Saturday, 21 October 2017

Sanitarium (PC)






Sanitarium (PC) :







Waking up in a sanitarium after a nasty car accident, your character in this game realises he is suffering from amnesia and has no recollection of how he got there. Wandering around the madhouse, he chats with a few crazy characters and decides that it'd be best if he tried to work out how to escape....and it's not long until he appears to do just that...but by some rather unusual means...

This game is properly weird...and is another of those games that it's best to start playing not knowing too much about! Apparently the game design came about by Dreamforge wanting to make an adventure game that was different from the normal type of thing on offer, but everyone had different ideas as to what they should put in the game....





Eventually, they decided to put all these ideas in and come up with a weird main plot to tie them all together, and from what I've experienced so far, it seems to work in creating something truly different...

As you wander around the isometric landscape, you'll meet all sorts of bizarre individuals and come across puzzles that will need to be solved in order to progress, some of which are fairly straight forward, but others that'll require a little hunting around for clues..

Flashbacks happen every so often too, but is it your past you're seeing or someone elses....and what memories are real? It's this sense of not really knowing what exactly is going on that keeps you interested in what's going to happen next! You'll suddenly find yourself in an entirely different area, or even looking a bit different....it's totally insane but brilliant! The visuals help add to the atmosphere too, with some truly odd offerings to be witnessed...




The game oozes atmosphere, and its unusual story should have you hooked from the start...I'm certainly intrigued enough to keep playing! As with most of the PC games in the list, I picked this one up relatively cheap over at gog.com




Friday, 20 October 2017

Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy (Xbox, PS2, PC)







Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy (Xbox, PS2, PC) :-


Don't you just hate when you nip to the loo after a nice coffee, only to then blackout and wake up having apparently murdered some old guy who was minding his own business and just having a wee?? I know I do, and so does Lucas Kane, who finds himself in exactly this predicament at the start of the game...






You take control of Lucas, and using the two analogue sticks of your controller, hurriedly try to clean up the scene of the crime before a policeman in the diner where the murder took place, enters the toilet and discovers the mess! It's a truly unique start to a game, and has you wondering exactly what type of thing you're getting yourself into...




It turns out that Lucas wasn't exactly himself when he commited the crime, and like a few others in New York, has seemingly been possessed by a serial killer carrying out the murders using other folk as deadly puppets. Unlike the others though, Lucas has had psychic visons since childhood , and it seems he is destined to play a much bigger role than the murderer intended in this weird plot, that just keeps getting weirder!




Fahrenheit plays like some sort of rhythm-action interactive movie, and a surreal one at that. It's full of big action sequences that look like something from The Matrix, but the plot has you doing everything from mopping the floor to playing guitar to seduce ladies to fighting weird shadowy angel type monsters and dodging giant bugs in your office! Oh, and meeting a Kung-Fu master in a library and playing basketball, not to mention the naked sex scenes that seemed to upset the anti-videogame crowd more than the murder at the start.....



The best thing about it is the way it remembers what you've done as Lucas, and when you get to play as Tyler and Carla, the detectives trying to work out who the murderer is, your choice of where to hide the murder weapon, wash your clothes, etc. will have an effect on what they discover during their scenes...




It can get a little fiddly at times with the controls, but the bizarre story and innovative gameplay should keep you intrigued enough to see it through to the end! And then you'll probably want to play through it again to experience how different choices will affect the game...



Definitely one I recommend! The story in this one is definitely best experienced by yourself, and even the stuff I mentioned above is only a tiny taster of the weirdness you can expect...so do yourself a favour and pick this up!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dead Island (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)









Dead Island (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) :-



Yet more zombie carnage in this FPS....well, I say FPS, but really you'll be doing more smacking than shooting...smacking and hacking and thwacking and splatting! And shooting too, but it's more melee based and uses all manner of upgrades for you to create new weapons to cut the zombies up with! A FPM then...First Person Melee...



You take control of one of four characters as they find themselves trapped on an exotic holiday island that has become over-run with the undead flesh eaters that are being far too overused in games these days. This one keeps it interesting though, by letting you use the aforementioned weapons to bash their brains in, and takes a leaf from Left 4 Dead's book and introduces a few different zombies to keep you on your toes!

The Walkers wander around being all slow like traditional zombies, and sort of huddle together to make it tricky to get round corners and things...the Infected sprint towards you like the more modern zombies in stuff like 28 Days Later, spitting and shrieking and getting all up in your face to try and eat it off.....the Thugs are super-zombies that take a lot of damage before they pop their clogs, so it's best to save the bigger, more powerful weapons for them....Suiciders plead with you to kill them, then explode in a mess of blood and guts when you get close to them, ruining your favourite shirt...





Then there's the Rams, straight-jacketed loonies who charges at you and try to smash you against walls and is also very tough...Butchers, who have their hands chewed off into bony knives which they'll use to try and carve themselves a slice of you...and finally, Floaters...zombies who have become bloated after lying around in water and now have the ability to spew projectile acid vomit at you like Left 4 Dead's Boomers.....

You also get to wander or drive around a huge open world, exploring the various hotels, bars and beaches and later city streets and sewers...and you'll find other survivors who'll wnat you to complete various quests for them such as gathering supplies, finding their relatives or helping to hold off an onslaught. You can hook up with another 3 players online too, making it a bit more fun to go on a zombie slaying spree, although they can sometimes wander off and start other missions which can get confusing, so it's best to stick to playing with people you know will stay together as a team. If you can find the right players it really helps add to the game as you work together to get things done!




It isn't just zombies you have to deal with though. Later you'll find other humans who are trying to survive in their own way, and are using the undead uprising as a means to getting what they want. So far I've found that this is where the guns come in handy, as the humans tend to be a bit more savvy than the brain munchers...

In conclusion then, it's a great game that's a lot of fun to play, especially if you can get a couple of online buddies involved to help you out. There's extra arenas available in the Game Of The Year edition or as DLC, where you can bash away at zombies to your hearts content too, and an extra mission set where you get to see the action form the side of one of your human enemies..

It has plenty of faults too though...the game can glitch pretty bad, with you ending up stuck in scenery, have items disappear or just freeze the game up...but it's enough fun for you to ignore these bits and just get on with the mayhem. So again, it's another one I recommend...



One last thing before moving on...the trailer for the game caused quite a bit of upset, but not for the controversy of showing a little kid get bitten and flung from a window that you'd expect would upset people. What got people moaning was the fact that such an arty trailer suggested that this would be a game where you would have to really think about the fact zombies were human, and deal with the emotional effects of having to end their existence again...Too bad for the people who were expecting that then, that it ended up being a violent gore-fest that revels in the fact you can bash zombies brains in with a customised oar or flatten loads of them in an instant with your car!! 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Extermination (Playstation 2)




Extermination (PS2) :-


Another game I'm just getting to grips with next.....This is a 2001 survival horror title developed by some members of the original Resident Evil team, and you can see the influences a mile off, as it's filled with bad voice acting, key cards, locked doors, etc..... but all ends up being rather groovy despite it's shortcomings!





You take on the role of a Marine Special Forces Operative named Dennis Riley, as he and his buddies go on a rescue mission in Antarctica. Needless to say, before long you'll realise things are a lot worse than people imagined and some sort of viral outbreak is turning people into big gloopy purple mutants that want to infect everybody else! Naturally you also soon find yourself facing this threat alone...at least until you meet one of the shadowy, suspicious characters that populate such games...

It's actually reminds me of John Carpenter's The Thing with it's plot, despite their being no hint of any alien influence so far...but we'll see how it pans out! And as I said, it also owes a lot to Capcom's zombie horror series....but it does have a few interesting additions of it's own to the survival horror genre!





For a start, your gun is really customisable...and instead of lugging loads of weapons about, it's just a case of finding the right additions to it to boost your firepower! I believe their are other weapons you can pick up later, but so far the one I started with is all I need! Well, that and my handy knife which comes in handy when there's a padlock needing smashed or one of the annoying little worm beasties is leaping at my face and I'm low on ammo.....

And unlike the early Resi games, if you get attacked in this game it's very easy to become infected by the virus, meaning that you essentially have to worry about two health bars..your general health and your infection level! You'll get progressively more infected as you battle the enemies, and eventually if it's left untreated, you'll need to rush to special machines to put a stop to the infection before you become the latest gloopy grunt...


This helps adds to the tension of the game, and can really get you panicking when you realise you're miles away from the nearest machine...and of course you'll need to have a special pack so you can use it the machines too!

Other than that, it seems to be a rather enjoyable but pretty standard jaunt, with some of the usual faults.....an annoying save system that can mean you have to go back quite a bit when you die, lots of trailing backwards and forwards finding keys to unlock doors at the other side of the map....you know, the usual! 




But it is a rather under-rated title that deserves a lot more love than it seems to have received, and it can be found quite easily for a very low price....so you should probably give it a go if you're like me and need a good fix of hilariously bad dialogue and crate smashing every now and then! And who knows what delights I've yet to discover, lurking in the later parts of the game......

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Zombie Apocalypse 1 & 2 (Commodore Amiga)



Just a very quick blog post today, as I'm really pushed for time, and there's not much to say about these games anyway!




Zombie Apocalypse 1 & 2 (Amiga) - 




Both of these games are PD (Public Domain) titles, the first being released in 1992 and  the sequel in 1994!
Both are also shooting gallery style games, where you control a crosshair via the mouse, and blast advancing zombies to smithereens!




They're pretty mindless fun for a while, but become pretty repetitive very quickly! Zombie Apocalypse II is the one to go for if you only want to play one though, as it has slightly better presentation, such as a groovy tune, and the extra gore when body parts pile up on the screen after you splatter the zombie hordes...Both games have grunts and moan from your undead enemies, but these can quickly become a bit grating too!

So yeah, if you want to waste 10-15 minutes mindlessly blasting zombies, you could do a lot worse than these games! Just don't expect anything more from them.....  




Oh, and don't get these games confused with the games of the same name that were released on Xbox 360 and PS3 a few years back...I haven't played any of those yet, but they just seem to be pretty standard Zombie-Robotron-style things...maybe I'll get round to them in a later blog post someday!?


Monday, 16 October 2017

Domain Of The Undead (Atari 800) & Satan's Hollow (Arcade)



Domain Of The Undead (Atari 800) :-


The box-art is probably the best thing about this stinker! It's basically a really poor Ghosts 'n' Goblins clone where you just move from one side of the level to the other, repeatedly shooting the rather rubbishy skeletons whilst also combating falling asleep from boredom! I don't think you should bother wasting your time with this....I'm certainly not wasting any more......











Satan's Hollow (Arcade) :-



After Domain Of The Undead, I needed to play a proper classic....Bally Midway's 1982 shoot-em-up was just the ticket! It's a rather groovy game, where all you have to do is defeat Satan's evil army of swooping Gargoyles, who are out to put a stop to you building a bridge to cross a lava-filled chasm leading to the big bad himself!




Flying in formation at the top of the screen, these fiendish flying freaks will drop eggs of fire and bombs to try and destroy your bridge building work, before swooping down to the screen and dive-bombing you...Luckily, you have a shield that protects you from attack for a short while, and you can fire back at the enemies as you move from the left side of the screen where you collect the bridge parts, to the right of the screen where you plonk them into position...

Occasionally, Satan's disembodied head will appear and try to spew flames on you too, so you'll need to avoid that as well! Every time you beat a wave of enemies, a little flag gets added at the side of the screen to keep tabs, but we'll get to that in a minute...




Once the bridge is complete, you can slide along onto another screen, where Satan appears and flings his trident at you. If you manage to defeat old devil-bonce, your little flags you got when kicking gargoyle-butt get added up as a bonus score, and you pop back to the first screen to fight ever more aggressive nasties!

Fairly simple in design, but actually pretty challenging, it's classic arcade gaming that will have you adding credit after credit for another go! Go get Satan behind thee now........

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Magical Crystals (Arcade)



 Magical Crystals (Arcade) :-



You're an odd little wizardy type in this game, and all of your little pixie friends have been captured by some horribly nasty monster and stuck into these magical crystals....so you'll have to use your magic powers to defeat all the crazy enemies and break them back out, and go kick some baddie beastie butt!


















And you'll encounter a weird bunch o' baddies indeed....everything from jelly monsters who split into smaller versions of themselves, to mad teacup-men who rush at you and try to drown you with their liquid filled heads!! 

Your main weapon appears to be mystical balls of energy or something,which you hurl at the enemies whilst also trying to avoid falling off the edges of the levels, which seem to suspended on nothingness... way, way up in mid air. 

Every now and then you'll come up against a boss (such as the aforementioned jelly thing) which will drop a huge crystal containing a Queen Pixie when defeated...or at least that's what I think is going on? I couldn't really find much in the way of story or instructions online to back up my theories...






Anyway, after you beat one of the bosses, you get treated to something a little different in one of the cool bonus mini-games! The ones I've discovered so far are pictured below, and involve a tug-of war with a random monster and some sort of whack-a-mole type thing. 

I believe there are others when you beat more bosses too...I can remember seeing a sort of skeet-shooting one when watching footage of the game on Youtube a while back....






As I mentioned earlier, the levels are just sort of floating in mid-air, and you often have to hop over large gaps in the level, or onto little moving platforms. Sometimes you'll land on one which will disappear after a short time, meaning you have to take extra care not to plummet to your doom. So you'll need to keep your wits about you....




You can also find the occasional power-up to help you out on your journey, my favourite being one which turns you super-size and lets you stomp on everything around about you! Great fun that one! 

And I think the pixies act as some sort of barrier when you collect them too, as they whirl around your body and seem to fly off if a stray enemy projectile hits them....




As you can see from the screenshots, the game looks great! And it pretty much is.....
It can get a little tricky when there are lots of projectiles flying around, or you hit a particularly nasty stretch of platforming, but overall it's a really fun game that any fan of cutesy-weirdness (or wizards.... or mad teacup-men....)  will really enjoy!


Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Twisted Tales Of Spike McFang (Super Nintendo)



The Twisted Tales Of Spike McFang (SNES) :-

Ah yes, time to catch up with our little vampire chum Prince Dorobochan again now, or Spike McFang as he seems to be calling himself now one of his games has been translated to English....You'll remember I took a quick look at his previous game Makai Prince Dorobochan on the PC Engine recently...




That one was a platformer, but our pal Spike is set for bigger things this time round and is now starring in an action RPG! One that thankfully keeps the cute horror style and general weirdness...

We join Spike as he's about to start fight training on a far off island, unaware that back home trouble is brewing in a big way! The greedy zombie ruler, General Von Hesler has decided that his zombie island isn't big enough, and using his dark powers and army of undead he takes over the other two islands in Vladamasco and battles the two other leaders, Vampra and Dracuman.....




Dracuman happens to be the father of our hero, and Spike would have remained unaware of the situation were it not for Vampra's daughter, Camelia, who managed to escape to seek out McFang and get his help! After a quick bit of training, Spike rushes back home and gets down to sorting this whole mess out....




He has a few tricks up his sleeve to help him out with his quest....his basic form of defence being a spin attack that will smash his enemies when they approach, although you have to be careful not to spin him around too much or he gets dizzy and becomes uncontrollable. He can throw his hat at enemies too, and also use special magic cards which have different abilities...including restoring health, causing a swarm of bats to appear or freezing enemies in their tracks! These can be purchased in shops along with hat upgrades, or in other places in the game...





Rather bizarrely, tomatoes are your main source of health instead of blood in the game...which led me to assume that perhaps Spike was a vegetarian. However, apparently this was changed from collecting hearts in the Japanese version of the game? Maybe a vampire using hearts seemed too much for Nintendo, but it's a bit weird when you consider how many other games have you collecting heart pick ups....

The American release also saw a few other changes. The enemies have a higher defence & Spike doesn't regain his health after going up a level, both of which mean the game is harder in the US version. 
The one-eyed mummy shopkeeper you can see in a screen above was originally a pretty blonde girl too, but again censors must have changed that for some weird reason.... 




I've only just started playing Twisted Tales, but already I'm loving the wacky style and all the encounters with the freaky characters. It's charming and filled with nice little touches....I love Spike's pet in the moat for instance, or being kicked by one of those Easter-Island-type butler things so I can break through a wall in the castle....

I look forward to playing through it properly once I can discipline myself to stick with one game long enough, but even with what I've played up until now I can heartily recommend it as a fun, funny, action-packed RPG for those with the time to spend playing it!




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please remember to go and check out the other groovy ghouls and boils that are taking part in the Countdown To Halloween, as they're posting lots of cool stuff on their blogs too!

Just click the pumpkin below to be taken to the hub, where you can access all of the Halloween horror from! 


Friday, 13 October 2017

Isle Of The Dead (PC DOS)



Here's a PC game from 1993 that nobody seems to like but me!



Isle Of The Dead (PC):-





This 3D First-Person shooter was released around the same time as Doom, and seems to come under a lot of stick for being more like Wolfenstein 3D, which is a bit unfair as everything pre-Doom was pretty much based on Wolfenstein! It's not that great a Wolfenstein clone either mind you, but it does enough differently to deserve more credit than it gets from most people these days! 

It might have made a difference that I knew a couple of things before I started playing though, due to reading a couple of reviews of the game a while back, so I'll try to prepare you with some knowledge too should you wish to give this game a go after reading this post!




You start the game on a beach next to your recently-crashed plane. There's a few random items scattered around, like a jacket and a first-aid kit, and pressing the ' G ' key (Get) will pick these up. Then you'll want to head into the plane to check out the first major difference to Wolfenstein...




Yup, that's right! The game is also part point-and-click adventure! The plane is a good place to work out how the interface works, so start by picking up the wire cutters on the first screen you see as you enter, then turn round till you see the screen above and click on the rather-hard-to-see machete (it's directly to the top right of the cursor in the pic, sticking out from behind the chair) to collect that. Spinning round to face the other way, you'll see more dead bodies, and clicking on the pocket of one will have you picking up a phrase book. Push forward and you'll enter the cockpit, where there's a flare gun and a compass to collect, but the compass is still attached by wires to the flight controls! Pressing ' I ' (Inventory) will show you whats in your pockets, so click on ' Use ' then the wirecutters. This can be a bit fiddly, but if you click use and the wirecutters until you see 'Use Wirecutters On...'appear at the bottom, close the inventory and click on the compass...now you have that too!




Now you can exit the plane again, and work your way round the side of the island, stopping to pick up the items strewn around, until you come to the row of trees barring your path along the beach in the pic above. If you look closely, you'll see a difference in the tree line (that sort of blurry area the machete's pointing at)...this can be cut through with the machete, opening a path through! Follow the edge of the beach round, cutting more patches like the one you just cut, until you've worked your way right round to the other side of the plane. Here you'll find a shotgun, and as long as you've picked up the ammo dotted around along the way, you'll now be better equipped to face the enemies that are lurking in wait behind the other tree patches...




Zombies! What a surprise, eh! Especially given the title of the game! Anyway from here on, I'll stop giving you clues and just talk about how I found the game! Shooting is pretty much as you'd expect from a Wolfenstein clone, but if you're only using the knife you'll find yourself dying pretty quickly, as the zombies sap your health at a rapid pace! Hopefully, now I've shown you how to get a gun you'll last a bit longer though, and not be seeing the next screen so much...




Because if you see this screen, you'll be plonked straight back at the start of the game, and have to go through all that faffing about all over again! This is another sore point with many folk playing the game nowadays, but I can forgive it seeing as I didn't pay anything for the game! The chap above seems to be the main villain behind the zombie outbreak, and if you manage to find the village and chat to the chief, you'll find out a little bit more about him...




Despite the trickiness of battling the enemies, the fiddlyness of picking up the items, the lack of a decent map, and the often very bad taste humour of the game, I quite enjoyed playing this somewhat under-rated, but far from brilliant oddity! The point-and-click gameplay adds an extra element of interest to the basic shooty-bang of the rest of the game, but it's not implemented very well, which is a shame as with a bit more polish it could have been really good! It's definitely not as bad as everyone seems to think it is though...




I found enough to keep me playing for a fair wee while, and the general crappiness of the game gives it a nice B-Movie effect...a sort of Troma-movie-esque guilty pleasure of terribleness!




If you go in to the experience of playing the game expecting nothing but rubbish, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised like me! I mean, it is rubbish, but definitely the so-rubbish-it's-almost-great style of rubbish! 




If you fancy giving it a go, you can find it for download by clicking here where it comes handily set-up to run on modern PCs if you select the easy set-up option. And be sure and come back and tell me how you got on with the game in the comments below!