Not Quite “Retro” Review Rerun: Raze’s Hell

As I noted a little while back, from time to time I’ll be re-running some of my old (and long as hell, sorry!) reviews from a few dead sites I wrote for with no updates, but corrections and edits where necessary. Here’s one for a favorite Xbox game that still holds up almost ten years later as a great (albeit somewhat gory) gem you may have missed. Enjoy!

Raze's Hell CoverAh, the mentality of the American gamer. Whenever a bargain game shows up on store shelves, only the bravest of the brave (or those cheap bastards like me who’re unwilling to pay full price for a name title) pony up the pocket change for most of these cheapies and figure “Well, it’s a budget game, but I need my fix!” as they go home, close their eyes and think of England (you’ll only get that joke if you’re older than 30 or are a bit of a history buff).

It turns out that some of these games are good, some are really good, and a rare few are of the “Wait… THIS cost twenty bucks?!” caliber. Majesco‘s new release, Raze’s Hell fits snugly into the latter category, and if you’re looking for a game that’s going to grab you by the short hairs and pull hard while smacking both your funny bones, disco down to your nearest game shop and bring a few friends with you- you‘re in for a treat… Continue reading

Review: Earth Defense Force 2017

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Sandlot

Publisher: D3Publisher of America

# of Players: 1 – 2

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: B+

One of those “cult classics” that, three years after its US release is still a hell of a lot more fun than certain bigger budgeted (and bigger hyped) games, Earth Defense Force 2017 is finally back on the Xbox 360, this time as a download only Games on Demand release. Whether you missed out on it the first time back in 2007 or you're replacing that copy you sold off on ebay, 2017 is still an absolute blast to play, mixing in dozens of hours of non-stop hardcore action with couch co-op and a grand, campy “B” movie aesthetic that permeates the game from start to finish. Sure, there's no online play, the character and vehicle controls are a tad quirky and the game isn't exactly “state of the art” in terms of presentation. On the other hand, the old school gameplay coupled with some truly and terrifyingly challenging levels go a long way in proving pure fun trumps innovation any damn day of the week. That twenty bucks might seem like a “premium” price for a game in these days of too many indie games going for a buck or few on XBLA, but trust me, you're getting easily three to four times that value in gameplay length alone.

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Bastion Trailer: Supergiant Is One More Indie Dev To Watch…

Supergiant Games’ upcoming Bastion is the sort of game I’d pay good money for if it came in a boxed retail version. Sadly, like far too many indie games this generation, this gorgeous, innovative RPG looks as if it’ll only see the light of day as a digital download. Sure, that’s absolutely peachy for folks who can go that easy, breezy DLC route on PC and console formats, but some games (and particularly great-looking games such as this) should be available for the masses in as many (legal) forms as possible (grrrr, end of non-rant). Anyway, ogle the trailer above and keep a eye peeled for what’s looking to be one of 2011’s indie games. My radar is pointed in your general direction, Bastion… don’t let me down!

(Great, now I’m talking to as yet unreleased indie games…where’s my medicine?!)

Review: Epic Dungeon

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: Eyehook Games

Publisher: Microsoft

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: None

Official Site

Score: A+

In this year of huge-budgeted “Triple-A” releases that get massively hyped midnight launches, expensively overblown limited edition bundles and millions of juiced-up fans blowing each other away in online matches while ignoring the single-player aspect, Eyehook's brilliant (and brilliantly simple) Epic Dungeon crushes them all with its no-nonsense approach to challenge and pure fun. For a measly 80 Microsoft Points (one whole dollar!), you're getting a tough game with infinite replay value, a great “retro” look and overall, an absolute must-play for anyone who considers him or herself a true gamer. Easily worth twenty times its cost or more, don't let the cheap-ass price point fool you into thinking this is some play once and dump forever bit of fluff. A minor bug or two aside, nothing should stop you from finding out just how awesome and addictive this gem of a game is.

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Earth Defense Force 2017 Now Available On Xbox Live (Finally!)

I was wondering when D3Publisher was going to answer the call of the wild ones who either sold off or traded their copies, missed out on Sandlot’s superior sleeper or just want to play what all the fuss is about. Having played and beat the disc version to death and beyond a few years back, I’ll re-review the downloadable version shortly and see if it’s still as addictive as ever. in addition to the Xbox Live Games On Demand relaunch, D3 is looking to draw in fans old and new by reviving the EDF 2017 website.

Sadly, there’s no news of a PS3 port of 2017 any time soon, but I’m hoping D3 has plans to introduce western gamers to the two previous games in the series in the form of the PAL versions of the game (Monster Attack and Global Defence Force). While PSN would be the best format for some EDF fans, I’m also hoping (memo to D3: DO this for the fans!) the games are added to the Earth Defense Force Insect Armageddon Blu-Ray disc for those who don’t yet have PSN accounts. Hell, there’s more than enough space on that format to fit the localized versions, that’s for sure…

In case you haven’t played EDF before, it’s a fantastic chunk of run ‘n gun arcade action that’s surprisingly deep and incredibly long in terms of netting the game’s small amount of achievements. 53 levels, completely destructible structures in the outdoor maps, split-screen co-op (no online play, sorry!) Over 150 weapons to collect and some of the toughest difficulty spikes (in solo play particularly) you’ll ever see await those daring with twenty bucks in hand. Trust me, the experience is worth twice the price, folks…

Review: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare

Platform: PS3 (also on Xbox 360, PC)

Developer: Rockstar San Diego

Publisher: Rockstar Games

# of Players: 1 (online 2 – 4)

ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Official Site

Score: A+

“Before we resume with a bang and boom…”, let's just say that Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare is absolutely going to be the best ten bucks (or 800 Microsoft Points) you'll spend on any DLC this year. The zombie-packed expansion makes a great game even greater, packing in a decent amount of single-player content and some fun multiplayer action while transforming the familiar Old West setting into an undead filled wasteland that needs a bit of purification. If you've somehow managed to miss Red Dead Redemption, it's definitely a must-buy and this expansion makes it even more so.

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Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Now Available via DLC – Retail Version Hits Next Month

Awesome. Not only is Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare hitting PSN and Xbox Live to-day as DLC (for a measly ten bucks/800 Microsoft Points? That's an automatic BUY, hands-down, folks!), the M-rated zombie-packed single and multiplayer expansion is hitting retail next month as a standalone game disc with a ton of additional content non-broadband using gamers (or those who still haven't played the original game yet) will absolutely want.

Click below for the press release… unless of course, you're already playing the game.

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Fallout: New Vegas DLC In The Works

Well, you knew it was coming, didn't you? Bethsoft goes and makes one of the biggest games of the year even bigger. Too bad my 360 is dead (yet another one at that, grrrr!), but methinks what Obsidian has crafted will keep me quite occupied until the PS3 gets its own DLC pack…

Press release below.

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Bonk: Brink of Extinction Hands-On

Hudson Soft's booth was pretty packed at this year's New York Comic Con thanks to a solid lineup of titles such as Lost In Shadow, Deca Sports Freedom and Bomberman Live Battlefest. But it was the return of Bonk that really sent me back to the future. Bonk: Brink of Extinction was on the floor and playable from start to finish and between the massive levels, awesomely funny classic game mechanics and nifty co-op gameplay, Hudson has a real winner here. Unlike many “retro” remakes, don't expect to see movement in the 3D plane or flashy CG movies between stages. What's here is pure side-scrolling bliss that's going to put an ear-to-ear grin on your face that won't leave for weeks.

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Sega Launches Dreamcast Classics Over PSN, XBLA

Boom. That's all you need to know, folks.

OK, OK I'll toss in a few details…

Sonic Adventure NOW (and Crazy Taxi in November) available over PSN or Xbox Live are the first two games in Sega's re-master plan to capture the hearts and minds of gamers young and old while keeping that classic Sega flame alive and kicking amongst us hardcore Sega-philes out there. Sega is also promising even more titles are coming soon (yes!) and I'm definitely all for that. I'm gathering The new DC line will consist of Sega-produced titles only, so I'm hoping to see a few racers in the lineup (Daytona USA, Ferrari F355 Challenge) along with Sonic Adventure 2 and maybe even a RPG or two (Skies of Arcadia, anyone?)

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