Kirby Super Star Review

I haven’t reviewed a Kirby game since Kirby’s Dream Land, and that was way back in the first month of this site’s existence, back when I still tagged reviews as “spoilers” and “non-spoilers” because it never occurred to me that the former was an extraordinarily bad idea. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking, either. Those days are long gone now, and so it’s strange to suddenly delve back into something Kirby-related. Super Star is a game I’ve owned for a long, long time, though, and I was curious to see how well it’s held up since I played it last (I must have left it unplayed for something like a decade). The answer is “surprisingly well, with one or two caveats,” and it’s made all the more worthwhile by the fact that you can see the mechanics and franchises that would eventually coalesce into Super Smash Bros starting to come together here. Read more →

F-22 Lightning II Review

When I was younger, I was a console gamer first and foremost, with PC gaming never really appealing to me. Part of that came down to extended relatives; whenever I’d watch a cousin play a PC game, it’d be either a chaotic RTS that my young mind couldn’t grasp or some kind of sprite-based shooter like Wolfenstein 3D, both of which turned out to be genres that even now I have a great deal of trouble enjoying. One fateful day, however, my younger brother and I stumbled upon a game box that looked interesting, and F-22 Lightning II became one of the first PC games we owned. For years, we entertained ourselves with the “quick missions,” most notably one where you’re tasked with protecting Air Force One. Kids have a way of being evil, though, and we’d repeatedly play through the mission solely to go rogue and blow up the president, all the while cackling things like “take that, Bill!” Nothing brings family together like high treason. Read more →

Breath of Fire 3 Review

Not so long ago, it dawned on me that it had been awhile since I had played through a Playstation 1 game. It being one of my all-time favorite consoles in addition to sporting a library full of all kinds of absolute classics (many of which I’ve only played relatively recently, meaning they hold up without nostalgia), I took a look at previous reviews and was blown away to discover that my last review of a PS1 game was almost two years ago. Deciding to finally rectify this terrible injustice, I went through the games I own that remained unplayed and quickly settled on Breath of Fire 3, assuming that it would be an enjoyable stroll through familiar jRPG territory. After all, Breath of Fire 1 and 2 have many similarities despite being very different games, and an online review I ended up watching made it sound like the high point of the entire series. It’s not, though. In fact, it’s one of the most arduous, painful RPGs I’ve ever had to fight my way through, and I accuse the nostalgia-fueled apologists whose glowing reviews led to me playing it of looking through rose-tinted glasses rather than attempting to judge the game from a more objective viewpoint. Point being, Breath of Fire 3 doesn’t hold up, and I fail to see how it was ever fun in an age when games like Chrono Trigger had long since discovered ways to avoid the tedium of the genre. Read more →

James Bond 007 Review

It’s safe to say that I’m a huge James Bond fan; I own all the Bond movies except for Skyfall—which I’ve seen, but hate due to a number of completely ridiculous (even for the series) plot holes that you could drive a truck through—and am especially partial to From Russia With Love, which I’ve probably watched something like 50 times by now. James Bond 007 is a 1998 Game Boy game that took a Zelda-like approach to the franchise, creating a story that evokes the brand of crazy early Bond villains were notorious for dabbling in while creating gameplay that’s equal parts action and adventure game-esque item acquisition/usage. If it’s not immediately apparent, I suppose it’s worth disclosing that I’ve had this game for something like 15 years and have played through it multiple times, so I’m admittedly coming at this from a place of nostalgia. That said, I made an effort to look past my love goggles and see this game for what it truly is, and what it is turns out to be a flawed, but underrated gem. Read more →

The Last Express Review

I bought The Last Express from GOG years ago during a summer sale (I think it was called The Battle of the Games or something to that effect). The purchase was impulsive, driven by player promises that the game is unlike anything else before or since. Trying to play it for the first time, however, was hair-pullingly annoying; the vanilla version offered at GOG doesn’t have any hotspot indicators or anything that could possibly help out a new player, so you’re very much left wandering in the dark, trying to figure things out as you go along. Eventually I became hopelessly stuck and gave up on it, making a mental note to buy the “gold” version that includes hints and give it another try at some point. That didn’t actually happen until this year, and I ended up being glad that I had both versions of the game since they both come with their own pros and cons. Read more →

Silver Review

[Update: Apparently the PC version of Silver came out before the Dreamcast version. That’s absolutely mind-boggling to me given just how poorly tailored to the PC platform it is. Still, I’m leaving the original review untouched below as a testament to the PC version of the game being so poor that one could reasonably infer that it suffered from a bad port job rather than just being a shoddy game.]

Silver is a disaster of epic proportions, a 1999 multiplatform game that’s quite possibly the first example of a bad PC port and “consolitis.” Make no mistake—this game was designed for the Dreamcast. Playing it on the PC is technically possible thanks to its awkward port, but so many things were lost and/or worsened in the transition that only the masochistic need apply. For anyone else, it’s far less painful to just bite the bullet and hunt down a used Dreamcast to play the game on, or barring that, accept that the game is far more mediocre than its vocal fans would have you believe and pass on the game altogether. Read more →

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