simulation

Spore

Full Review

Spore CoverSpore was released a few months ago to much hype and anticipation. It was the game to end all simulators, featuring gameplay from the individual cell level to the entire universe. Will Wright and crew demoed the game more than two and a half years ago in what seemed to be a ready to release state. But the game would be delayed, and delayed, and delayed again, leading us to a September 2008 release. Spore was my must play game of the year, and play it I did. Was it everything it was supposed to be cracked up to be? Definitely not. Was it a disappointment in my eyes? Definitely yes. Please Greg, tell us why.

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon

Full Review

Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon CoverRune Factory is the "Harvest Moon with swords." This is still the craziest thing I have ever heard and I just beat the stinking game! If you would have told me 10 years ago that the Harvest Moon game I loved would one day feature swords and magic and monsters and bosses, I would have thought that was pretty crazy. Of course, the series has evolved a lot since that first game and Rune Factory is just the latest one off that Natsume has been experimenting with the last few years. I think they were successful with a fantasy Harvest Moon though, but there are some problems. Let's just get right into the good and the bad.

The Haunting: Starring Polterguy

First Hour Review

The Haunting Starring Polterguy CoverThe Haunting Starring Polterguy is a 1993 Sega Genesis game all about scaring a rich family out of their snazzy home any way possible. This is a pretty obscure game and the only way I know anything about it is from my deep past where I used to read any video game magazine I could get my hands on. One of them was Game Players, and in one of those issues lies a review for The Haunting. I have no idea what score it got but it stuck in my mind as "this game sounds cool and someday I would like to play it." Well, that someday has finally arrived 15 years later, and it's pretty much as cool as I vaguely remembered wanting it to be.

I really don't know anything else about this game, except that it is probably the goriest 16-bit game I have ever played. There are severed heads, tons of blood, and lots of other crazy stuff that kept surprising me. Just check out the screenshots below and you'll see what I'm talking about. On that note, let's get right into the review.

SimCity Societies

First Hour Review

SimCity Societies CoverSimCity Societies is the newest entry in the long and respected SimCity series. However, as you may or may not have heard, Societies is a radical departure from the traditional SimCity game. Gone is most of the micro-management you dealt with as being mayor and gone is zoning to lay the groundwork for your city. Now you are more of the city's grand architect and visionary. You decide what kind of city you want to run, whether it's a prosperous metropolis, a spiritual mecca, or an oppressed dystopia, it is all up to you. To dictate your direction, you lay down each building individually, from houses to ice cream stands to city hall, everything is under your control.

Now not everyone likes the new direction SimCity is heading, and of course this game is definitely not for everyone. Before I played the game, the entire premise reminded me more of City Life than SimCity 4, not necessarily a bad thing, just totally different than the games I grew up to know and love. I think as fans of the series we have to acknowledge that we will probably never play a new "classic" SimCity game, which is fine with me. The series peaked with SimCity 2000 and I still play that from time to time. But let's see if SimCity Societies renews the franchise or leaves me with a sour taste, let the first hour begin.

It should be noted again that my computer is not that great and doesn't even meet the minimum system requirements laid out by Electronic Arts (it requires at least an Athlon 2100 and I have an 1800, everything else meets or exceeds). I am still able to run the game okay with all the settings at medium or below though.

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.

Harvest Moon

First Hour Review

Harvest Moon CoverHarvest Moon was a Super Nintendo sleeper that proved to be unique combination of gameplay and originality that received a small, but devoted following. Natsume released numerous sequels over the last 10 years trying a few different formulas, but the original has always worked the best. Harvest Moon is definitely not for everyone, however. The game moves very slow, and does not introduce the player to the core concepts very well. The player has to conduct much trial and error to figure out many things, and the weak translation doesn't help either. Let's see how the first hour of Harvest Moon progresses.

Syndicate content