Even if Disney didn’t quite manage to make that obvious last year: The Lone Ranger was pretty cool.
The movies may not have been too kind to the classic hero but Nintendo’s attempt to bring the masked lawmaker to the NES was actually surprisingly effective!
Don’t believe me, Kemosabe?
If this awesome 8-bit rendition of The Lone Ranger’s classic theme hasn’t already made you want to play the game right now then I’m genuinely surprised but I’ll go on with the review regardless, maybe something else about the game will sway you.
Here’s an odd little game you might have missed on the PS2.
The Adventures Of Cookie & Cream, aka Kuri Kuri Mix, was a multiplayer action/puzzle game in which two bunnies, one called Cookie (or Chestnut in some versions), who has a flower pot on his head, and one called Cream, sporting a little umbrella hat, collaborate on beating various goofy yet conveniently designed worlds.
One does not simply review Charlie’s Angels on the PS2…
To quote The Borg: “reviewance is futile.”
(my old buddy Benny Borg is not very good at English, sorry)
There’s something very special about such a game. It’s that delicious kind of bad you get from a particularly lazy and/or misguided movie-to-game adaptation. It’s awful in basically every way and yet it remains fascinating, like an old Miso soup.
In all fairness, the same could be said about those Charlie’s Angels movies, though the former had Bill Murray-on-Tim Curry sumo wrestling (I’m 85% that happened) and the latter was completely out of its friggin’ mind. In my book, that’s pretty good mindless entertainment.
I will tackle this game properly in a video review at some point I’m sure so consider this less of a review and more of a teaser for just how impressively brain-numbing this game is.
What’s bad about it? In a nutshell?
SO glad you asked.
The plot of the game, to give you an idea, involves a group of monument thieves who go around stealing famous landmarks in the blink of an eye. The game actually opens with the Statue Of Liberty’s mysterious and speedy disappearance.
My money’s on David Copperfield.
Or Herbert Lom in The Pink Panther Strikes Again for those who prefer crazy obscure movie references.
Either way, it’s certainly a challenge for the Angels.
In the opening cutscene, we meet Bosley (Bernie Mac) and the gals as the ever-unseen Charlie explains their mission. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, believe it or not, do voice their characters and, amazingly, they do so with the appropriate amount of care and excitement.
None at all.
Anyway, let’s meet our Angels.
Charlie’s Naughty Angels?
Unless Lucy Liu’s just feeling Drew Barrymore’s baby bump.
Or the game’s graphics are just completely broken, which they are, and the animation on the characters is all over the place. Incidentally, these cutscenes look way better than the actual gameplay.
Now I don’t know much about Cameron Diaz but I know two things.
1 – What Happens In Vegas was horrible.
2 – Cameron Diaz does not have a bald spot in the front of her head.
The flimsy excuse we get for the Angels wearing bikinis that don’t leave much to the imagination for a good portion of the game is their cover for this mission is a bikini contest. Something which, to be honest, would not be the silliest thing these characters have ever done.
Not even close.
That said, what kind of bikini contest takes place at dusk with no audience and no-one around but bad guys who totally already know you’re a spy because you’re kicking the crap out of them left and right for no apparent reason?
Establishing a cover for your characters should mean some stealth is required: you walk around incognito until you do something stupid and get found out. But not in the topsy-turvy world of this game, oh no, your enemies are everywhere, all the time and there isn’t a moment when you’re not kicking them or attempting some kind of moronic “combo.”
Pushing the same attack button three times is hardly a combo, by the way.
Each character has their own plusses and minuses in terms of attacks and you can switch from one to the other whenever you want except when a fight is going on, which is always.
Cameron Diaz kicks faster and has a nifty butt attack.
*insert hilarious screenshot here*
Drew Barrymore’s punches are more powerful.
And Lucy Liu climbs ladders the slowest.
Seriously, the speed at which these ladies climb ladders is maddening. It’s like waiting for death by looking at a decaying piece of bread for a week.
While the game is absurdly linear, it’s still a good thing those arrows are there to show you the way because the sudden, super-awkward camera angle changes are disorienting to say the least. Otherwise, they’re completely useless seeing as whenever you fight a bunch of people you are promptly surrounded by some invisible forcefield preventing you from proceeding to the next part or going anywhere on that level.
Every level works basically in the same way: you move the Angels along the level one after the other, fight a gazillion people with random names who look exactly the same then push some button where you see a red target symbol.
Rinse and repeat.
You could literally make fun of every single aspect of this game, from its ugly, ridiculous graphics to its music. There’s something really undignified about seeing a badly rendered video game person in a bikini jumping and kicking like a kangaroo, or even simply running.
The music is stock but it’s the sound effects which really stand out as particularly annoying. Diaz’s character emits like a mini disappointed shriek every time she gets hit and, after a while of beating up and getting beaten up by complete strangers, this becomes unbearable.
Even the one actually fun aspect of the game is broken.
Enemies occasionally carry weapons with them from knives to tools, even harpoons and every so often they drop one and you’re able to pick it up then beat them with it. This was a good idea since your main attacks get boring fast but what tends to happen is either someone kicks the weapon out of your hand and you can’t pick it up again or you go back to pick up the weapon only to find that it’s stuck inside that invisible wall I mentioned earlier.
A game like Minority Report had similar problems: a beat ‘em up in which you fight way too many people for no reason when a more strategic adventure would have made more sense, a movie game that doesn’t really “get” the movie it’s based on, characters that don’t look right, bizarre rag doll issues. And yet that game is somehow at least a thousand times better than Charlie’s Angels. Perhaps it’s the fact it has a coherent plot, perhaps it’s the fact it’s based on a really good movie or perhaps it’s the jetpacks.
Gotta love those jetpacks.
Point being, always approach movie-to-game adaptations with caution, especially this one as it’s most definitely one of the worst I’ve personally played. Expect more on Charlie’s Angels from me some time in the future but in the meantime…
This week, I’m not just reviewing a retro game.
I’m reviewing the Gods themselves!
First released on the Amiga, Gods was then ported to various consoles including the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo. The game, developed by The Bitmap Brothers, is a supernatural epic in which a hero (basically Hercules) attempts to retake the citadel of the gods from four baddies. The promise being that, should he succeed, he would be made into a god himself.
On the Genesis, we get a cool Batman & Robin-style suiting-up montage showing just how muscly and tough Mr Hercules is:
Goblins are for THE WEAK.
Sure Ghosts ‘N Goblins was a fun game and it kick-started a really popular franchise but those goblins had to go. 1988 was the year of the ghoul and yes, I’m basing that statement solely on the game I’m going to talk about today.
Ghouls ‘N Ghosts was the first sequel to Ghosts ‘N Goblins and although it was released in the Arcade and on a variety of other ports, I’ll be focusing on the Sega Master System version because we all know how sloppy and, by extension, amusing those Arcade conversions can be on that console.
Believe it or not, I haven’t reviewed that many educational kid-friendly games.
No, Fisher-Price: Perfect Fit doesn’t count.
I have, however, reviewed one of my favourite Mickey games, Mickey Mania for the Sega Genesis and revisiting that one was a joy so I trust Mickey to, once again, offer something worthwhile.
Oh, who am I kidding?
Mickey’s Adventures In Numberland looked terrible.
And, in a way, it still does!
Why did it have to be Snake…
The game I’ll be talking about today has technically existed since the 70’s but, for many of us, it’s only been around since the time of brick Nokia phones with silly antennas, a time of bad Vengaboys songs, a time of not pawing your computer or mobile screen like a child pretending to play the piano on a wall made of candy.
This was the late 90’s, man.
TO THE MAX.
So there’s talk of a possible Tetris sci-fi live-action movie and I, for one, am all for it!
I love Tetris!
And if Clue can be a movie, then why can’t a beloved retro gem like Tetris be a movie too?
Now, if we’re really going to take this news seriously, we’re going to have to set an example because we, as retro gamers and retro gaming aficionados, have the power to influence Hollywood this time and help steer this project towards something a little bit better than that House Of The Dead movie, for instance.
Let’s put our heads together and try to figure out the best way to make a Tetris movie work.
Big plans were brewing back in 1992.
Like a group of mad scientists in an old black and white movie, Beam Software developed a little game called Nightshade, also known as Nightshade Part 1: The Claws Of Sutekh and, although the game never received the sequels it promised/deserved, it was later used as a starting point for Shadowrun.
Released on the NES, the game was an ambitious mix of RPG adventure, point-and-click mystery, fighting action and… bad jokes.
For 007 fans who also happened to be gamers, James Bond video games were kind of a must.
From The Duel to Goldeneye to Agent Under Fire, From Russia With Love and beyond, we had to try them out and, more often than not, they ended up being pretty darn entertaining. Not always perfect, granted, but generally good enough to warrant a playthrough.
Nightfire was one of the few games I personally played and completed on the original X-Box and, since I recently played it all again on the PS2 this time, I thought it would be a good one to bring the table while it’s still fresh in my mind.
How do you follow something like Fisher-Price: Perfect Fit?
With a (not sarcastically) good Sega Genesis game of course!
Yes, Blades Of Vengeance is actually decent!
In many ways, it’s even better than decent: it’s pretty darn great.
For one thing, it’s called Blades Of Vengeance, which sounds either like a late sequel to that ice-skating Will Ferrell movie or some low-level metal band your dad would look at you weird for enjoying.
Or, of course, a random Steven Seagal film about some dude punching other dudes into paper-thin walls.
Quite simply: it sounds amazing.
The words “classic” and “awesome” are tossed around a lot when people speak about their favourite retro games.
Super Mario World this, Legend Of Zelda that.
How “awesome” is Tetris?
Pac-Man is a true “classic”!
Yeah well all that may be true but it appears that some games are just too good, too special to be mentioned in top 100 lists (or top 1000 lists) of greatest games ever. And that’s just wrong, sad and wrong.
Games like Fisher-Price: Perfect Fit always get left out and I’m personally saddened by that thought on a level so high that Donkey Kong only dreams of ever reaching that kind of vertical distance.
This game’s so good, you guys.
Seeing as everyone’s favourite (read: most affordable) action heroes are back in the unsurprisingly not very good The Expendables 3, I thought we’d delve into one of the toughest retro games out there.
“Tough” as in big muscles tough, of course.
And no, I’m not talking about that wimpy NES Rambo game where you’re knifing chickens and punching owls in the ear or whatever.
Nope, not even Duke Caribbean: Life’s A Beach.
Make way for Rambo III.
What do you mean you’ve never heard of Running Battle?
It’s like the Sega Master System’s answer to Super Mario Bros 3! If Super Mario Bros 3 was a generic beat ‘em up with no real identity, of course.
Actually, to give the inaccurately titled “Running Battle” (it includes very little running) some credit, it’s more enjoyable to play than some of those arcade classics given the shoddy Master System treatment as it mixes in a more appropriate pace and graphics more suited to a console-based side-scrolling action game.
It’s Review A Bad Game Day time again!
Which means that I get to play and review something that’s either well and truly dire or amusingly so. Which isn’t too far-fetched for me since I tend to play and review tons of those kinds of games so I say: bring it on!
Thinking about the NES, I soon turned to a silly game based on a silly cartoon series based on a silly movie franchise. And no, I’m not talking about that Toxic Crusaders game, though I did consider it. Besides, you know what’s scarier than a radioactive dude?
One of the coolest things to come out of the San Diego Comic Con was arguably that new Mad Max: Fury Road trailer which quickly got me excited for a franchise I really didn’t think was “rebootable.”
Which is why I thought I’d look back at a little game called Mad Max on the NES.
Developed by Mindscape, the game already sets itself up for criticism by calling itself Mad Max when, really, it’s Mad Max 2. That said, many actually prefer the second movie so this was probably a nice surprise for most.
The game opens with the first of many barely decipherable pictures peppered throughout.
Originally, I was leaning towards reviewing some kind of Donkey Kong game to coincide with the release of new film Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes but I was soon beaten to it by Joshua Caleb’s fab RetroHate column where he checked out Donkey Kong Land for the Game Boy.
Luckily, the Playstation 1 soon came to my rescue with the simply titled Planet Of The Apes.
Or, as I like to call it, “Ape Raider.”