Thursday, July 9, 2009

Metal Warriors

On the topic of giant robot games, I'd like to bring you another one of my favorite games from retro-land: Metal Warriors.  This is one of those cult games that were just so amazing that those who played it couldn't stop talking about how awesome they were.

You play as a mecha pilot aboard a starship thats in the middle of a battle for galactic military supremacy.  The game has some rather good animated cut scenes that are more impressive when you realize that the game is on the SNES.  But what really sets the game apart for me is that not only do you have several different robot armor suits that you get you use though out the game, you can jump out of your suit mid level!

On most of the stages there are other battle suits you can find.  If the suit your using is really damaged or the suit you find is a different type that you would rather use, you can simply get out and jump into that one.  As just a human you are really small on the screen.  On many stages there are people walking around doing things or shooting at you with little rocket launchers.  When you hop out of your robot you can fly around and shoot with a little hand gun you have.  

Some levels have sections in which you need to jump out of your suit to flip switches or reach parts of the level that your suit is to big to reach.  There are even levels that end with you hopping out and shooting your way to the bridge controls of an enemy starship to take it over.

Another interesting aspect to the game is the lack of life bars.  Instead, as you take damage your suit looks more and more tarnished.  Your arms will get blown off and eventually so will your shoulder weapons until your helpless.  It also adds an element of fear to the game because as your frantically searching for a repair kit or a different suit to jump into, you never really know how much more punishment your suit can endure before it blows up with you inside.

As if the game wasn't amazing enough as it was, Konami decided to throw in a versus mode.  In the versus mode you can challenge a friend to a one on one grudge match in one of the many versus levels.  Unlike the single player mode, you can pick which robot you start in.

Did I mention that each of the robot battle suits is completely different from the others and have unique abilities that make them even matches for any of the others?  Seriously, this game is perhaps one of the most well made games I've ever seen on the SNES aside from the Legend of Zelda a Link to the Past, which is my favorite game of all time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Robots Robots Everywhere

As I write this, behind me my two sons are playing a game based on a cartoon franchise that I have come to love.  That franchise is Gundam.  But it's more than Gundam that captivates me.  It's giant robots.  I grew up watching giant robot shows and as an adult I have access to even more anime of this genera than I did as a kid.  But the game they are playing isn't the only Gundam game I own.  In fact, its not even the only game based on a giant robot show I own.

What I'm getting at is that many of the games we play have themes or elements that are strongly influenced by the culture of the country in which they were created.  That country is Japan, and one of Japan's greatest obsessions is giant robots.  I love giant robots too, and have pretty much insured that so will my children when they are adults.  

Think about all the games that feature giant robots in one way or another.  Metal Gear, Mega Man (some of the sub bosses), Star Fox... even some of the Sonic the Hedgehog games have giant robot baddies.  

As I said, I love giant robots.  Well, I found an amazing site that has been around for years in one format or another that delivers more giant robot than you can shake a beam saber at.  Its called Mecha Anime HQ (MAHQ) and it has buckets of info on tons of giant robot (mecha to the geek inclined) shows.  

If you look through the different mecha pages you will find information on any games the different robots are featured in.  There are seriously dozens of giant robot games that are available in english speaking countries.  Thousands in Japan.

Sadly, the site doesn't have a section that features giant robots that are only in games.  Games like Armored Core, Xenogears or the aforementioned Metal Gear, Star Fox, Mega Man or Sonic.  But if you love giant robots like I do then its an excellent site to check out.  Especially if your looking for games based on your favorite mecha shows.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Magazines from gaming past

Remember those old issues of Nintendo Power that were like your bible?  Or that copy of EGM that had the preview of that game you were dying to play?  I know that long ago, in a galaxy far far away, I had crap loads of old game magazines that had all seen countless hours of my adolescent / teen time.

Sadly, in the summer of 99 my family moved to another state and I was told by my mother that there was no way she would let me lug the hundreds of magazines I had across state lines to scatter around the floor of another bedroom in another state.  Heartbroken, I was forced to bag them all up (in multiple garbage bags) and put them to the curb (how un-eco-friendly!).

Many times since then have I wished that I still had them.  Or thought fondly back upon the memory of poring over the pages of some ancient gaming tome.  Well, I found an answer to the hole in my soul.  Its called RETROMAGS and it has hundreds of old game magazines and guides from the old days of gaming glory.  

Everything on the site is free to download but your amount of downloads are limited based on how much you participate in the RETROMAGS community.  All you have to do is join up and start posting in the forums.  Once you get 25 posts under your belt you can start downloading from there direct links.  You can increase your weekly download limit by doing other things as well.  You can donate to the community, either with money or by helping out too.  

You don't have to join the community to download mind you.  They have rapidshare links you can download from, but if you've ever used rapidshare as a free user you know how much this sucks.  Personally I don't know why you wouldn't want to become active in this group.  You get to read old game mags and help preserve them for future generations at the same time!  Win win if you ask me.

Check it out!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gaming makes you Super-Human?

We've all heard about how sitting in front of a tv or computer screen all day is bad for us.  And we've all retorted with "It improves hand-eye coordination".  Well I'm here to suggest that perhaps it does more for us than that.

Do you remember the first time you played Quake III or Unreal Tournament?  I do.  I remember getting the crap blasted out of me online by sub-pro gamers because it all seemed to be moving so ludicrously fast.  But I can also clearly remember a few weeks later when I was in a rocket arena and was running directly into an onslaught of rapid fire rockets from multiple guys while side-stepping, bobbing and weaving through them all with ease.  Fact of the matter is, once I was up to speed in those fast paced first-person-shooters everything else seemed kinda slow.

Its actually for this reason I never really liked the Halo series.  It simply moved too slow for me.  Games that were realistic were simply too slow for my taste.  Even real life itself seemed slower.  It was as if my sense of perception had been idled up a bit faster than it used to be.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I even seemed to get better at stuff like sports.  My reaction time had increased.  

Now, this could be just a gamer defending what he loves, but perhaps games can be used to make us better than the average human.  Perhaps, if utilized correctly, games could be used to make Super-Humans!  FPS's for reaction time and heightened perception, RTS's for enhanced
 multi-tasking (mad micro anyone?) and Action/Adventure games for problem solving logic.  All this combined with a Shaolin Kung Fu training regimen could produce an arm
y of god-warriors who could take over the world!  MWAHAHAHAHA!

Then again, most gamers are also procrastinators and have a chronic fear of physical exercise (myself included lol).  We would have to overcome this little hurdle if we wanted to conquer the world.

Just a theory

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Retro classics in HD

If you've never heard of DeviantArt now is the time to check it out.  There is an artist named Orioto who is making some of the most amazing paintings of classic game scenes I've ever seen. I had a zelda pic made by this artist as my desktop wallpaper for a very long time.  The paintings are done as if the original game had been done in HD and had been done without 3d.

I can say that long ago as consoles started getting more powerful I hoped and dreamed that games would look like this.  Instead we got 3d.  But my dream lives on in the imagination of this artist.  Check out the gallery here.  You can even pay to have a custom painting done.  If you have an old favorite you would love to have done like this all you need is some cash.

Now what would be really awesome is if we could get some games done like this.  Imagine some old classics redone in this style!  It would bring a warm feeling into the heart of this old gamer.