Greg Noe's reviews and writings

  • Bully

    First Hour Review

    Bully CoverBully was Rockstar's big release last year on the PS2, and thus a big target for ignorant attorneys and retailers (it was also a hot topic overseas but people generally realized it wasn't that bad of a game). Beyond all the controversy, however, let's look at the core of the game: you're a misfit kid who's just been sent to boarding school, and you're meaning to come out on top. Bully provides gamers a sandbox school and city environment, fully interactive and fleshed out, utilizing the now classic (albeit aging) Grand Theft Auto III gameplay engine. Bully focuses less on destruction and bloody violence, and more on comical violence and something almost everyone can identify with: growing up and going to school. Does Rockstar pull it off? That's for someone else to answer. Does Rockstar pull off the first hour of Bully? That's for me to answer.

  • Diddy Kong Racing

    First Hour Review

    Diddy Kong Racing CoverDiddy Kong Racing was Rare's answer to Mario Kart 64, which had come out earlier that year. Of course, no one had actually asked for another kart racer on the Nintendo 64, but Rare saw it as an opportunity to start the marketing machine for their future franchises, namely Banjo-Kazooie and Conker (yes, that Conker). They also packed in a bunch of other lame, no-name racers to fill the void - and thus, Diddy Kong Racing was born. The first hour of racers is typically much like the rest of the game, race, race, and race some more. So this will be very indicative on how Diddy Kong Racing (and its DS remake) fares as direct competition to Mario Kart.

    Before I even start the main game, I notice a few things: it has been a few years since I've held the Nintendo 64 controller and this thing sure feels weird. It's very light and plasticky, and of course the three prong design definitely makes it one of the oddest looking around. It's also not terribly comfortable compared to more recent controllers, and even the SNES before it. Anyways, on with the first hour of Diddy Kong Racing.

  • 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.

  • Half-Life 2

    First Hour Review

    Half-Life 2 CoverHalf-Life 2 is one of those games that just delivers. Hyped up beyond imagination, Valve fulfilled their grand promise and gave gamers one of PC's greatest games. Delayed, leaked, and delayed again, Half-Life 2 was in the oven for a while, but many people would agree it came out perfect. But how were those first few bites, how was the first hour of Half-Life 2? Let us enter the world of City 17 and find out.

    I should probably make it clear that my computer isn't that great, and the loading times are probably longer than what an avid PC Gamer would own. However, this review isn't targeted to such a small audience and my computer (Athlon 1800+, 1GB RAM, and Radeon 9800 Pro) may well be representative of the average reader. Anyways, on with the game!

  • 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.

  • Earthbound

    First Hour Review

    Earthbound CoverGame number two in The First Hour series is the quirky Super Nintendo RPG, EarthBound. One of the most popular classic console role playing games, EarthBound sports an odd sense of humor and has a huge cult following. But the real question is what I ask: is the first hour any good? I can tell you one thing, it's not as violent as God of War 2.

  • God of War II

    First Hour Review

    God of War 2 CoverThis is my first post on The First Hour, reviewing the first hour of the game that inspired me to create this blog in the first place, God of War 2. The first hour of this game is really good, loads of action, decent introduction to the characters, and lots of blood and gore. Well, let's get right down to it then.

  • The Nintendo 64: Ten Years Old

    Blog Post

    This blog post was originally posted in 2006 on a separate site, which can be seen here.

    Ten years ago today, I received my Nintendo 64. I was pretty ecstatic, not as crazy as the Nintendo 64 kid, but still, pretty happy. It’s easily one of the best consoles of all time and probably my favorite one that came out in the last ten years. It had so many great games: Mario, Zelda (Majora’s Mask was better…), Harvest Moon, Star Fox, Goldeneye, Star Wars, etc. The list goes on and on, see my game collection for my favorites obviously. I have quite a keen memory when it comes to dates and video games (9/9/99, 11/23/98, etc.) so I quickly recalled that today was the day!

    I hadn’t played my N64 in at least a year, I remember playing it for about an hour actually a few months ago when my sister wanted help on Super Mario 64, but besides that, it’s been a while. The time before that was probably when I played through Mischief Makers again (quite an underrated game), and the time before that was when I received my copy of Wonder Project J2. So maybe once or twice a year, unfortunately. I play my SNES far more than any other system.

    But tonight I pulled my N64 out of it’s plastic tub and stuck in Super Mario 64. “It’sa me! Mario!” rang the TV, and I settled in and collected 20 stars. I had already perfected the game years ago, gettin all 120 stars and visiting Yoshi on the roof, but playing the game again brought me back ten years. To a simpler time when I was 12 years old entering the world of three dimensions. The Nintendo 64 isn’t remembered as the greatest system of all time, let alone its time by most people, but to me, it will always rest in a special place within my heart.

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