What Have I Played This Week? (Wk02)

Another week, another opportunity to tackle whatever floats in front of my face long enough for me to register an interest. Before going into the new stuff, a quick summary of the games I'm still playing from last week.

Star Realms continues to be my go-to game when there are five minutes to kill, and over the course of the week, I got better and better, seemingly overcoming my slump. Still, it's only getting better against a medium strength A.I., so it's not where I want to be playing really. I'm still not sold on buying the digital version of what's sat behind me. Hopefully, there'll be a deal or something when the next big lot of physical cards get shipped out in a few months.

The Witcher 3 still looks pretty, but all I was doing was hoovering up treasure in the form of Witcher gear diagrams. If you really want to be critical of the series, it's an awful lot of fetch quests, but they're well written and set in wonderful environments, so it get's a pass.

I dabbled in Superhot again, now I've got the endless mode unlocked. 49 kills, not too shabby. Wasn't the neatest of rounds, with lots of silly decisions made but I managed the situation for a while - until the red dudes really started rushing in.

In two lengthy sessions, we appear to have come to an end of a Pathfinder campaign, but perhaps not the end, I'm not too sure. The fight that dragged on through the night did appear to involve the big bad evil guy (albeit in the form of a small, possibly radioactive child), but he's still alive and kicking, and some of the players get the impression that there's more to come, that there has to be, because it's a bit of a let down if this is the end of the super dungeon. We shall see how it goes next week, I suppose.

And now, continue reading for the new games.


F-Zero X

Booster OK!!

Is it safe to say that when it comes to sci-fi racing games, players are usually in one of two camps? Those who swear their allegiance to Wipeout (wipE'out"?) and those who follow F-Zero? Sorry to all the fans of XGIII there...

If it is safe to say that, then I am - as you might have read in this blog before - firmly grounded in an anti-gravity craft belonging to the Wipeout series. Nintendo consoles weren't my thing back in those formative years, so it doesn't matter how good F-Zero X was claimed to be because I just wasn't there to know it at the time.

Even in the decades since, I know only of F-Zero games as 'like Wipeout but with more, smaller ships'. That's what I've got going into this game. Many small ships, kinda like Wipeout. I think it's time to educate myself.


Panzer Dragoon Saga

"Those fools. They cannot even handle normal weapons."

Source // Wikipedia

What the Sega Saturn really needed in the tail end of the 1990s was a huge 3D RPG spanning four discs and based on an on-rails shooter. It doesn't make sense when you write it down, does it? However, if we replace 'an on-rails shooter' with 'Panzer Dragoon', an on-rails shooter where you pilot giant dragon things that shoot lasers, then you might just be onto a winner by giving that idea some room to breathe in an RPG.

Enter Panzer Dragoon Saga, a story of war and dragons, where science fiction meets ancient civilizations. It's a bit different, is what it is...


What Have I Played This Week? (Wk01)

The Evergrowing Backlog is focused on my journey through 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, sure, but it is not exclusive to that goal. The games on the list were all released earlier than 2010, and I believe the second edition expands that to 2012, but here I am, in the middle of 2018, playing games that weren't even conceived when these books were published.

None of us can hope to stay on top of such huge amounts of games in any reasonable time frame, not with jobs and social lives and other hobbies and whatnot, but I do try to play more than what I'm told to. I try to play games I like, or games I've been wanting to play for some time because playing games you don't like or don't want to play is stupid.

And so, here's a quick look back at what I've played this past week.



Huff, huff... We shall be as Gods.

This shot, more or less, was the image used in the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die book in order to entice readers into a deep, deep game that merges science fiction and fantasy and philosophy and ethics and lord knows what else, I was too distracted by the mechs it had as well.

This is the first playable section of Xenogears and a better screenshot should have been used. I don't know what - I'm no editor (have you even read this blog?) - but it could be more descriptive, I think. Something like this.

Yeah. Hard to see Mechs in the dark. That's the one.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go to space and see what's happening.


Body Harvest

The Aliens have returned... and they're hungry.

Some of the games on the 1001 list are masterpieces, presenting gamers with the absolute best experience that the technological progress of the times could allow. They have a fanbase that spans across the world, they have genre-defining entries in their series, and have spawned entertainment outside of the video game, bleeding across into geek culture, and whathaveyou.

Then there's Body Harvest, which very few seem to know or care about, despite it being another milestone on the road to open world 3D games like Grand Theft Auto III - also developed by the studio behind Body Harvest.

What's it all about then, this hidden gem? Why is there a spaceman blowing up a huge bug in the desert?


Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram


One on one mech combat? In three dimensions? Like Zone of the Enders, but years earlier? And I'm only hearing about this game now because... because it's called Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram. Of course it is.

Virtual-On OT is an arcade game sequel that stars stylish mechs battling it out in a bright and colourful world whose sole purpose seems to be to facilitate the battling of stylish mechs. Arenas are boxy and arguably featureless, serving as interesting backdrops to the explosive light show that takes place upon them - giant mechs launching missiles, firing lasers, slashing energy swords and spraying big pink hearts at each other. It's weird, in places.

But how was I ever going to know that until I played it?


Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now

Rated T for Teen?

Vehicular combat is not a new concept in gaming, and I know that because Carmageddon II: Carpocalypse Now has the name of a sequel of some sort...

I haven't seen much of the Carmageddon series. I know it exists and I know it's not Twisted Metal, but that's about it. The idea didn't grab my attention - not because I'm a prude that demands pedestrians to be replaced by zombies or aliens, but just because I was into games that made more sense, I suppose, in the late 1990s.

Obviously, as soon as I wrote that, Crash Bandicoot popped into my head, so not all the games I played were sensible. Anyway, the point is, I haven't played Carmageddon II until now, so let's plough on in.


Dance Dance Revolution

Also, please be careful not to inconvenience the neighbourhood.

Source // TV Tropes

There have been two musical rhythm games on this 1001 list that I can recall: PaRappa the Rapper and Beatmania. They were both... lacking... shall we say... but only one of them came from the minds behind the monster that is Dance Dance Revolution.

Arcades are more than familiar with strange gaming concepts, and this one makes use of the fact that arcades are often dark and noisy by blaring out bright colours and loud music from the screen and having players hammer away at inputs with their feet, as though players find themselves in a happening club on a Friday night. I think. I'm not a clubber.

I'm not a dancer. I'm boogie-er. I bop. You can find me bopping. A nice catchy song comes into my ears, I'll bop, but dance? Nah. Not happening.

So how the hell am I going to fare with DDR?


1080° Snowboarding

You can neither pizza nor french fry here...

One of my earliest PlayStation memories was of a demo disc that contained one of the Cool Boarders games, I forget which one exactly. Snow itself was a rarity in my life, and snowboarding was, therefore, an impossibility, save for its digital incarnations.

For me, after Cool Boarders was a chunk of nothing before SSX arrived on the PlayStation 2, but in the wider world, the other console that was the Nintendo 64 had its own snowboarding title, and it was probably a fair bit better, as we'll soon find out after playing some 1080° Snowboarding.