Unless they button bash. In which case, there not really your friends.

7.4

See footage on my coverage of Eurogamer Expo 09

Post Eurogamer 09

November 3, 2009 at 3:45 am | Posted in Articles, Events, Update posts | Leave a comment
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What a weekend!

After attending both days of the London leg of Eurogamer Expo 09 Im A. Totally knackered. and B. Looking forward to tons of new games on thier way very shortly!

I got my hands on tons of new games to come soon and even replayed a few old ones, but the events been great fun. Met new people. Had a good laugh with some of the staff, and even met the boss in the flesh. Got to speak to a few devs and Im also aware of the effects of Sambuca on an empty stomach. (Nothing gross dont worry!)

Ill be using this post as a link hub to all the features I write up for Eurogamer, as well as a link to the video featuring me on Inside Xbox! Thats right, myself and Corporal Kitty had a bit of a chin wag with SuperKaylo on the Friday, so keep an eye out for more stuff to come!

Previews:

Army of Two: The 40th Day

Assassins Creed II

Avatar/3D Games

Lost Planet 2

Plain Sight

SAW

Split/Second

Tekken 6

 

Pictures/Vids and more to come!

Devil May Cry 4 Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Battle Impossible Odds in the Devil Hunter’s newest adventure!

So, as the Xbox 360 manages to lure yet another PS3 exclusive over, we gladly embrace the return of Dante, the most badass video games character in the history of games, and all us 360 fans couldn’t wait to try out Dante in next gen form! But wait…what’s up with his arm?… Why’s he wearing blue and where’s his other gun gone? And why is he fighting with our beloved Dante? Something’s surely up here, its time to sharpen your swords and stock up on cool. Because Devil May Cry 4 is here and ready for you.

Welcome to Fortuna, a city of people who all worship the legendary Sparda. But is something more sinister going on within the Order of Sword, the group who idolise this famous legend? You begin the game as Nero, with the close abilities of Dante and his brother Vergil, but with less experience, scarred with his arm which posses demonic powers.

Whilst being the witness to the assassination of his orders leader, he is ordered as a Holy Guard to hunt down the ‘man in red’. Though his travels reveal dark secrets which may cause him to form alliances with whom he last expected.

If you’re a stranger to the unique style that is Devil May Cry, then you may find the game to start with, quite a daunting and challenging game. The series has been renowned for its lack of sympathy for newcomers and easy difficulties and you may need a few minutes to practice and work your way around with all the combos and effective moves to use on each enemy.

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The order didnt think much of Nero’s book report…

You’ll find yourself facing impossible odds against some of the most evil and grotesque creatures from the underworld, with combo attacks to chain, unlike most games like this, the main idea is to look the coolest you can whilst fighting. Upping your stylish ranking will get you more Red Orbs and work towards your overall mission ranking.

In DMC 1-3, Red orbs we’re your currency to getting your upgrades, items and extras to aid you in your adventures, however now, red orbs are only currency to health items, and cannot be used for upgrades. Instead, you gain ‘Proud Souls’ from your rankings at the end of each mission, and instead these act as your currency. These are considerably harder to come by as they rely more on your ability to play rather than hounding as many Orbs as you can find. Making affording those last few upgrades you really need a hell of a lot harder.

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Its raining lead. Hallelu-…

Progressing through the missions usually consists of a hail of enemies and a hell of a lot of awesomeness in the form of fighting, followed by possibly a puzzle which may need your full un divided attention if you want to get through. And waiting for you on the other side? Just a selection of boss’ waiting to shut that devilish mouth of yours…permanently. If you succeed in making it out alive, you’re often granted with a new ability or even a new weapon tp unleash.

For the hardcore fans of Dante fear not, despite a majority of the game being Nero based, you’ll also spend a short time playing as Dante, his controls are similar to how they played in DMC3 featuring all the styles and extra features.

As with the DMC series, the original score cast have returned, including Shawn Mcpherson, who has been again brought back to create yet more adrenaline pumping fight music to rip through your opponents to. The music he creates, accompanied with the rather deep lyrics

almost woven into the music as to not divert you from the main sound works well to create the effective fight song to add even more style to those combos.

With Devil May Cry 1, originally a Resident Evil write off, graphically, like the RE series, it boasts some of the finest Capcom has to offer us at the time. The depth into the game is a gives you a massive feel of the world your in. However, in certain points, details like the Shadows can be a little bit disappointing. Especially in a segment of the game where you need to be aware of the shadows of your surroundings, the blocky, jagged areas really put you off. Whilst this wont put you right off the game, the scenery does continue to look very nice, its just a shame, there’s not enough of it.

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Dancing with the devil isnt as good for you as you’d think…

When saying that, the levels themselves are a mass of life and energy, though the storyline causes you to do a lot of back tracking through what you already worked through and sometimes feels like this part could be in a beautiful new area with more things to explore, rather than going in reverse.

The main game, consisting of 20 missions features hours of games play each time round. The continuous increase of difficulty and number of game modes, character upgrades and extras will keep you going through this game for a long time. As well as this, the unlockable DMC2 favorite ‘Bloody Palace’ makes a humble return. Though considerably toned down, its still a hell of a lot of fun, and an easy way to get those extra orbs for the main story. Though being a Single Player game, your scores will be posted on Xbox Live in the leader boards so you can see amongst your friends who really is the true devil hunter out of you all.

A welcome game to the 360 catalogue, which continues to grow the franchise into even more of a compelling story which asks even more questions and for some, answers none. Despite the lack of content the game has compared to its predecessors. Its enough to not only keep the true DMC fans happy, but to bring many more into the family and enjoy the experience.

Rating: 9.1

Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Capcom Production Studio 1
Genre: Action
Number of Players: 1
Features: 1080p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1, Xbox Live

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