Review: Raiden V: Director’s Cut (PS4)

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How great is UFO Interactive’s Raiden V: Director’s Cut? So great that I went and grabbed the previous installment on the PS3 (which just so happened to be part of this past weekend’s PSN Flash Sale and was $2.99 very well spent), slightly kicking myself (ow!) for missing it a few years back. I’d been cutting back on arcade shooters for a while, but something about this well-aged series has always drawn me to it. It’s probably because it brings back certain good memories, but it also helps that it’s been a consistently entertaining set of games despite some lesser console versions not being as fun.

This newest installment is more polished visually and aurally and thanks to its busy color palette and tons of explosions, it really looks and feels a hell of a lot busier to the eyes and reflexes. There’s so much going on that I found myself laughing out loud (to no one in particular, as usual). Skilled developer MOSS has reworked the traditional vertical arcade game screen so it’s packed with information to the point of distraction should your eyes float to the left or right of where the real action is. But you won’t let that happen, right?

Hey, the future of the planet is at stake, pal – eyes on the prize and all that.

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8-Bit Adventure Anthology (Volume One): The Throwback With Bounce Ability

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Adventure game fans of old will really appreciate this one, a triple threat of classics set to be re-released by Absolution Games in the form of 8-Bit Adventure Anthology (Volume One), coming October 31 to Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. No fancy updated visuals here (other than what looks like sharper cover art) for the three titles included.

So, what’s in that set, you’re asking? Well, let’s WALK up to the DOOR and take a PEEK inside:

The 8-Bit Adventure Anthology (Volume One) includes these classic games:

Shadowgate™: The wind whistles through the silent halls as you step through the stone threshold. You’ve just entered Shadowgate, a once shining castle, now an evil, dark moldering ruin. Swallow your fear and take up your torch. You are the ‘Seed of Prophecy’ and in your hands lies the fate of the world itself.

The Uninvited™: The last thing you remember was a figure appearing in the middle of the road and the sound of your sister’s screams over the screeching tires. When you come to, you discover two horrifying things: your sister is missing and the mansion that now looms before you seems to be calling your name…

Déjà Vu™: It’s 1942 and you wake up in a seedy bathroom with no idea how you got here or, for that matter, who you are. You grab a .38 hanging on the door, stumble up the stairs and find some stiff slumped over a desk with three bullet holes in him. You check your gun. Three bullets are missing. This is gonna be a bad day.

Yep, I can hear your brains all clicking into place now (well, those of you who recall playing these on PC or the NES back in the day). How about some screenshots to get you grinning? Okay, LOOK:

Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but I’m betting a few of you will be ignoring those Trick or Treaters just so you can camp out at home with the lights down low as you click away at solving and surviving the mysteries and assorted deathtraps that await. Well, that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. While it won’t be a HIT with the kids ringing my doorbell, I’ll feel better knowing I’m not responsible for any cavities in the not to distant future.

-GW

Raiden V: Director’s Cut Blasts Onto PS4, PC

 

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Holy Cats – bullet hell pioneer Raiden is a quarter of a century old. Actually, it’s 27 if you go by purely chronological order, but I believe the series took a tiny bit of time off between installments and developer changes. Anyway, UFO Interactive and developer MOSS are finally jetting out the PS4 and Steam versions with added content (it seems Xbox One owners who got this last year are missing out) as Raiden V: Director’s Cut .

 

 

If you’re a longtime fan, well you know the drill in this arcade shmup: earth gets invaded by a fleet of alien ships and it’s up to you (solo play) and a partner (if you go co-op) to take out the trash before it blows all over the globe. Actually, those aliens end up invading a few global spaces, so it’s up to your fast reflexes and non-blinking eyes to get the job done.

Game Modes:

•Story Mode – All new story full of twists and turns! The story alters depending on your performance!
•Boss Mission – Defeat bosses under special conditions and compete in the leaderboards!
•Gallery – Dozens of character, concept, and game art waiting to be unearthed!

Features:

Tag in a friend and unleash devastation on your enemies!

Extreme Graphics – Full 1080P support to bring every explosion, missile attack, and Boss Kills to earth-shattering realism on HDTVs and monitors!

Tri-View HUD – New levels of frenetic, heart pounding, pulsing action as real-time game status changes, command center data and gameplay simultaneously update you on the action and your performance!

Fully narrated storyline for the first time in the series!

Fight your own path through a branching storyline!

Choose between three different ships to pilot, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and outfit them with nine different weapon types!

In addition to the game currently available on PSN, gog.com and Steam, you can also download some really nice free themed wallpapers for your PC here. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get some eyeball exercise with a side of reflex action testing (or, I’m downloading this as we speak, folks).

-GW

System Shock: Night Dive Studios Shows How EVERY Game Needs to Be Crowdfunded


 

In dropping an amazing early demo for its System Shock remake on Kickstarter, you can very safely say Night Dive Studios also just dropped the mic on how every videogame developer from this point onward NEEDS to introduce their product should they take the crowdfunding route. Giving potential backers a taste of what’s to come at no cost save for the time it takes to download and play that sample makes a hell of a lot more sense than automatically thinking gamers love gambling blindly on an IP’s popularity, names of famous creators, insane stretch goals and other promises that have popped up with a bunch of other past to current games. As a few high to lower profile games that didn’t meet expectations or that failed to materialize post-campaign have shown, gamers feel the burn from these bad apples and take their anger out on whatever pops up next as a big deal project.

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Yes, some of those games got backer-only demos for certain mid-to high tier contributors (boo!). But to me, the idea of paying to play a demo build is a bit lame, no matter how great the pedigree of the team making a game. Although I’ve played some decent ones, Early Access games fall under the same category because there are some that have died on the vine after that demo drops and gets paid for. Granted, crowdfunding sites aren’t “stores” at all and your pledge is just that until the project meets or exceeds its goal and your money is gently lifted from your bank account. Anyway, if you remember System Shock and want to check it out even if you have no plans to fnd this remake, hit up the Kickstarter page and go get that demo on Steam, through the Humble Store or DRM-free over at gog.com.

Sega 3D Classics Collection: A Throwback That’s A Keeper For Nostalgic Fans

Sega 3D CC_3DS Longtime Sega fanatics have probably been wondering when the company would get to revisiting some of it’s well-aged classics outside the usual suspects and come April 26, those fans who (paradoxically) own a Nintendo 3DS will get to dive into Sega 3D Classics Collection for the more than reasonable price of $29.99. The retail and eShop release will contain nine games total:

7 Classic Games:
Power Drift
Puyo Puyo 2
Fantasy Zone II W
Sonic The Hedgehog
Thunder Blade
Galaxy Force II
Altered Beast

2 Bonus Games:
Fantasy Zone II
Maze Walker

In addition, you can disguise (or try to disguise) your 3DS with a set of Sega-themed stickers that will come included with launch edition copies of the game. Or you can save that sticker sheet for future use or even slap them on all the actual Sega consoles in your collection. Of course, if you’re a collector, those stickers will stay stuck to the paper they come on, right? Yeah, I figured as much. Me, I want this for Maze Walker, Galaxy Force, the two Fantasy Zone games and Power Drift, but everything will get played to death at some point. As much hard work went into getting this set of games out, it would really be nice to see a follow up at some point just to get Space Harrier II, After Burner and a few other classics onto the 3DS in that eye-popping 3D. As usual, we shall see…

System Shock 3: It’s About Time For A New Shodan

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Well, this is a nice surprise for a Monday (or any day, for that matter): OtherSide Entertainment is currently working on two projects I just found out about and am terminally thrilled to see come to life. System Shock 3 and Underworld Ascendant, two games that NEED to be completed before the world goes belly up. The great thing is both projects are being worked on by teams that worked on the original games and a whole lot of other classics for PC and console, meaning the dedication to quality is there and will make for two spectacular titles well worth the wait. At least to my nostalgic eyeballs and ears. Also, you can help directly fund Ultima Ascendant if you like by clicking on that link above. If you remember the first two titles well enough (warts and all), reading the game page should make your wallet magically appear in your hand before you get past 1/8 of what’s there.

More on both of these when info pops into the inbox.

Humble NEOGEO Bundle: Instant Arcade For Your PC? Yeah, That’s a Buy

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If you just got a nice and nostalgic heart flutter when you ogled that logo above, go pop an aspirin (drink a nice big glass of water with that!) and have a seat. Humble Bundle and SNK/Playmore are teaming up to bring you (at least) 21 NEOGEO arcade games for less than what you’d drop in an arcade during the 90’s on a gaming binge. Seriously. Ten bucks (and you should pay MORE, frankly) gets you those 21 DRM-free games pictured on the page, some excellent game soundtracks you can listen to as you bop down the street or drive around in your vehicle of choice, and the promise of MORE games dropping into your Steam account in a week. $167 worth of games for a tenner is pretty fantastic, but it gets better if you happen to use Firefox or Chrome as your browser. Why? Well, you can sample all but one of the games in the bundle for FREE, that’s why!

Once you’ve had your fill, whip out that wallet and get to the buying and supporting charity part. Humble appreciates the business and you need a ton of fun classics for that backlog you’re growing, right? Yeah, I thought so. If you’re REALLY feeling generous, you can pay $40 or more for all of those games (and games to come) and get an NEOGEO 25th Anniversary Limited Edition METAL SLUG SV-001 T-Shirt sent to you in the mail. Pick your poison and then pick some time out to play with your new games library. Whatever you do, pick quickly as this sale is only running for the next dozen days.

“He’s Making A List And Checking It Twice…”

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Image courtesy atarimania.com (thanks!)

Yeah, yeah. I’m in the middle of a little (but not little at all) listing project for the fine folks over at Digital Press where I’m one of a few staff wroters who still works on the print ‘zine that gets published whenever we have time to get an issue out.

Everyone contributing to the next issue is going to be submitting a list of 30 “best” console or PC titles from each era 1971-2004 (for a total of up to 90 games from each writer) and those lists will get tallied up and then blurbed for readers to debate about later and perhaps get into unnecessary fisticuffs over.

Okay, that’s NOT the goal at all, but you know how the internet reacts to the most humble stuff these days. Then again, the DP readership is generally more mellow and reserved (well, usually). So I’m gathering whatever pops up from the staff collision at the end of the month will be quite a read. My own list is made up of mostly common games with a few oddball entries added in because they were and still are games that made quite an impression on me back in the day.

Anyway, let me get back to my compiling. I’m having a big brain battle over the final era thanks to so many systems to choose from, way too many PC games being too good and me trying to squeeze a mere 30 games out of thousands that also deserve to be included. Ah well -small world problem, right? If I don’t post anything again today, have a Happy Thanksgiving passed out in front of your TV or wherever else you’ll crawl for a nap after your turkey overdose.

Super Star Wars Lands on PS4, Vita: The Force Is Strong With This One

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It feels 100% weird to say this, but there’s an old Super Nintendo game on a new Sony console and not so new handheld that’s a nice surprise for any Star Wars fan. Granted, Super Star Wars was also on the eShop for the Wii back in 2009, but this updated version for the PS4 and Vita offers a number of tweaks that include new save features, leaderboards, trophies, and updated display and controller options. Nope, it didn’t get a big HD visual overhaul at all, so hopefully you’re happy with the original 1992 SNES visuals in all their 2D and Mode 7 pseudo 3D glory:

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if you’re grinning like a loon because you have a PSN account, a PS4 or Vita (the game is Cross Buy, by the way) and $9.99 ready to fly out of your wallet, you’re already buying this before you’ve finished this sentence. Me, I’m still a little freaked that there’s a SNES game on a non-Nintendo platform and the earth hasn’t exploded from that fact. Oh,and new players to this one will find it hard as hell and a bit janky in spots. But it’s still a ton of challenging fun as well as a nice nostalgic trip into the past. Whatever strings Disney pulled to get this to happen (I’m thinking that this was a Sony Imagesoft-produced game back then may have helped) sure worked out alright although it would have been a better deal to get the SSW trilogy out for something like $20 or so.

Eh, we’ll see what the future brings for those ancient games about a galaxy far, far away. This new deal has me hoping that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II show up on a Sony console at some point. Playing both of those classics on my Vita would be a total mind-blowing thing to see happen in the near future..

Battlezone Trailer: Rebellion’s Newest Makes Me Feel Very Old

As someone who spent plenty of time in the arcades and at home playing the original Battlezone and its Atari 2600 port respectively and later the pretty awesome PC game and the not so awesome looking but still enjoyable N64 version, this newest take on the classic makes my bones ache. It sure looks spectacular and fast as can be, but the more Tron-like vibe and gaudy color scheme is very mildly rubbing me the wrong way. But that’s solely because I haven’t played the game yet. Sometimes it takes getting used to a visual style choice to fully enjoy a reboot, but I’m not going to be one of those internet whiners ranting about cosmetics. I trust veteran developer Rebellion enough that I feel comfortable that once I have my paws wrapped around a controller (and VR or no VR), I’ll be grinning nostalgically and having to have someone drag me away from the game at some point.

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Word has it that Rebellion may also be redoing the late 90’s PC game as well, which would be excellent if they went with a more “realistic” look to that one while adding elements from their popular Sniper Elite series. Hopefully, we’ll also see this on the Vita either as a Cross Play/Cross Buy or standalone solo and multiplayer game just because the handheld needs a bonafide smash hit. Tanks are ALWAYS awesome and there aren’t any decent portable games with them these days. Eh, we’ll see as usual. Oh, if someone at Atari isn’t looking at either Star Raiders or Space Lords as possible future reboots, they need to start doing just that. Technology has finally made making even more definitive versions of both classics possible and on multiple platforms as that. Get on it, people – call me if you need some ideas. I work cheap (but not free!).