Lost Odyssey is an Xbox 360 role-playing game from Mistwalker, a development studio formed a few years ago by the creator of the Final Fantasy series. This is their second console release, the first being Blue Dragon. Lost Odyssey was released about a year ago and got pretty average reviews, but hey, the game spans four discs. I haven't played a four disc game since Final Fantasy IX, but those were CDs, not DVDs. This makes the game a bit intimidating to even try, but I'm guessing most of the data is taken up by the voices. The game supports five spoken languages! Well, enough about this nonsense, we'll only be playing one hour, and let's get into it.
ActRaiser is a 1990 platformer/simulator for the Super Nintendo. No, it doesn't simulate the platformer genre, there are two distinct (very distinct) modes of gameplay in this game. You essentially play God, and are attempting to win back control of the world from the Devil. Of course, this translation never made it outside of Japan, but it's pretty obvious when you play it. I never played ActRaiser before this review, and really had no idea what to expect. First you play a pretty typical platformer, and then all of sudden you're building an ancient city while shooting arrows at demons. It's weird, but as you'll find out, fun.
The game has been released on the Wii Virtual Console, so there's definitely an opportunity to play ActRaiser still today. Let's start playing the first hour of Actraiser for the Super Nintendo.
Kung Fu Panda is the video game based off of the recent movie hit. For Christmas I received an Xbox 360 and packaged inside was Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones. Now, I've already reviewed the first hour (and beat, but didn't 100% complete) Lego Indy for the Nintendo DS, so I'm just kind of ignoring it at the moment. You may be in my position, you have this movie-based game about a bunch of animals that do martial arts, and you're really not sure if you should even bother unwrapping the plastic from it. So let me help you out, let's play the first hour of Kung Fu Panda together and see if it's worth playing.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a third-person stealth action game for the PlayStation 2. Though it is the third game in the Solid series, Snake Eater serves as the prequel to the entire Metal Gear series. Released in 2004, the game drops the original Snake in the middle of a dense Soviet Union jungle during the height of the Cold War. Political tensions are high and the game holds nothing back in terms of cut scenes. Heck, the version I own includes a disc with over three hours of cut scenes edited together to make the Metal Gear Solid 3 movie. This is a common complaint thrown against the series, though many fans enjoy their dramatic and over-the-top directing. But how will they affect the game's first hour? Now that is a question we are about to answer.
I'll be playing the Subsistence version of the game, a re-released enhanced version of Snake Eater. The only difference that I know of that will affect this first hour is the much improved camera. Let's get to the first hour of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistence).
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is a indie PC game released this year. It's a computer board game at heart with lots of puzzles mixed in and a mystery to solve at high school. DHSGiT (I think that's the only time I'll use that acronym, ever) is a period game set in America's roaring twenties and features a large cast of funny and well written characters. Tons of original art and gameplay is promised by the developer, Mousechief, who actually emailed me back in July and requested I give their game a review (and yes, I do take requests).
This is my first review of an independently made game, and I think I'll do more of them in the future. They typically offer such a unique experience that is simply not found anywhere else. I have a few other in mind that I think are worthy of a one hour go. But for the game at hand, let's get into the first hour of Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!
Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure is a role-playing musical for the Nintendo DS. Now, when I say musical, I really mean a musical. The cutscenes feature the characters singing songs, in Japanese. This is not a very common genre combination, there have been plenty of musical games, PaRappa the Rapper comes quickly to mind, but that was the whole premise of the game. Here we have a console RPG wrapping periodic musical numbers. And it is made by the developers of the popular Disgaea series, so it can't be all bad, right?
Rhapsody DS came out in September of 2008, and is a re-release of the 2000 PlayStation game. In North America, it has been pigeon-holed as a "girl-game", essentially the kiss of death for any kind of mainstream attention besides the typical, "hey look, a girl game that's not about dolls or ponies!" Well, I didn't know this going in; I hear about an RPG for the DS and it has my attention. Since females supposedly take up a ton of the market now, I think it's my responsibility to play a wide range of games. Well, I'm joking there, but variety is important, and at least now I can say I've played a musical, even for an hour.
Pikmin is a GameCube real-time strategy game set in what could be someone's backyard and featuring a large cast of inch tall plant creatures (and you thought it couldn't get weirder after last week's Katamari Damacy). Basically, our hero is Captain Olimar, a space traveler who gets stranded on the Pikmin planet. His ship is in thirty pieces and scattered across a few different levels, but Olimar only has enough life support to last thirty days. The only way he's going to get off in time is to recruit the Pikmin's help in gathering his ship parts back together. And thus, our story begins.
Pikmin did pretty well and received a sequel a few years later. Nintendo also recently announced Pikmin 3 for the Wii, so the series will keep on growing. Pikmin originally caught my eye because it was Nintendo's first original series for the Gamecube (well, if you don't count Luigi's Mansion) and was straight from the mind of Shigeru Miyamoto. Well, let's play the first hour of Pikmin.
Katamari Damacy is the quirky... ball rolling game released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004. In this highly original Namco game, the Prince is on a mission to restore the missing stars in the sky. To do this, he rolls up everyday household items into giant piles of junk (called Katamaris), and then his dad, the King of All Cosmos, creates stars out of them. You're probably thinking, "WTF?" and that would be entirely valid. This game doesn't hold back the weirdness at all. But sometimes I think gamers need games like this, too often we're thrust into much too serious worlds doing much too serious business.
I'm fascinated by games that are named with generally entirely original words. Though Katamari is a real word and Damacy is kind of a one-off, I applaud Namco for not changing it for the American release (and also for not changing the game's cover). Knowing the gaming industry, it probably would have been called something like Clumpy Souls. Anyways, let's get on with the review of just the first hour of Katamari Damacy.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released 10 years ago this week for the Nintendo 64 and 3D adventure gaming has never been the same. Topping many gamers' all-time favorites list and sitting atop at Game Rankings, Ocarina of Time currently reigns as the unofficial Greatest Game of All-Time. I remember quite well my anticipation for this game ten solid years ago and that it actually did live up to the hype.
How much more can be said about this game that hasn't already been said? Well, no one has just played the first hour before and wrote a review just on that, so let me be the first. I'll be playing the original Nintendo 64 version, as there have been at least a Gamecube and Virtual Console port so far.
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is the one and true sequel to Pac-Man! You may be wondering, but wat about Ms. Pac-man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, or Pac-Mania? Nope, none of those have the number two in their name. Pac-Man 2 is the definitive sequel, and it is a side-scrolling adventure game with puzzle elements. How about that. It was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and is quite the departure from the traditional series.
Fourteen years after chomping pills in a dark maze, Pac-Man is now a moody middle-aged blob living with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Jr., and Pac-Baby-Daughter. Pac-Man is an independent blob too, as you don't even control him directly! Instead you shoot a slingshot to point out things to Pac-Man and hopefully grab his attention. This doesn't always work though and Pac-Man can get angry pretty quickly. This is pretty much a recipe for complete disaster, so let's start cooking the first hour of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.