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

Soul Calibur Review

August 11, 2009 at 1:44 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Before you grab SC4, See how it all started…

When a Warrior is born, a quest is also begun. Thankfully, thanks to Namco we can relive all the stories of the old school weapon based beat em up before the Soul Calibur series takes its first steps into the next gen era next month in august.

The game offers 4 modes of play. Arcade is your typical story mode. Each character fights 6 random characters to reach stage 7, with a character who is entwined with your characters story in some way. After your ‘destined battle’ you fight it out in Stage 8 with Inferno for the soul edge sword.

When you’re tired of the story, some tests of your skills should be on order, with Time Attack mode and 2 versions of Survival. Time Attack, think of it as time trial races for the arcade mode and Survival being the classic, endless round where you take on an opponent one at a time till your defeated. The other version of this, ‘Extra Survival’ see’s the same rules only with a one hit one kill added in, which will make that first blow…well…crucial.

If you’re a big fan of the past Soul Caliburs you’re probably asking me ‘Where’s the quest mode?’ Sadly, its been removed most probably due to the size restrictions, however its something I really enjoyed in the SC series and would have liked to have seen it in the arcade title.

If you weren’t asking me that, you might be asking what about online play? Well, sadly, this also didn’t make the cut. A 2 player local version is available but taking your blades to the anonymous masses aren’t allowed in Soul Calibur’s arcade title. SC4’s going to have to bring it all for us.

This version of Soul Calibur is in fact the Dreamcast port, so already from there; the looks of the game were improved on already. The game does look surprisingly good to look at for such an old game, being Namcos only real effort in how SC looks was to bump it up to our HD level. Good job on there count however.

Most, if not all sound, in game, from the BGM to clashes of swords are straight from the original, with most the dialogue in Japanese with English subs you wont really want to pay too much attention to that, rather more your eagerness to get right into battle and get that first blow in.

With everything in the game unlocked from the start, this game instantly loses the drive to ‘unlock everything’ gamers have when really into a game, and with no real online, playability the game sadly see’s a stunted growth on replay ability, after you’ve completed all the stories in arcade mode with each character the only drive may be just to get the rest of the achievements from it. Although the Time Attack, Survival and Extra Survival will cure your SC needs till the release of Soul Calibur 4.

Overall, a really good port of the game, but something really only for the die hard SC fans or fans of the dreamcast version purely because no online or much else to get from it unlockable wise, but is sure to kick up a stir ready for when the next gen Soul Calibur 4 hits this August.

Rating 7.0

Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Project Soul
Genre: Fighting
No. of Players: 1-2 players local

Rez HD Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Drum and Bass rail shooter gets a healthy Rezurrection…

To prevent a supercomputer from collapsing within itself you, an unnamed hacker take on the system Eden to make your way through the programs to save it and take out any firewalls and virus’s on your way.

The game has received a major enhancement in graphics and really makes having a HD TV to flaunt its full potential an enjoyment to experience. The graphics really add to the feel the game creates with its visual style and connections with the music.

To those unfamiliar with Rez’s style of gameplay here’s a quick intro to it. The game style is a simple rail shooter progressing through levels of enemies with a boss at the end. Each level is split into 10 sections where you must eliminate all enemies and shoot at an item to progress to the next section. Now, here is where we take your usual expectations and jumble it up a bit.

The games main focus is around the music featured in it. These tracks are drum and bass/trance tracks which start off rather simple but as you progress to the next levels the sounds become more complex and interesting. Along with this, the sounds of shooting and eliminating enemies is also timed with the music, the destruction of an enemy results in sounds like drum beats and other trance sounds ultimately building up on the song.

Your avatar and background also pulsate to the beat of the music along with the vibration of the pad in time as well. This though in words may not sound like much of an effect but whilst in play can really give a feel of involvement in the game even in a sub conscious kind of level. The songs are all different for each level and are really well made as well as good to listen to, even on a casual level.

The game has 4 official levels with extra levels and game types to unlock. Those who really enjoy the game and play it a lot get rewarded with extra features that the game doesn’t boast about. If a lot of people knew more about these extras people would know to play it for longer.

It’s good to see the games making a comeback and ultimately a brilliant visual feast for your HD TV to lap up. Even those without a HD TV will enjoy its visual style. And even if you’re a d’n’b/trance fan you’ll probably like this game more than you’d think. However with bringing it to the Xbox Live Arcade something like a multiplayer or online would have been nice.

Rating: 7.5

Published by: Q Entertainment
Developed by: HexaDrive / Q Entertainment
Genre: Shooter
Number of Players: 1
Features: 16:9 Support, 720p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1

Tron Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Published by: Disney Interactive Studios
Genre: Action
Also Available On: Arcade

Retro comeback makes a disappointing return

Upon the films release, a coin operated arcade game shortly followed. Here, this January, Tron re-appears to us in Xbox Live Arcade form, for us all to play again. The retro games are making one hell of a comeback this year.

The game, being a complete original of the arcade, features 12 levels of 4 mini-games. Each of the 4 games must be completed to progress to the next level. Each level has the same 4 mini games just with additional difficulties as you progress.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

The 4 mini games consist of the I/O Tower, where you’re given a short time to reach the Input/output tower and make your way past varying numbers of Grid bugs. The MCP Cone, where you must destroy a moving multicolored wall between you and the cone, and you must get past the wall to finish the level. Battle Tanks is a simple gun fight between you and a tank in a small area, however you must hit the tank 3 times, where as you can only take one shot. Finally the most recognized would be the Light Cycles where you must use the trail of the light cycle to cut off the bikes on the map.
As interesting as the games can be for the first few minutes, if you manage to make it through to the later levels it can become a little tedious and repetitive. With only having 3 lives to play through it becomes a little agitating as you play through the same levels just to reach one section that you just cannot get past.

Reduced: 90% of original size [ 800 x 450 ] – Click to view full image

Unfortunately, the game has had little to no visual improvements on its arcade predecessor. Lines have been smoothed out at the most and anyone expecting a HD visual delight on their favorite childhood past time might want to take a miss on this as visually the game is old, and tired.

Sound wise, the sound is very plain and same old from the original, the victory and defeat tunes sound near on exactly the same, and slowly turn into a excessive drone of flat keys in your ears after hearing them too often, putting you off playing altogether, might be better off with your own soundtrack, or even just on mute. Play some songs in your head.

With 12 levels of the same four mini games, only the few who favored this as a classic will try to consume all that’s worth from the game.

Generally one of those games for either the massive fans of the original arcade game or any recent Tron film fans that might be interested. Otherwise I’d suggest a severe miss for this retro arcade title.

Rating: 3.1

Tempest Review

August 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Published by: Atari
Developed by: Atari
Genre: Shooter
Number of Players: 1-2
Features: 16:9 Support, 480p Support, 720p Support, 1080i Support, Dolby Digital 5.1

Atari continues with its Retro attack!

Continuing with their Retro arcade games streak Atari have given us yet another flashback from the world of old school with the shooter �Tempest� Marking a 25th anniversary of when it was first launched, this �tube shooter� hit the coin-op arcade world and now has hit us again in the form of downloadable Live arcade goodness.

For those unfamiliar with Tempest, the reason it�s donned as a �tube shooter� is being the fact it�s just like shooting, down a tube. Clever huh? The levels usually consist of a shape, like a cylinder, you circle around the top end shooting anything that tries to make its way up the tube, after eliminating all the enemies, you move onto the next level. As each level progress� the shape becomes more intricate, the enemies increase in numbers and speed and at times your access to getting around the shape isn�t as easy as you may think due to some of them just being a straight line. Enemies that reach the top usually just disappear other than one enemy which will follow you around the edge of the shape often causing you to make mistakes.

The game comes with a co-op 2 player which eases the pressure off the 1st player when you get to the heavier levels which can become very hard even early in the game.

Other than being able to play on co-op the game offers very little than to play to the end or chose the level to play once you�ve unlocked it, besides that, you may decide to play the original, which is also featured in the game.

The game offers two versions, the revamped shiny pretty version, and the old school original port of the arcade game. Personally I find the newer version easier to make out regarding enemies and positioning, especially being new to the game and needing to see everything properly so I don�t lose too quickly, but if your feeling a little nostalgic�go right in for the original.

The music in the game is very quiet, very mild techno kind of music which doesn�t change throughout the game; however most of this is drowned out by my weapon firing, which vaguely sounds like the CMP150 from Perfect Dark. Shame the it doesn�t fire like one of those though.

The classic version features all the older sounds which comes with no music at all, so like all arcade games, your own wonderful selection of tracks from your own HDD will much better fit the pace of this game.

Unless being a strong Tempest fan the game can be quite short lived, the levels can be quite frantic with the some of the enemies running around causing problems, but for casual gamers that want to get anywhere with it, with only 3 lives till restarting from the beginning or a level you�ve unlocked just sometimes doesn�t quite hold my interest for too long.

Its nice to see Atari bringing back the oldies that got a lot of us into gaming in the first place, but perhaps instead of making short and simple HD re-vamps of games, they can get on and shift out some of the games the Atari fans have really been waiting for�

My Rating: 4.6

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