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Tecmo Super Bowl

First Hour Review

Tecmo Super Bowl CoverTecmo Super Bowl is a classic football game for the NES. With the real Super Bowl airing tomorrow night, I've decided to post my first hour review of Tecmo Super Bowl a few days early. This won't be a typical review though, as I've played the game to death, I'm going to perform some Super Bowl predictions with the 17 year old game and pit the New England Patriots against the New York Giants. This is tomorrow's Super Bowl matchup but obviously these teams are very different than what they were when this game came out, so don't place any bets off the outcome!

Post-game results: Tecmo Super Bowl predicted the winner! Not even Madden picked them right!

A little about the game before we get started, Tecmo Super Bowl was the sequel to... Tecmo Bowl, and though that game was very good, Super builds and improves on the original in nearly every way. We now have 30 man rosters instead of 20 and Tecmo Super Bowl also featured 11 men on each side of the ball for every play, where Tecmo Bowl only had 9. It also was one of the first games to use real players and real teams, quite the feat back then as they were breaking new ground (actually, quite the feat now too since EA has a crappy monopoly on the NFL and the NFLPA). Anyways, Tecmo Super Bowl is a great game and I have some wonderful childhood memories of it.

Doing a little research, I've found something interesting: there are only a few players in the game that are still active (five to be exact), and two of them are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday! Junior Seau played for the San Diego Chargers in Tecmo Super Bowl and now plays for the New England Patriots; and Jeff Feagles played for the Philadelphia Eagles and now is the punter for the New York Football Giants! That's pretty amazing the longevity these guys have (and the great timing of their careers).

Let's get to the game now, here's the first hour of Tecmo Super Bowl and a pre-enactment of Super Bowl XLII. By the way, I am well aware I can download updated ROMs with current rosters but I'm trying to review the original game just like it was meant to be played. In my commentary though I'll replace the old timers with their current counterparts, just to make things... interesting.

Gears of War

First Hour Review

Gears of War CoverGears of War is a third-person shooter for the Xbox 360 that came out in late 2006. The game was one of the first to use the Unreal Engine 3 (seen recently in Mass Effect), a game engine created in-house at Epic. Gears of War's combat system differs greatly from the typical shooter, focusing more on using cover effectively to engage the enemy. Hiding behind cover is built into the game and you either learn it quickly, or die trying. People were obviously looking for something a little different because the game sold quite well and it was just recently released on the PC.

Gears takes place in the future after an alien race has attacked humans living on the planet Sera, a world used to harvest fuel. All the men in the future seem abnormally large, as basically everyone in this game could play American football and dominate the game. I kind of like that style though as it serves the bombed-out, nuclear winter setting well. So I already like the atmosphere, let's see how the rest of the first hour of Gears of War turns out.

For my review on the whole game, please see my Gears of War review at Beyond the First Hour.

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters

First Hour Review

Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters CoverStar Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters is a fifteen year old DOS game that has overtime gained a large following due to a variety of reasons. One of them is that the game is good, well according to the numerous accolades it has received at least. The second reason is that the source code of the 3DO port was released under the GPL license, allowing anyone to dive into the game's innards. A group of dedicated fans have taken advantage of this, and have Windows, Mac, and Linux ports simply known as Ur-Quan Masters. This open source game has had stable releases and I am going to play the first hour of version 0.6.2 of Ur-Quan Masters.

Describing Star Control II is difficult, but basically you control a spaceship on a 2D representation of space and visit planets and fight off evil aliens. The game reminds me the most of Pirates, a swashbuckling adventure where you roam a 2D representation of the high seas and visit towns and fight off evil pirates. Anyways, let's see if my first hour review of Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters can get a good idea of what the rest of the game will be like.

With Mass Effect coming out in about a week, I think we might see some comparisons pop up between Star Control II and Mass Effect. It will be interesting if Bioware was inspired by Ur-Quan Masters at all.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

First Hour Review

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem CoverEternal Darkness was released on the GameCube in 2002 and was actually the system's first M-rated game and I believe the first M-rated title published by Nintendo. I'm actually not very good with horror games (or anything horror in general) so it's a surprise to me that I'm even reviewing this game, but it's Halloween this week, so you are all in for a timely treat. I think I own two scary games, and Eternal Darkness is one of them (the other is Resident Evil REmake, also on the GameCube, and you will never see a review on here of that game, it's just too dang scary!).

Anyways, onto the actual game! Eternal Darkness features a unique sanity system unlike anything ever seen before. So addition to your health and magic meters, you have a sanity meter that measures just how stable you are. You lose sanity when you get hurt, or when you see something particularly freaky (which happens a lot). Losing sanity is nothing to laugh at either, because when it gets low, even more crazy stuff happens! I won't detail these "sanity effects" right now because some of them are pretty cool, but let's see what Eternal Darkness throws at us in our first hour together.

The Curse of Monkey Island

First Hour Review

The Curse of Monkey Island CoverThe Curse of Monkey Island is the third Monkey Island game in the series. It was first though to transition from pixelated sprites to really nice looking hand-drawn characters and backgrounds. The game uses cel art and animation, making it quite bright and vibrant, if somewhat cartoony and quite different looking than the previous games. The Curse of Monkey Island was one of Lucasart's last adventure games, something they used to be quite known for, and also the last of their games to use the SCUMM gameplay engine. The first three Monkey Island games are some of the funniest and best written video games ever made, but let's see if the first hour of Curse is actually on par with the rest of the series.

There will be lots of pictures in this review because the art is just so great and I couldn't help but take lots of screenshots!

Indigo Prophecy

First Hour Review

Indigo Prophecy CoverIndigo Prophecy (also known as Fahrenheit to the rest of the world), is a Shenmue-esque psychological, crime, and investigation thriller taking place during a New York City winter. I consider the Shenmue comparison a compliment as the gamplay techniques used in these types of games can lead to some very fun experiences. But at the same time, this style is not for everyone. We will see how well the developer Quantic Dream pulls off this gameplay in the first hour of Indigo Prophecy.

Beyond Good and Evil

First Hour Review

Beyond Good and Evil CoverBeyond Good and Evil: the most overrated underrated game of all time? So many people say this game is underrated, I have to wonder if that's really true. But that's not the point of this post, the point is to rate The First Hour of Beyond Good and Evil. Warning: absolutely no overrating or underrating ahead. I'm beyond that.

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