First Hour Reviews

  • Pilotwings 64

    First Hour Review

    Pilotwings 64 CoverPilotwings 64 is a flight simulator and one of the original launch games for the Nintendo 64. The game doesn't feature any standard flight simulator vehicles such as fighter planes or a Cessna single-engine, but more unique craft like the gyrocopter and hang glider. There is a lot of interaction with the environments such as photographing landmarks and even some battle-themed stages pitting you against giant robots. The game was really overlooked when it was released even though there was only one other Nintendo 64 game available at the time, but of course, that game was none other than Super Mario 64. Let's take a look at the first hour of the other launch title, Pilotwings 64.

  • Grand Theft Auto 2

    First Hour Review

    Grand Theft Auto 2 CoverGrand Theft Auto 2 is of course the game that came before Grand Theft Auto III, one of the most important games of the last decade. I always wondered what kind of games GTA1 and 2 were, and after playing them, it's obvious the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. GTA2 is essentially a top-down look at the Grand Theft Auto universe. Much of the core gameplay we know and love today is in GTA2, just from a totally different perspective. It's a great representative of the change from 2D to 3D as somehow it feels I could be playing the exact same game if it weren't for the view.

    GTA2 was released in 1999 on a peculiar variety of systems: the Playstation, PC, the Dreamcast, and Game Boy Color. Every major gaming company got a version of this game, but I will personally be playing the PC version. Mostly because this game is absolutely free from Rockstar Games themselves. Yep, you can go to their site and download both GTA1 and 2 for free, not bad if you ask me. If you're one of those poor souls (like me) who doesn't own Grand Theft Auto IV, well, this may serve as a temporary replacement in your heart. Let's get to the first hour review of Grand Theft Auto 2.

  • Night Trap

    First Hour Review

    Night Trap CoverNight Trap was a controversial full-motion video game released on a variety of CD-based systems in the early 90's. It serves as a great reminder to people who wish to defend against video game censorship in the United States as the game's leading opponents: Joe Lieberman and Herb Kohl, are still serving in the Senate 15 years later. Night Trap is pretty timid compared to some games nowadays and mostly attracted attention because it used real actors (if you could call them that) in pajamas and had a vampire blood sucking scene. There have undoubtedly been hundreds of scenes of vampires sucking the blood of a young woman out in film and even on TV over the years, but Night Trap gets targeted because why?

    Anyways, a little about my experience with the game. I actually beat Night Trap a few years ago, it was an epic moment in my video game career and a story I'll be able to retell for ages. I first played it when it was initially released on the Sega CD back in 1992. Even then I realized how bad this game was, the control is simply horrid and the full motion video is anything but that. My friend and I played it because we were young and intrigued about the notion of the possibility of breasts in a video game. Of course, there isn't any nudity but we liked to think that if we beat the game, we would be duly rewarded. If you consider the opportunity to kill Dana Plato a great reward though, well, you will love this game. Now on to the first hour review of Night Trap for the PC!

  • Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen

    First Hour Review

    Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen CoverOgre Battle: March of the Black Queen is a console strategy game initially released on the Super Nintendo and then re-released on the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation. I guess the game is rare but I bought the Super Nintendo version at a rental store when they were going out of business for five dollars (also scored that day was Yoshi's Island). I consider myself lucky, too bad the battery has died since then. The game has seen a bunch of sequels including Ogre Battle 64, which I also own.

    Decent non turn-based strategy games are tough to come by on consoles, but March of the Black Queen stands out as one of the first and best in the genre. I'm not so sure how the first hour will turn out though, as the game moves pretty slow. Well, let's just get right into it and find out. I'll be playing the Super Nintendo version.

  • Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden

    First Hour Review

    Ninja Gaiden Xbox CoverNinja Gaiden NES CoverNinja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden are NES and Xbox games with the exact same name. Ninja Gaiden for the NES came out in 1989 and Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox came out in 2004. I'm not sure why Tecmo and lead designer Itagaki didn't give the Xbox Ninja Gaiden game a subtitle, but it's too late to wonder, because there are officially two games under the name of Ninja Gaiden, just released 15 years apart. In first hour tradition, I will be only playing Ninja Gaiden for one hour, but because they are named exactly the same, I will first play half an hour of Ninja Gaiden for the NES, and then half an hour on the Xbox. This will complicate the review a bit, but I'll try to always make is clear what game I'm talking about.

    This is an exciting time for the Ninja Gaiden series, as Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword was released last month for the DS and Ninja Gaiden II will be out in a few weeks for the Xbox 360. Remember, this is a new Ninja Gaiden II, not Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos which was released on the NES in 1990. Yeah, Tecmo does it again. I plan on playing Dragon Sword (not Dark Sword) someday as it sounds pretty cool, but this review is all about the first hour of the two Ninja Gaidens. So let's get right down to it. To start, the first thirty minutes of Ninja Gaiden for the NES.

  • Pocky & Rocky

    First Hour Review

    Pocky & Rocky CoverPocky & Rocky is a multiplayer scrolling shooter for the SNES and developed by Natsume, the creators of Harvest Moon. It's hard to imagine the guys who made a farming simulator once worked on a fast-paced, crazy hard shoot 'em up. But they did, and here it is. The game has a lot of charisma and character, but it's super tough! I recruited my friend Hylas to help me out, much like I did for Zombies Ate My Neighbors. This game once again proves that two heads are better than one, but is the game really any good? With a name like Pocky & Rocky, how can you go wrong?

    Pocky & Rocky is actually the second game in the Pocky series (Kiki KaiKai was a Japanese only arcade game featuring just our heroine Pocky), but the first in the Pocky and Rocky series starring the girl and the raccoon. There's also a new PS2/Wii game called Kiki Kai World (or Heavenly Guardian) that is somewhat of a new sequel to the series, just 15 years later. Well, who cares about those other games, this is all about Pocky & Rocky! Now, let's get it on!

  • Another World

    First Hour Review

    Another World CoverAnother World (Out of this World) is a cinematic platformer released on just about every system back in 1991. Now the phrase, "cinematic platformer" gives me shivers because of its sheer potential of awfulness. When I hear those words I think of terrible gameplay and ugly, "realistic" looking graphics. The games are typically rotoscoped to give them a unique graphical style, which usually doesn't bother me, it's more the style of gameplay that makes me experience nasty flashes of nostalgia. If you've ever played the original Prince of Persia games, you'll know what I'm talking about.

    Another World is known as Out of this World in the United States. Much like Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, the game is renamed for some stupid reason that leaves people confused and wondering whether the stone is the sorcerer's or the philosopher's. Either way, the game supposedly influenced Fumito Ueda, who went on to create Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. So at least this game was good for something, but let's check out the first hour of Out of this World to see if it can properly defend itself and (in my opinion) the thankfully lacking genre known as the cinematic platformer.

    I'll be playing the 15th Anniversary Edition for the PC released in 2006. The game features higher resolution graphics and more detailed backgrounds.

  • Bioshock

    First Hour Review

    Bioshock CoverBioShock was widely heralded as the 2007 game of the year. I always pay close attention to games labeled as such because they're generally important to video game history and have great influence on the industry. BioShock seems like it will be no exception. It's a first-person shooter for the PC and Xbox 360 and is set on the dystopian underwater city called Rapture. Our hero unwittingly arrives there and must uncover Rapture's dark secrets while staying alive. Rapture was built by Andrew Ryan, an Objectivist who attempts to fulfill his dream society under the sea. Things obviously don't go smoothly.

    BioShock has sold millions, won a ton of awards, and probably has a ton of sequels on the way. But how does the first hour of it fare? Let's dive into BioShock and experience Rapture.

  • Bible Adventures

    First Hour Review

    Bible Adventures CoverBible Adventures is an old, unlicensed NES game made by Wisdom Tree. Since it was unlicensed and not approved by Nintendo, they were able to do cool things like have a baby blue colored cartridge and even featured their own Wisdom Tree Seal of Quality on the box. The game is a popular target for "Worst Game of all Time," mostly thanks to Seanbaby, but honestly this game was not that bad. Definitely not even in the bottom 10%. Compare it to other officially licensed crap like Deadly Towers or Bebe's Kids and you actually have a decent game going. Anyways, Bible Adventures features three Bible stories: Baby Moses, David and Goliath, and Noah's Ark told through platformers. They all pretty much play the same, but the Baby Moses game is actually pretty bad.

    Since today is the last day of March, the month is supposed to be end like a lamb, which basically means it will be a calm Spring day. Instead, we have a heavy snow warning and are expecting 6-8 inches of slushy snow. Ugh. I reviewed The Lion King at the beginning of the month when March was supposed to come in like a lion (it was a nice day) and Bible Adventures is one of the only games that features sheep in even a small role. The other game I considered was Sheep for the PC but decided to do the more well known Bible Adventures. Well, let's get to the review.

  • Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer

    First Hour Review

    Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer CoverMystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer is a new Nintendo DS adventure that is actually a port of a 1995 Super Nintendo game released only in Japan. Shiren's gameplay is based off the classic computer games Rogue and NetHack. This means randomly generated stages, turn-based gameplay, and harsh character death penalties. Games today are wussified to the point of being able to save anywhere and three hour long tutorials that wean you into the game, Mystery Dungeon is kind of a breath of fresh air. Even if it is a 13 year-old breath, it mixes up the portable scene a bit.

    Not much left to say about Mystery Dungeon, I think the review and screenshots will explain the game pretty well.

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