3:25 PM 4 comments

2K Sports: MLB 2K9 Demo Impressions

MLB2k9

good I used to love video baseball nearly as much as video hockey. Back on my Commodore 64 I played the heck out of the Accolade classic, Hardball. From their I went on to enjoy such great franchises as Bases Loaded, Bottom of the Ninth, Ken Griffey Jr. and World Series Baseball. But since the last days of my Saturn and Nintendo 64 I have never found a baseball franchise that really caught my interest, that is until last night when I played 2K Sports latest baseball offering, Major League Baseball 2K9.

I was at first really struck by the presentation, though after seeing what they did with their NBA game I shouldn't have been surprised. I guess to expand on what impressed me was the atmosphere. It feels like you are taking part in both a game being broadcast and being on the field at the same time, the immersion level is very high. The character models and uniforms are very realistic and the announcers feel like they are doing it all on the fly, rather than from a script.

Lincecum43

Now the other side of the coin is the gameplay. Since I had no manual I really had to feel around in the dark to get a handle on the controls, but once I did I really liked the pitching, but need a lot a work at the plate. Normally if one aspect of the game feels week or difficult, I will often pack in a game early, but the enticement of this game may make me want to work through the rough patches.

It has been a long time coming, but this may be the baseball game to break the cycle and bring me back to the fold. Stay tuned for perhaps more on 2K Sports MLB 2K9!

2K Sports - MLB 2K9

-SG

11:59 AM 1 comments

Get Your 'Virtual-On' On!

votemjinHere was a story that plucked my Sega-fanboy heart strings.  The other day I read on the Joystiq blog that Virtual On will be arriving on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace (no NA release date as of yet though.

Actually, it is not the Saturn or Arcade versions coming to XBLA, rather it is a port of the Dreamcast classic, Cyber Troopers Virtual On: Oratorio Tangram (probably the best name for a game ever, well at least the longest.  Take that Legendary: The Box).  I was definitely a big fan of the Saturn original. It was a unique fighter that incorporated huge robots/mechs battling in one on one action.  Often you would be firing your weapons from afar, but once in a while you could get in close and work your opponent over melee style.  For a game designed for twin stick play, the Saturn version played remarkably well with its controller set up, the tough part with the game is when you took on an opponent you had to play split screen, that made for some cramped quarters.  The art style for this series was also second to none, I even went as so far to order models based on the in-game characters.  While they looked cool they were actually quite junky and fragile.

voapharm

Years later I acquired the Dreamcast version.  While it was a beautiful game and a complete upgrade over the Saturn version, I really noticed the absence  of twin-stick technology.  While Sega created a proprietary control for the title, they were extremely rare and expensive. You were better off acquiring Steel Battalion at that point.  I still had my share of kicks with the DC version, but not to the extent of the Saturn one.  Probably more so due to the fact that I played more multiplayer with that version.

And that is why I am super excited for the VOOT on the 360.  Firstly the twin-stick situation will be remedied by the fact that twin sticks is today's controller standard.  Secondly, there is the opportunity to include online play!  Let us hope that Sega does not neglect the fact that will be the way the VOOT fans will want to play!  Personally, I will buy it anyway because I am a fan.

EDIT: Online...Confirmed!

Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram - Wikipedia

-SG

3:01 PM 3 comments

AFRO !

afro-samurai-lead

Its kinda funny how we get into things sometimes. Your either a fan of the book, movie, TV show or even the game. Enter Afro Samurai. Here's a piece of entertainment that almost passed me by. I originally had no interest in Afro Samurai till I played the Demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace. I even foolishly wrote off the game and anime series before giving it a shot just out of pure ignorance.

What is Afro Samurai all about ? Well in short, he's the number 2 Samurai in the world and he's looking to kill the Number One. Not for fame or fortune, not even for the title of being a God. Simply put , Revenge. You see along time ago Afro’s Father was the number one, and as a little boy Afro’s father was slain right in front of him. From there his training begun.

Immediately after playing the demo I was hooked. Now in the real world cross media doesn't always mix to well. We seen many movie and TV shows become just awful games and vise versa. So what makes Afro’s game so appealing ? First is the beautiful cell-shaded art style. It gives the characters from the show a new more vibrant life.

Once you find yourself done being mesmerized by the games beauty, it wont be hard take notice of the hip hop sound track produced by the RZA from the Wu Tang Clan. Speaking of audio, Afro himself isn't a man of many words, but he has a sidekick Ninja Ninja that wont shut up. Both of them happened to be voiced by none other the Samuel L. Jackson.

Now for the most part the hack-n-slash gameplay is sound. Of course like many games of this genre the camera tends to hamper the fun a bit (think Ninja Gaiden). Now I haven't purchased the full game yet . I need to find a time were this game will fit into my heavy gaming schedule.

For now I fulfilled my needed for Afro Samurai by watching the 5 episode mini series and I look forward to watching the movie next. I still find myself playing the demo every other night or so as well. If you haven't already then I say give the demo a spin, if you have any appreciation for art or music you should at least take notice to what's got me all hyped to play the game. I also strongly suggest trying episode one of the mini series. Its rare that I'm wrong about this stuff , you’ll love it for sure !

-TX

8:21 PM 1 comments

Street Fighter IV Hype, Bitten by the Bug

sagat2

It is funny how I can get sucked into the hype. A week ago I had no interest in buying Street Fighter IV, bit a few podcast, twitter feeds, and all-around hype later and I am the owner of the Collector's Edition no less!

While I had a rocky introduction the first night I have gradually gotten a feel for the game. While I will by no means be completing on any significant level, I am and will enjoy this game for sometime to come.

For now my character of choice is Sagat (pictured above). He is pretty bad ass! It seems like the world has been bitten by this Street Fighter bug. Have you yet?

Street Fighter®

-SG

11:59 AM 0 comments

Mass Effect 2 Teaser to the Masses



As I mentioned in a previous post there has been rumblings on the Mass Effect front. Now those rumblings are a full fledged shake up with the release of the new teaser trailer for Mass Effect 2.

After nearly of year of quiet on this games front it is good to finally see something to sink our teeth into. For example: "What the heck happened to my crew!" If I had more time to game I would start a new adventure for sure! Possibly before the new release, I wouldn't mind giving the female Shepard a spin.

Mass Effect 2 - Teaser

-SG

7:51 PM 1 comments

Road Trip: Frotz


For a blog that is named Text Adventure, this post can’t be more relevant with it also being the first for our portable/mobile games column Road Trip.

Frotz, is a Z-machine interpreter (z-code files are essentially story files) for playing text adventure games such as Zork (which happens to stand for the Z in Z-machine). Z-machine games should not be confused with SCUMM (Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion), which is a graphical system similar to Z-Machine games. The Frotz application can be downloaded to a PC or in the case of this column on to your iPhone or iPod touch so you can play on the road.

Frotz for the iPhone is free application, which comes pre-loaded with a dozen or more text adventures, including the original M.I.T. version of Zork. The application also provides a link to a database where you can download more story files. The quality of the games will vary from game to game since most of them are fan creations. As far as the interface goes, Frotz is very well tailored for portable gaming. By tapping the screen the keyboard will pop up allowing the user to type in the common words and phrases used text adventures (ie. take key, examine desk, etc.). Short form for key words is also used such as “I” for inventory. The built in dictionary will also complete the spelling of words based on the initial letters used. The ability to save your game is thankfully available.

In the future, I would hope to see an update allowing for graphics and sound, potentially paving the way for Infocom’s library to be brought to the iPhone. This on my part is wishful thinking however. At any rate give it a try, you can’t go wrong with price.
- Schu
6:56 PM 2 comments

Code of Masters

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It just dawned on me that one of my favorite developers in the video game industry happens to be Codemasters. It all started with my love for racing games brought on from Sega Rally on the Sega Saturn. From there I was always looking for something for equal or greater value when it came to the racing genre.

With the Sega Saturn short lived and Sega Rally 2 on the Dreamcast being a disappointment I had to turn elsewhere. That's where Codemasters Colin McRae Rally came to the rescue. Not only was it just as good as S.R. but it was a step up in everyway. Being more of true sim then an arcade racer added a whole new level of skill that needed to be learned to play the game. Needless to say it was a great series.

From there the Colin McRae became known as DiRT and is by far the best Rally game to date. Codemasters has also fulfilled my need for speed with the incredible arcade/sim racer GRID. And just last year Codemaster caught me off guard with Overlord.

I'm looking forward to these sequels DiRT 2 (September 09) and Overlord 2(June 09) . Then there is a new IP FUEL (May 09)….. being called the off road version of Burnouts Paradise City due to its overwhelming size and scale of open world racing. Finally there's Operation Flashpoint:Dragon Rising coming this summer. Known for being different every time you play. OF:DR looks to have that old school Ghost Recon tactical style of gameplay set in highly detailed environments.

Somewhere in there is a F1 Racing game hiding, but no word on when we’ll see that one. I think for now though Codemasters has plenty for me to choose from over the next year.

-TX

10:45 AM 0 comments

Street Fighter IV …..and its Tools

doa4stick

Yesterday I decided to go out and pick up Street Fighter IV. I've never been a huge fan of the series but with all the hype over the new game along with its beautiful new art style it made hard for me to resist. I do like the game, but found it to bee a bit of a challenge being a noob to the series. I tend to be more of a 3D fighter fan and find them to be easier to play.

Now a week before the game was released I purchased the Chun-Li version of the new Mad Catz line of SF IV fighting pads just because I'm an accessory whore and it looked simply stunning. With the game now in hand it only made sense to open the controller and test out it out on the game it was made for. For a Mad Catz product its not bad at all. I find the D-pad and the button lay out to be perfect, but after a while it was feeling stiff and was kind of doing a number on my thumb.

410l7kRmUzL__SS500_ So I looked over on my shelf and said hey lets try out the good old Dead or Alive 4 arcade fighting stick I have. Makes sense right ….. of course it does. So I busted out this bad boy and found that this is the way to play Street Fight. Now I don't feel it made me a better player at all but it definitely felt better to use over all. After all the trial and error I gave the standard Xbox 360 wireless remote a shot and for all the flak it takes for having a bad D-pad I must say it wasn't all that bad. Its way better though using the fighting stick or Mad Catz pad just for the button layout. As for the game itself I find to be really difficult to play and trying to pull off these crazy 3/4 circle -> –> k+p combos are a pain. I did find some time to get online with SUPERGHOST for a few fights and had a good time. For now its all about practice and ..uh ..um choosing the right tool of the trade !

-TX

8:07 PM 0 comments

Nintendo DSi

DSi 

I thought that the actual post I was going to write today would be about the Nintendo DS Lite (the now discontinued Onyx/Black colour) that I just received for my birthday (which is tomorrow).  About now I would have just unboxed it and start charging it up so I could play the new crop of DS games I have been stockpiling.  Stop the presses!!!

Today Nintendo announced the day and date for the arrival of the third iteration of the DS, the DSi.  So, instead of cracking open my newly purchased DS, it is back to the store with that so I can get my brand-spankin' new DSi on its launch day of April 5, 2009!  That is not that many weeks away.  The price isn't that bad either, it will be coming in at $169!

So I am going to hold off on my DSi Text Adventures for the time being, but come April I will be unboxing and telling all of you about my new DSi.  Once I get my copy of Phantasy Star 0 the circle will be complete.

Nintendo DSi and DSiWare – Official Web site

-SG

7:16 PM 0 comments

Saturn Classic 'Death Tank' to XBLA!

Back in August I did a post on my Xbox 360 blog, SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of XBOX, on the rumoured arrival of the hidden Saturn mini game Death Tank. Tomorrow the game will arrive on XBLA for 1200 Microsoft Points. I thought it would be a good idea to revisit that post. I am thinking a demo play through will be in order for sure on this one.

deathtank3if you owned a Sega Saturn back in the day, Death Tank Zwei and Death Tank were the greatest games you never played. You could not buy these games, they were hidden unlockables, buried within the games that housed them. There were only a couple of ways that these games could see the light of day:

a.) The original Death Tank can be unlocked after obtaining all 23 Team Dolls in PowerSlave.

b.) Death Tank Zwei can be unlocked in two ways: 1. Destroy every toilet in Duke Nukem 3D(including the secret level, Urea 51), or 2. Have a Quake saved game on your system

Once you unlocked it you had a rare treasure of a multi-player game. Rare no longer as the DT will rise again in the XBLA space. If you want to read more on DT, just click the link below and you will be up to date. Take it from me, this game is worth checking out. Think of it as a fast-paced worms, all in real time. And with 8 player online support, who knows what kind of carnage will erupt!

Death Tank on its way to XBLA! - Windows Live

-SG

6:20 PM 0 comments

To Slay a Dragon



Taws the night before Christmas and all through the house, my fist went flying and so did my big mouth ! Yeah that's how X-mas Eve went down one year. My mom always hosts Christmas eve and before all the family and friends made their way over for the festivities I was highly anticipating my wife who I was just dating at the time to show up early with my gift .

I was so stoked that Id being playing Dragons Lair for the Sega CD in my very own house. I can remember walking into the arcade and seeing Dragons Lair for the first time. I thought to myself “games will never look better then this”. Little did I know it was a gimmick. I was ready for some serious gaming.

Boy was I friggin wrong. This game was an awful port of the arcade game. Not only did it look like crap,it played that way as well. I got so pissed off just trying to cross the the damn draw bridge right in the beginning of the game. The controls were so bad that for an hour I couldn't get in the castle . Id either miss the jump or get caught by the tentacles that would grab you out of the mote.

I became so enraged that I punched the door off my entertainment center and broke it over my knee (cheap press board) all while shouting ‘F’ bombs during the jolliest of holidays. My wife just sat there and looked at me like I was some crazed lunatic or something. My mother came in yelling “what's going on in here”. I was like” this F**king game SUCKS” !

Well after getting some cool fresh December air along with a smoke, I calmed down and shut the game down for the night and enjoyed some fine company with friends and family. Years later I'm still trying to slay that dragon thanks to my buddy SUPERGHOST who was nice enough to send me a copy of the game on HD-DVD. Needless to say the controls are a bit better, just a bit !

-TX

5:21 PM 2 comments

3 on 3 NHL Arcade is a Hit!

3on3

good

This past Wednesday I downloaded EA's newest hockey title, 3 on 3 NHL Arcade. Now I have played NHL 09 for many an hour this season and have really enjoyed that experience. So I had to wonder to myself how the team that has brought us the most authentic video hockey experience ever would transition to an arcade sports title. Well I can assure you here and now that the team accomplishes their mission with flying colours.

In a nutshell, 3 on 3 is NHL 09 hockey, but it transfigured into this arcade presentation, complete with several power-ups (and power-downs) ala your typical Mario Kart game. The amount of skaters on the ice is lowered to 3-aside (hence the title) making for a more wide-open style of game and the players come in different shapes so that you build the team according to your style of play. Think back to the original NES hockey title and you will understand what that is all about.

What brings the game down a notch is the inability to have a profile save. Every time you start a new game you will have to set your options and your team. I am not sure why they could not have ported over this very simple, yet very essential option from NHL 09.

3on3 Score

Even though some may say the package is 'bare bones', I say for $10/800 MS points you are getting an excellent and extremely fun over-the-top arcade title. Consider this game recommended!

3 on 3 NHL Arcade, Hockey Arcade Game EA Sports

-SG

12:05 AM 3 comments

Sega Rally Championship

Hello all, this is my first post as a contributors to Text Adventure and before I get to the topic of my post I will provide some background about myself. I've been gaming for over 20 years starting with the Commodore 64 through to most recently the Xbox 360 with the Genesis, SNES, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox in between. Oh yeah, and I'm also Superghost's younger brother. I'll play pretty much any genre with my preference of late being RPG's and FPS's. My blogging has been pretty sporadic over the last couple of years, but I'm hoping with this blog and with my buddies TormentX and Superghost we can put together something fun and that we enjoy doing.

Now to my topic. Sega Rally Championship (which is a port of AM2's arcade title of the same name) was one of the first games on the Saturn that I played to death and it also started by love of racing video games, particularly rally games.



Even though there was only a handful of tracks, I kept coming back, time trail after time trail, trying to eek out every last second by getting the perfect power slide around every corner. Looking back Sega Rally's gameplay still holds up, but my tastes over time have changed with my racing preferences leaning more to the sim side (i.e. Forza Motorsport).

My interest in racing games has somewhat lessened over the past few years, but I'm still looking forward to Forza 3 and possibly DIRT 2 (and possible Code Masters F1 title) to reignite my love of racing games

-SCHU

9:07 PM 0 comments

Mass Effect Origins

With all the recent rumblings of a Mass Effect sequel, the oft-rumoured second downloadable content package for the original, and the re-release that includes the previously released DLC plus a bonus disk, now is a great time to revisit the game that started it all, and in my opinion, was a heavy influence for Mass Effect, Electronic Arts's Starflight.

Mass-Effect-wallpaper

Before Mass Effect, Before Xbox, when console gaming was in its infancy a game arrived on the personal computers of the day (DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64) that was remarkably similar to today's great space opera. Starflight had its debut all the way back in 1986. Often when people think of games from the mid-eighties visions of simplistic platforms will fill their heads. But Starflight's creators had their own vision, and ambition. They were able to produce a fantastic RPG the likes of which had never been seen before.

Starflightgame

What may appear rudimentary by today's standards, Starflight allowed gamers experiences not unlike this generation's Mass Effect. Alien negotiations, space exploration, and planetary landings complete with searches for resources and ancient archeological sites. Clearly this game was ahead of its time. The Wikipedia page for Starflight continues:

Starflight, a computer game published by Electronic Arts and developed by Binary Systems in 1986, placed gamers as the captain of a state-of-the-art starship created to rescue a dying homeworld in a seemingly barren galaxy. Starflight, the "result of 20 man years" of work, used an in-game planetary generation system that enabled the galaxy to contain hundreds of explorable planets. A space opera of epic proportions containing shocking plot twists and deep mysteries. The somewhat RPG-like consisted largely of mining, alien diplomacy, and ship combat and managed to enable gamers to, in a sense, re-enact scenes remarkably similar to Star Trek.

I had the opportunity to play Starflight on my Commodore 64 back in the day. Unfortunately, the hardware limited the experience, I never had the opportunity to play the game the way it was meant to be played, rather all I had was the truncated version. Fortunately for me Mass Effect is delivering on the promise of yesterday today. In a funny twist, Starflight was originally published by Electronic Arts, now with EA's acquisition of BioWare, they look to follow up on what it started. As an old-school sci-fi buff it is good to know we can live out our old Star Trek fantasies in the video game space with Mass Effect, it is also good to remember your gaming roots such as Starflight.

Mass Effect Origins - Windows Live

-SG

8:48 PM 0 comments

In The Beginning

Its been along time coming to get this blog up and running. Why I don't know, but here we are. The thought of sharing my gaming experiences with the masses is great , but the idea of doing it with some good friends makes it priceless.

I go by the gamertag TormentX and I have been hooked on this digital madness since the late 70's. From the Atari 2600 right up to today's state of the art gaming technology I've have enjoyed passing the time in front of the tube interacting with my entertainment. I look forward to sharing my gaming past, present and future with everyone who's willing to listen.

Sharing this blog my fellow gamers and friends Superghost and Schuey F1 will no doubt be nothing short of great. Let the journey begin !

-TX

4:20 PM 1 comments

Welcome to 'Text Adventure'!

Welcome to the newest, hottest, boldest, bawdiest gaming blog to come out this day!

I started Text Adventure so that myself (SUPERGHOST) and my fellow gamers/bloggers TormentX and Schuey F1 could have a venue to not just write about the Xbox 360 (our favorite gaming console), but so we could explore other consoles, handhelds, iPods and Zunes, board games, retro games, or whatever has our attention at that moment. I am very excited for this project and I hope you will enjoy reading as much as we enjoy writing. So without further delay, lets get started on our Adventure!

EDIT: Pictured above is the Commodore 64 controller, the Epyx 500XJ! It was my weapon of choice back in the day, plus it looks remarkably like the Nintendo Wii's nunchuk don't it?

-SG