Wallet Abuse Thursday: I Totally Didn't Forget Edition!

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Atari's Greatest Hits Volume 1
Developer:  Code Mytics
Publisher:  Atari
Platforms:  Nintendo DS

If the concept of fifty classic Atari games gets you excited then let me re-adjust your expectations by pointing out that this package actually consists of 9 pre-Crash Atari -arcade- games and the rest of the cart filled up with godawful first-party 2600 games.  And since none of these games are Pit-Fighter, what’s the point, really?

The most galling aspect of this package is the “volume 1” moniker tacked on at the end.  I know that this is standard procedure for any sort of compliation (sadly we have yet to see evidence of an SNK Arcade Classics Volume 2), but how much can be left for a second collection of Atari tripe when this collection already has 2600 versions of the 9 aforementioned arcade games as well as Fun With Numbers and all the Swordquest games?  Somehow Atari’s managed to put together a package less compelling than their Xbox Live Game Room production, and those games were so godawful that Krome Studios was forced out of their offices and driven into the Australian desert.

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The Amazing Race
Developer:  Ludia, Inc
Publisher:  Ubisoft
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

I am so not talking about this game when I could be talking about --

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Babysitting Mama
Developer:  Cooking Mama, Ltd
Publisher:  Majesco
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

-- THIS.

HOLY SHIT.

YOU STICK A WIIMOTE INTO A BABY AND THEN USE THE BABY AS YOUR CONTROLLER.

I’M GOING TO SAY THIS LOUDER AND IN EVEN MORE CAPS

YOU STICK A WIIIMOTE INTO A BABY AND THEN USE THE BABY AS YOUR CONTROLLER.

Cooking Mama, Ltd are brilliant madmen and you must support them.  It’s not like you’ll be doing anything more important with your Wii for the next six months anyway.  Buy this game!  Buy it twice, everyone has a niece or little sister that needs to be emotionally traumatized.

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Blood Drive
Developer:  Sidhe Interactive
Publisher:  Activision
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

If you were to com up to me and ask “Hey Nfinit, how would you make the perfect videogame” I’d answer by asking you to respect my personal space and how you found your way into my home.  Then I’d say I’d make Joust, but in 3d.

If you asked me to make two perfect videogames, and I was no longer allowed to reference Williams/Midway arcade games, then I’d say remake Carmageddon, but this time with guns.
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holycrapyes

Of course since it’s 2010 and we can’t have nice things anymore, you’re running down zombies instead of pixelated women and children.  That said, this is still considerably less silly than the time the Germans replaced all the bystanders in Carmageddon II with robots.  Also this is apparently set in an analog to Las Vegas-- how Activision managed to capitalize on Dead Rising 2 and launch a month ago is beyond me, but I can only assume there was a threat of a lawsuit involved.

Two problems prevent me from recommending blood drive, though-- one, literally no media has been released outside the debut trailer that surfaced last September, and secondly it’s a fifty dollar game.  From Activision.  The fact that even Activision refuses to squeeze every last possible dollar from this title by releasing it at full MSRP is more than a little troubling, but at least it’s from Sidhe Interactive, the guys who gave us Gripshift and Rugby League 1-3, so they understand arcade racing and wanton violence.  Also Melbourne Cup Challenge, but I’m unclear how that factors into the Blood Drive formula.

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Fist of the North Star:  Ken's Rage
Developer:  Koei
Publisher:  Tecmo Koei
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

I’m torn on Ken’s Rage.  On one hand, Destructoid gave it an 85% and compared it favorably to Streets of Rage, which is about the highest praise I can think without specifically referencing Jimmy Carter.  On the other hand, Japan’s Famitsu magazine gave it a 9/8/7/8 and the Japanese love Dynasty Warriors games almost as much as they love hating whales.  I suppose both of these actually translate to middle-to-good depending on what sort of genre you’re into, but I’ve also been emotionally scarred by Ninety Nine Nights and am reluctant to revisit that dark time in my life when I only owned three 360 games and one of the other two was Dead or Alive 4.

Still, the only real thing you need to know about Fist of the North Star games is if people’s heads explode in a geyser of viscera upon incidental contact with your fists--

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-- So I think this works.

I know this sounds hypocritical when I just said the exact opposite for Blood Drive, but it seems like Ken’s Rage is one of those games that is specifically harmed by charging the full sixty dollar MSRP.  I suppose the difference is that while Activision are notorious cutthroat mercenaries when it comes to wringing every last possible dollar out of a franchise, Koei could do a lot to re-establish the Muso genre in America by using the Fist of the North Star name combined with a $40 price point.  Although their logic might be that  Fist of the North Star sells itself in the minds of people who would already be in the market for Wierd Japanese Shit.

Basically what I’m saying here is that I want to play this game, but there’s no way I’m paying sixty dollars for that privilege when in the case of Blood Drive, the gameplay hook is good enough that you’d expect the publisher to demand sixty bucks if they had any confidence at all in the game itself.

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God of War:  Ghost of Sparta
Developer:  Ready at Dawn
Publisher:  SCEA
Platforms:  PlayStation Portable

Does anyone seriously think the God of War franchise is done?  It’s well respected, they sell well, and they have to be easy to make; over a third of the games in the series exist on the PSP.  All I’m saying is that when Jaffe produces his next Calling All Cars there’s no way he resists the sweet sweet allure of a final, final God of War, especially if he can finally sell SCEA on the whole “Kratos tearing through all mythology” idea that sounded way, way better than the God of War III we actually wound up with.

As for Ghost of Sparta, it’s kind of special in that it may well be the last great PSP game, provided you ignore that we’re going to wind up playing Persona PSP ports for the next three years.  While it’s probably still not as good as GoW II, it improves upon Chains of Olympus and fixes my main complaint with the first PSP game, that being it’s length.  Also presumably this game doesn’t feature that goddamned ridiculous Charon fight, so automatically this game is 12 times better.

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Goldeneye 007
Developer: EuroCom
Publisher:  Activision
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

I’m a firm believer that some game concepts are so good that they need to be revisited periodically to keep them fresh in the gaming public’s mind.  The very best books and movies are constantly in print and are enjoyed by everyone, it only makes sense that we do the same for stuff like Goldeneye and Shadow of the Colossus in our own hobby.

Unfortunately the economics of the games industry means that publishers can’t leave a good thing be, and instead of a straight uprezzed port, Activision gave Eurocom the Goldeneye license and told them to find a way to stick Daniel Craig into it.

Now that’s probably not as bad as it sounds.  Initial reviews seem to indicate that Eurocom held an obvious reverence for the N64 classic and that the changes made to the game were basically to bring the original concept more up to date with modern game development theory.  Also the multiplayer is pretty much exactly the same as before, and that’s really why you’d want to play thing anyway.

The real problem is going to be filtering out how much of Goldeneye’s classic status is due to it’s core gameplay concepts and how much has to do with the fact that it was the first halfway competent console first person shooter.  If you hold that Goldeneye benefits greatly from nostalgia then this wasn’t for you anyway, but if you beloved Goldeneye and felt it was legitimately a great game, then you might be pissed off at the changes Eurocom was forced to make, no matter how they were handled.

But hey, at least you get a really cool controller out of this thing, provided you’re willing to spend seventy dollars on the complete package

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My main qualm with Goldeneye 007 is that I don’t know if this is the sort of game you need to sell on disc for full MSRP int 2010.  This seems perfect for a thirty dollar direct download, provided the Wii had better storage options and the WiiWare service wasn’t limited on file size.

Boxshot: James Bond: Blood Stone by Activision
James Bond 007:  Blood Stone
Developer:  Bizarre Creations
Publisher:  Activision
Platforms:  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

When I think of Bond movies, I remember the parts where he’s sneaking around improbably villanous headquarters, the parts where he’s in shootouts with hordes of goons,and the parts where he’s involved in-car chases escaping said goons, usually immediately after being found sneaking around their secret HQ and engaging in a one-sided firefight.

These are all elements that we know videogames excel at.  Sneaking used to be it’s own genre thanks to Splinter Cell and Hitman and Metal Gear Solid, shooting waves of goons from behind cover now makes up the vast majority of videogames sold outside of Asia, and good racing games have been done at least far back as the first Pole Position.

So how do we take these fundamental elements, these elements that have led to dozens of classic games, to uncountable hours of gaming enjoyment, and wind up with... this?
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And it’s not like you can use a movie as an excuse-- there’s no Bond movie attached to Blood Stone and there will not be a new Bond movie released in the foreseeable future.  This is the most important Bond-related media that will come out for literally years and we wound up with some weird mashup of Arkham Asylum and Project Gotham Racing.  How does this happen?  More importantly, if you’re Activision and you’ve been trusted with the future of the entire Bond franchise, how do you let this happen?

And it’s not as if gamers are pressed for quality titles this Holiday season.  Most of us still haven’t got to Vanquish yet, and Bizarre is asking us to spend quality time with a game where you spend the vast majority of the action staring at a cell phone screen?

To put this in perspective, two Bond games were released this week, and Bizarre was trounced by a remake of a Rare game.  What happened to this company?

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MegaMind:  Mega Team Unite (Wii)
MegaMind:  Ultimate Showdown (PS360)
Megamind:  The Blue Defender (DS, PSP)

The only thing of interest here is that THQ didn’t trust the Wii with the Megamind: The Ultimate Showdown experience.  This is roughly equivalent to Mike Shanahan benching Donovan McNabb last week, but replacing Shanahan mistrust at Donovan’s ability to run the two-minute drill offense against the Detroit Lions with Shanahan electing to go with David Carr over Donovan for a Starbuck’s run and Carr returning covered in flames with a case of Woolite and an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.

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PokePark Wii:  Pikachu's Great Adventure
Developer:  Nintendo
Publisher:  Nintendo
Platforms:  Nintendo Wii

So I’ve mentioned the bit where I’ve never played a Pokemon game, I’ve never wanted to play a Pokemon game, and Pokemon instills within me a great and seething rage that can only be sated with demeaning midget cosplay porn, right?  Because this is another one of those fucking games.
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Just look at those happy fuckers.  God, how I hate them.

I was surprised to learn that this was the first Pokemon-branded game for the Wii and somehow it didn’t wind up a remake of Pokemon Snap!, but instead a giant fetch quest engine.  So that’s odd.  What’s not odd?

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Ys:  The Oath in Felghana
Developer: Nihon Falcom Corporation
Publisher:  XSeed
Platforms:  PlayStation Portable

I know there’s something to be said for staying authentic to the source material, especially when you’re dealing with something as esoteric as a Ys game, but someone in XSeed’s marketing department-- Provided XSeed has a marketing department-- should have put their foot down and demanded a subtitle that doesn’t sound like a term you’d use to describe someone passing gas while taking a piss.

Think about it.  The felghana.

As far as this game goes, it’s Ark of Napishtim (in retrospect maybe The Felghana isn’t an aberration at all), but more of it.  So if you’re one of the three dudes in North America who were into that... you know, roughly four years ago... You probably already own this.

NEXT WEEK~!

CALL OF DUTY 7:  BLACK OPS allows us to settle the ultimate unanswered question of the Cold War:  Could Nixon take JFK in a knife fight?

BEYBLADE:  METAL FUSION BATTLE FORTRESS cannot possibly begin to live up to it’s title

HAWX 2 somehow got made, so that’s kinda cool.