Since picking up copies of PC Gamer back in the mid 90s, I’ve only ever played a few game demos that actually made me want to buy the final product. The free demo should be the ultimate introduction to the game, the perfectly crafted first hour. But for whatever reason, being tossed into the middle of the game just doesn’t sit right with me. Whether it’s out of context cutscenes or repetitive gameplay, it doesn’t take me much to cross it off my list.
My only previous experience with the Ratchet & Clank series was a demo for one of the PS2 titles (it’s hard to nail down which one since they were released every 12 months like clockwork) which opened with what felt like a 20 minute cutscene. Unskippable cutscene. I didn’t even make it to the gameplay before the console was reset out of anger and annoyance. I don’t play a Ratchet & Clank demo to learn about its amazing storyline, I play for whatever shooting/platforming/clanking it has to offer.
So here I am with the first hour of Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One for the PlayStation 3. Released late last year, it’s still the newest game in the series... no, wait. Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault was released last week. So now we’re playing an out-of-date version of a has-been series. Here we go.
Jet Force Gemini is a Nintendo 64 third-person shooter game released by Rare in 1999. Looking back, it seems like such an odd game: twins Juno and Vela fly around in a space ship and save furry creatures from the evil empire. But when I think about it more closely, Jet Force Gemini really seems like the ultimate Rare amalgamation of their other Nintendo 64 games - Goldeneye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and Conker's Bad Fur Day specifically. That collection of animal fur and blood and guts really comes together on this cartridge.
The game also has some interesting history during development. I used to read IGN very closely and I remember the day when some new character art was released and the twins went from being bland to sexy. Now it seems like they did this just so they could give Vela boobs, but I suppose breast sells and that's their right. Anyways, now you know all of Jet Force Gemini's exciting history (there wasn't much to cover), so let's get right into the review.
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a cult-classic barely recognized by most gamers, but much like Streets of Rage 2, ZAMN (maybe the greatest gaming acronym ever) looks like it will soon get a release on the Wii Virtual Console. This will undoubtedly expose the game to a much wider audience whose only experience with run-and-gun games is Alien Hominid. Well, hopefully they're able to appreciate this oldie enough to check out some of the other greats in the genre, such as Metal Slug, Contra, or Gunstar Heroes - all of which are available on the Wii or Xbox 360. Actually, let's hope this game appreciates the modern gamer.
Anyways, Zombies Ate My Neighbors was actually developed by Konami and published by Lucasarts (a rare pairing). It was released for the Genesis and Super Nintendo in 1993 and features two player multiplayer. I'll be taking advantage of this and playing simultaneously with my friend Hylas. Let's see how the first hour of one of the original zombie games turned out...
For the record, we are playing the Super Nintendo version of the game (I just like the Genesis cover better), so the score I assign is specifically for the SNES version, but is no doubt indicative of the Genesis version too.