It was the mansion of Dr. West...There's something about double-spread centrefold mini-comic ads -- specifically, that both of them that I've found so far have been for the TurboGrafx-16 platform! We know that the venture was a failure, but why, when this advertising technique is clearly such a winner?
but those who knew it better called it the...
SPLATTERHOUSEJennifer: "West may have been the best parapsychologist in our field.
... but do we have to visit his old home? It gives me the creeps!"
Rick : "Think of it as a school research project! Besides, the house is empty... what can happen?"
Rick : "Jennifer! What -- what is it?"
After a fight in the dark...
Rick: "What... what happened to me? What happened to Jennifer?
My head... something's wrong... Can't see straight! What's the matter...
My face! It's covered with... the terror mask!"
The terror mask... legend tells that the wearer is granted vast power... but can't remove it!
Rick: "If I take it off, I may never get Jennifer back!
Rest in pieces, you ugly slimeballs! Nothing can keep me from getting Jennifer back!"
Monster: "Oh... yeah?"
Jennifer: "I'm as good as dead... unless you can help Rick rescue me... in the all-new --
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
WANT TO PLAY A GREAT GAME, BOY?(What kind of egotist hangs around playing a game based on himself?)
It's your pal Beetlejuice, here to bamboozle those bewitchers from the Netherworld vacationing at lovely Lydia's place. This house is HAUNTED!
Flying cups and saucers and clothes that spring to life cause quite a panic...especially when they're coming for you! It's a horrific 5 level challenge to spook attic ghastlies, rattle angry skeletons and scare ghostly bats. Vampires may even join you for a "bite" to eat. Hmm...maybe we should skip lunch today.
These Netherworld ghoul-o-ramas are no match for us. Has the "ghost with the most" ever let you down?!!
Check out the "GHOST WITH THE MOST" for your NES too!
The movie's premise was straightforward; stage hauntings to frighten away humans. This game is a bit more muddled; save human from being haunted, with the help of the film's primary haunter. (Or in other words: now the haunter is haunted!)
That "ghost with the most" phrase is punchier if it's not used in two consecutive sentences. (I do appreciate the wordplay in the opening quip, analogous to the console being called out explicitly in the film's game's ad cited at the end here also.)
Compelling Beetlejuice-eese is hard to write; the opening alliteration grows wearying quckly (bamboozle bewitchers, lovely Lydia, house haunted) and is just as quickly abandoned. Classic lines like "It's showtime!" don't just write themselves! That must have been the fruit of five crumpled pages of first-draft patter. (
"The people have spooken!")
Sunday, October 28, 2012
EGG-LAYINGThis angle is pretty wrong-headed, though of course what works (arguably, in this controversial film's case) on-screen doesn't necessarily make for a great game. Let's break it down. "EGG-LAYING." No eggs laid in Alien3. "Red-hot Alien action!" Only in a literal sense, and can we get a spoiler warning please? "Scramble Alien eggs!" Have you even seen any of these movies? "ACID-SPITTING" But only in the sense that you're blood-spitting. "Flesh-ripping exoekeletons overhead!" Yeah, I don't know what they're talking about either. The powered loaders from the previous movie? "Deadly Aliens are everywhere!" Sounds scarier than "a single Alien is in one location"... admittedly that would be more of a "Hunt the Wumpus"-type game. Hmm, actually, that's an intriguing prospect! "Explosive firepower!" To quote from the movie's screenplay, "This is a maximum security prison and you're telling me that you have no weapons of any kind?" In conclusion, another case of "We licensed Alien3 to make the Aliens game we wanted to."
EXTERMINATE DEADLY FACE-HUGGERS! RED-HOT ALIEN ACTION!
CHEST BURSTING EXCITEMENT! SCRAMBLE ALIEN EGGS!
FLESH-RIPPING EXOSKELETONS OVERHEAD! ACID-SPITTING ALIEN INVASION!
GET ALIEN3 ON SNES!
DEADLY ALIENS ARE EVERYWHERE!
FEEL THE TERROR!
Saturday, October 27, 2012
CAN YOU TAKE THE TERROR? SHE'S BACK!The only Alien movie that really lent itself well to standard video game conversion was Aliens, and I suspect that licensors of Alien3 and Alien Resurrection really just used the license as an excuse to make the Aliens game they always wanted to -- motion tracker, face-huggers, air ducts... Alien3 does have an Alien Queen, but it's never hard to find. (You ask me, Konami's arcade Aliens game left no face unhugged. Maybe James Cameron should try making video games directly?) Alien3 was primarily a movie about weaponless humans being picked off, one by one, by a single biological killing machine. And yet ever since Space Invaders, killing aliens has been practically synonymous with video gaming! How do we reconcile these polar opposites? Well, the game is primarily concerned with rescuing Alien victims -- presumably prior to their faces being hugged.
FEEL THE SUSPENSE!
FEEL THE DANGER!
FEEL THE TERROR!
ON GENESIS AND GAME GEAR !
The Xenomorph are fast, spit acid and are right behind YOU! The motion tracker is your only warning. No time to think, no time to catch your breath... RUN!
Can't see very far ahead in these air ducts. Hard to breathe. Face-huggers can be anywhere. Must find a Queen Alien. The closer you get, the more Aliens you find... better not have them find you first!
Just keep telling yourself, "THIS ISN'T REALLY HAPPENING... IT'S ONLY A GAME.
The ad wants to stress the following qualities: TERROR, SUSPENSE (more associated with the first Alien film), DANGER, and TERROR, again! I believe that Xenomorph does pluralise with an S, and it's not entirely consistent with film canon to describe them as spitting acid. Mostly the ad copy tries to instill the sense of persecution an Alien's prey would feel, an interesting tack. And that's it for Alien 3! (Or is it?)
Friday, October 26, 2012
"Magical pick-ups and ancestral spells unleash chaotic fury!"Who do you think the quotes are from? No review source given to, uh, qualify them, so we must assume they're straight from the mouth of the game's producer. "Unmitigated genius!" -- my mom. Next... you just don't get to command me to be of PURE MIND and then talk about the DUNGEON'S BOWELS immediately after. I like the RPG slam of "just playing roles" when everyone knows platform games offer much deeper gameplay, right? Then the well must have been starting to run dry for the exhaustively redundant "WINGED DRAGON'S FIERY BREATH". Dragons are assumed to have wings, and their breath is assumed to be fiery... and it's common sense that both should be avoided. "THIS GAME CONTAINS A DRAGON" isn't as punchy, admittedly. (Then they go back and revisit this territory, naming "fire-breathing dragons" among the game's enemies. From the people who brought you "blood-sucking vampires", "flesh-petrifying gorgons" and "uncultured barbarians"!)
ONE MUST BE OF PURE MIND AND HEART TO VANQUISH THE WARLOCK'S EVIL MASTER!
DEFEAT THE UNDEAD AND YE SHALL BE ALLOWED TO PASS!
BEWARE DEMONS DEEP WITHIN THE DUNGEON'S BOWELS!
SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON MASTERING MANY SPELLS!
"Part strategy, part action! Warlock conjures an unbeatable spell!!!"
ENTER THE ARENA AND DO BATTLE AS A FIERCE MINOTAUR!
HAUNTING MELODIES STIR UNHOLY APPARITIONS!
"Bored of just playing roles... Warlock delivers horrific action!"
AVOID THE WINGED DRAGON'S FIERY BREATH!
BEWARE THE ULTIMATE EVIL!
BASED ON THE HIT MOVIE!
The once in a millennium confrontation is upon you! Using the powerful spells and potions entrusted to you by your Druid ancestors, battle gargoyles, the Undead, fire-breathing dragons... and if you survive, the all-powerful Warlock! Combining strategy, intuition, and sorcery, you must be the first to locate six ancient runestones - and save all creation from unraveling! Afraid? He already knows that.
The evil unfolds... (516) 624-9300
Please get permission from whoever pays the phone bill before calling the above number
GET TO KNOW YOUR ENEMY THROUGH GAME CLIPS, SOUND BYTES, SCREEN SHOTS AND MORE IN THE WARLOCK: EVIL ON-LINE PROMOTION!
Apparently the Warlock peered into his scrying pool and divined that this movie would be a hit... then this ad campaign fell through a portal into an alternate dimension, ours. If the confrontation is once in a millennium then we could be hit with a sequel at any time.
I must confess to being more than a little curious regarding what sounds could be heard on the other end of the apparently-pricey hotline. How does an expensive phone conversation convince someone to shell out further for a game? Hint lines are where most of the telephonic money was made at this time.
It's hard to imagine a time when the Web was considered less worthy a staging ground for an online (or OK, their stodgy "on-line") presence than CompuServe, but that's why history, especially tech history, is so interesting... it's so mercurial! (Also: "sound bytes"? I saw what you're trying to do there...)
Curiously, this game had another print ad that was virtually identical to it, but varied in a couple of unimportant regards.
JUDGE DREDD THE VIDEO GAME JUNE '95... since I suppose there's nothing quite like chasing a blockbuster failure with some hair of the dog. Also you can see that though all of the advertising copy reads identically, some of its margins have been shuffled slightly, leading to line-breaks in new places for reasons that are difficult to hypothesize. "OK, our last ad wasn't successful, but we all agree the text was gold. The thing keeping us from moving units must be a subtle layout problem that we can overcome with a minor tweak..."
Sometimes I come across as harder than I mean to in order to come up with commentary -- the meat of my own blog. I must confess that, had I owned a SNES, and were I the type to purchase new games solely based on advertising (rather than a shrewd and patient consumer who pores over reviews and waits for diminishing-demand price drops), these ads may have convinced me to pick up the cartridge.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
It's a bit offputting just how often the "Sexual Themes" warning label is slapped on apparently sexuality-unrelated games in the 2000s. And is that really the punchiest URL they could come up with? Were they stung by a cybersquatter?
DESTROY ALL HUMANS!
ONE GIANT STEP ON MANKIND
IN STORES NOWdestroyallhumansgame.com
I'm always wary of gameplay features emphasized by Exciting Capital Letters. And how many games can produce a satisfying juggling act of single-player story-driven adventure AND intense multiplayer action instead of delivering half-baked nods to both?
For centuries, the Darkwatch has protected the world from evil. Now, as Jericho Cross, you must join this secret society to save humanity...and yourself.Experience a Single Player, Story Driven Adventure or Intense Multiplayer Content.
Your Decisions Set You on a Path of Good or Evil
A Vast Arsenal of Powerful Weapons - Each with an Intense Secondary Melee Attack
Death Fears Those Who Wear The Badge.
16 Players via Xbox Live
I'm also wondering if we can get a little less symbolism in protagonist names. "Indiana Jones" is an excellent empty signifier. Jericho Cross, not so much. Duke Nukem is unsubtle, but that's pretty much his primary shtick. Why not just call this grim deputy Maneater Bitesalot?
Also: who demanded weapons with both ranged and melee attacks? Again -- specialize, guys! When everything has to do double-duty, they will only do each role half as well.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Decisions, decisions...I own this one, though I haven't yet had a chance to try it out. Though it swept my circle of friends like a wildfire, I have only seen a single episode of the series -- "Once More, With Feeling", which was presented as the series' high point but which required a few seasons' worth of context to make much sense. So I can't vouch for to what extent the games (this is the fourth of five licensed titles I could find, plus some sleazy fangames) retain the TV show's renowned dynamic interplay between its punchy cast of characters.
Which demon-killer will you be?
Buffy the vampire slayer
Battle as Buffy & 5 other favorite characters
Story based on a lost episode of the television series
Multi-player chaos - with support for up to 4 players on the same screen.
Bonus features: interviews, cast photos, outtakes, and more! ~ In collaboration with series creator Joss Whedon.
Offline multiplayer is a feature I'd like to see in more games -- a good round of Jump 'n Bump can be hard to beat. This is apparently the first Buffy game allowing players to control anyone but Buffy herself. As to the value of the game's script being a lost TV episode, I can't vouch for it -- beyond noting that a game and a TV episode are very different things with very different dramatic and narrative requirements. (Unless you're making a Metal Gear game, amIright?) I know that the game is set within the TV series' continuity, circa season 5, which might be what is meant by the claim.
Just what does "Chaos Bleeds" mean, anyhow? I gather that a "weakening walls between parallel realities" plot device is in effect here so as to permit drawing upon some distinctly defunct characters for gamely fanservice purposes -- perhaps it then alludes to a chaotic "bleeding through" of one reality to the next?
Monday, October 22, 2012
Looks like Drac'sUnusual production values for a Game Boy title! It's weird when a game's ad uses more colours than the game does. Also of note: terribly confusingly, this is not a port of Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest for the NES. One series, two Castlevania IIs. Konami, you so crazy!
back in town
Something immortal is lurking in the mountains above Transylvania. the Prince of Darkness has formed a monolith of unspeakable horror in the second ghastly adventure, Castlevania II -- Belmont's Revenge(tm). Four towering castles ridden with hideous creatures that would even make the mightiest of warriors cower in fear.
Nevertheless, Christopher Belmont must set out to face mobile brain matter, undead assassins, and the Iron Doll in the Stone Castle. Ghastly forces like Kumlo & Nimbler and flesh feeding jellyfish slither through the Cloud Castle. The Plant Castle is the horrific home of Angel Mummy, carnivorous Wolf Spiders and other slimy swamp mutants. And an unspeakable array of acid spewing snake heads and moat monsters lurk in the Crystal Castle. It's crucial that you find power up items to attain battle axes and holy water, your only hope against this underworld army.
So grab your Mystic Whip and say your good-byes. Darkness will soon be upon you.
Welcome to Transylvania
So, an enumeration of enemy types. Angel Mummy has some staggering theological ramifications, while carnivorous wolf spiders aren't all that extraordinary. Usually when you hear about underworld armies, it involves tommy guns. "Iron Doll in the Stone Castle" sounds like a core work of the men's movement, but might also make for a good band name. Well, a band name at least. Their first album could be called "A monolith of unspeakable horror". No deeper insights tonight! I don't know that it would be very reasonable to expect any. Sow's ears and all that. I always felt that even console Castlevania games of this generation had the stiff feel of handheld games, so this one may not have lost that much in its minimalist incarnation.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
It's too bad Ghostbusters 2, game and movie both, were so wretched.
The big question I have is: given that this game was released at least for the Apple 2, Atari 8-bit, and ZX Spectrum same year the movie came out, why does this ad only advertise the Commodore 64 version when Activision could move more units overall by mentioning the others? I like how other than the platform, the only substantive thing mentioned is the name of its superstar designer, the John Romero of his day. (Heck, if you're going to quit Atari because you want name recognition -- and the increased salaries it brings -- then you swing it!) To be honest, the only selling point anyone needs is that photo of the movie's protagonists, even if their likenesses weren't part of the licensing deal.GHOSTBUSTERS
THE COMPUTER GAME
BY DAVID CRANEGHOSTBUSTERS!
SAVE YOUR CITY WITH YOUR COMMODORE 64Available on disk.
Sometime tomorrow, following the publication of this post, this little blog is on track to receive its 2000th view! Thanks for the attention, whoever you are! I only have one known commenter and only promote updates to the blog on (the hollowed-out, let's be honest) Google+ ... but the second thousand came much sooner than the first thousand, so it just goes to show -- make a post every day for a week every few weeks and traffic builds. Who would have thought it? (I finger Google and the long tail, but that's just a hunch.) I'll pick a far more esoteric subject for my next blog project and we'll see if I can't keep it in actual, total obscurity...
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Here's a blast from the past. Last ... May it must have been, while delivering newspapers as a family favour I found myself struck by an overwhelming feeling of deja vu at the Metrotown branch of the Burnaby library. But why, I wondered, I've never been here before. But wait! The grounds outside the library indeed were the venue for a regular live-action game of Vampire: the Masquerade circa age 15, where pale youths in black trenchcoats skulked around moodily and resolved conflicts through rounds of rock-paper-scissors. I didn't last (I was always somewhat at odds from RPGing) and over half of my life has elapsed since I've last thought of that experience. The game setting was indeed a rich and evocative one, but I suspect I'll enjoy it more with planned plot points and scripted speeches rather than the improvised versions of my youth.
Bloodlines"One of the most anticipated RPGs this year" - Gamespot
Choose to swear allegiance to 1 of 7 different clans, then use an array of vampire powers to complete quests and gain experience.
Witness the destructive power of your weapons, including guns, swords and supernatural Vampire powers, in next-gen first-person and third-person gameplay.
Get sucked in to the streets of Los Angeles, where the options are endless and the dangers are boundless.
Interact with mortals and other Vampires in a world that reacts to clan, gender and dialogue in this deep, immersive RPG
But I digress. Will this ad sell the game to someone lacking the nostalgia? Does the shadow-anhk boost the flavour? How about the midriff babe and her side-boob? Was the tribal tramp stamp a tragical '90s cliche already by 2004?
No deeper insights tonight, sorry!
There's some wordplay in action here. Bigger kicks? Surely they can't mean that phantom-fighting endows yoga-like flexibility vs. training against more conventional opponents; they must therefore mean that you will enjoy yourself more fighting ghosts than other kinds of enemies (eg. mushroom-men, hopping-vampires, penanggalan). The big difference here is I suppose that the techniques employed against incorporeal phantasms aren't proton packs and power pills but good old chop-sockey. It's kind of like they're marketing the new genre mash-up, Revenant Boxing 4D. Spectre savate. Phantasm pugilism. Apparition tae kwan do. (Admittedly in many games ghosts are just unstoppable antagonists -- the worst has already been done to them, what are you doing to do, take their life away?) It does entail a different kind of gameplay from the typical "shoot the foozle with the blasto pistol" model; if you're using your fists, you've got to get right up in close quarters with them. I have to say I'd be a bit disappointed if my ghostly enemies lacked supernatural powers. The Retroist (what a good multi-purpose site name! I'm kind of stuck here when I run out of comic book ad scans) has already covered the obvious peanut gallery comments pretty thoroughly. Admittedly "Dialogue!" is a bit of a strange selling point, especially inasmuch as it's often to the detriment of action games, even when competently translated. This blog might be more interesting if I had time to actually play the games before writing about them, but who has time for that? (Me, 10 years ago.)
GET BIGGER KICKS FIGHTING PHANTOMS!Phantom Fighter is the martial arts game with a big difference. It's the new action game that lets you chop and kick against ghostly enemies with supernatural powers!
* Over 100 Ghosts! * Dialogue! * Password Memory!
Friday, October 19, 2012
PLAY IT IF YOU DAREMy recollection is that Sony Imagesoft didn't have much associated with it that had any play value, surprisingly given the dominant role Sony was poised to assume in the following two generations of home consoles. Maybe they were just salting the fields of their competition, while coming to an understanding that their CD-ROM add-on for the SNES was never going to happen.
Few have faced Dracula and survived. Now it's your turn! Based on Columbia Pictures' blockbuster thriller, Bram Stoker's Dracula goes straight for the jugular. Photo-realistic graphics, camera rotation, digitized scenes from the film and an awesome digital soundtrack on the CD version plunge you deep into cold, dark dungeons crawling with spiders and packs of bloodthirsty rats. On every platform you'll experience thrilling game play and battle your way through the treacherous mountains and forests of Transylvania to Castle Dracula. And just like in the movie, the evil Prince of Darkness will rise and attack as a bat, a wolf, even an old man. But whatever form Dracula takes...make no mistake, he must be stopped!
Available for all Nintendo and Sega platforms.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Play Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, BeetlejuiceThe opening gag is dumb but works on me. I like ad copy with a distinct voice -- in this case, of the film's antagonist and game's protagonist -- but when it starts making gameplay tips that suggests they exhausted the game's selling points in four sentences. I don't remember Killer Giant Beetles from the movie, while Legs Without Heads seems like a clear extension of Lord British's "Headless"es.
on your NES, NES, NES.
It's show time -- courtesy of Me -- the "Ghost with the most!" How'd you like to help me scare those city folks out of your house and their wits? We'll soar through 8 horrific levels (you're gonna love the Afterlife Waiting Room), taking on Killer Giant Beetles, Legs Without Heads, and other gruesome creatures. One wrong step... and you're food for the Sand Worm. Here's a tip: Buy scares from the Recently Deceased Information Booth, they're your best weapons.
So, join me in the Netherworld... and make my millennium!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Before Mortal Kombat, before Night Trap, we had Splatterhouse. It's hard to know what to say. Over-the-top blood & guts & gore is ultimately comical, as any fan of Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive" can report. You can't take the name seriously, and the ad copy appears to have been written by a very grim 9-year-old.
SPLATTERHOUSEPunch and kick the bloody guts before they suck the life out of you. That surgical get-up you're wearing is quite attractive.
He's got a chainsaw. You've got a 12-gauge shotgun. Who will cut who in half?
How tough is this maggot-eaten boss? You've got to give him a hand, he uses his head.
JUST KEEP TELLING YOURSELF:
IT'S ONLY A VIDEO GAME...
ONLY A VIDEO GAME...
It started as a college field trip to an old and somehow evil mansion. You just wanted to study the gruesome experiments of the world's most renowned, yet twisted parapsychologist.
Then, things started going wrong. Terribly wrong.
The last things you remember were a blood curdling scream and a dull thwack to the back of your skull.
You awaken to find someone or something has taken your girlfriend, and to save her you'll have to slaughter seven levels of the monstrous undead.
You're about to find out exactly why this horrible, ghoul-infested place is called Splatterhouse.
And why no one has ever dared to enter, and lived long enough to talk about it.
Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the TurboGrafx-16 system is $159.99
The scariest part might just be the small print at the bottom announcing the price of the console this game was hoped to be a "killer" app for, supplanting the previous year's G-rated Bonk's Adventure.
If a 2D fighting game is ever made featuring Namco's greatest champions (Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Mappy and the Katamari prince vs. the gangs from Tekken and SoulCalibur) brawling it out, a la Marvel vs. Capcom or Super Smash Bros., we can only hope that Rick and his Terror Mask log an appearance and grind their way through the competition. (C'mon, like you've never wondered what Pac-Man's skeleton would look like?)
Monday, October 15, 2012
TO BECOME KING OF THE ROAD YOU EITHER BUMP 'EM OR JUMP 'EM.Truly I haven't seen such a purity in gameplay naming since You Have To Burn The Rope.
In this home video game nice guys finish last. If they finish at all. For your Intellivision(r), and Atari(r) 2600.
I love the company logo, also. You know what it says to me? It says "In 1983 we thought that this typeface looked futuristic, even though it dates to 1968", another retrofuturistic indulgence that, like the cursed companies named in 2001, failed to look quite so futuristic 5 minutes after launch. The game's logo is a whole other slice of what the hey, also. If you just had the logo to speculate by, you might guess that it's a game about coordinating an orgy. (No wait, that's Mystique's similarly-named contemporary game "Beat 'em and eat 'em".) Then under the logo they elaborate... oh, it's a video game? Thanks so much for clarifying! I was hoping it was a driving school.
The illustration is practically a Roy Lichtenstein masterpiece. And what the heck, they were kind enough to throw in one screen shot anyhow.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
TamaTown is OPEN for business!Virtually every line item in this ad is engineered to repel me, and then it's all effortlessly neutralized by the simple phrase "from the creators of Parappa the Rapper!" If anyone can make doing laundry fun, it's Parappa. "Fold, fold, fold the shirts, and hang 'em up!"
Also look for Tamagotchi Connexion virtual pets now available!
From the creators of Parappa the Rapper!
Join your Tamagotchi friends as they open their first shop.
Keep your customers happy and watch your business grow!
- Partner with your favorite Tamagotchi character
- Choose your shop type and open for business!
- Clean teeth, do laundry, perform music and more for your customers!
- Swap items with your friends wirelessly!
- Unlock secret codes for your Tamagotchi Connexion virtual pet!
After my chilling experiences with Animal Crossing, I was pretty prepared to write off any game to which shopkeeping is central (barring Nethack or, hey, my own design, still to be implemented). Also included, as you've no doubt noticed -- the first page of the Archie comic from which it originated. In short: Jughead, now a more well-rounded Epicure concerned for all aspects of leisure, introduces his father to a video game, and Pop gets hooked. Wacky hijinks ensue.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
GRUESOME NEW FATALITIESIntense Violence and Sexual Themes are always an uneasy combination at best. I like how the Strong Language advisory trails them, as though it might change the mind of a parent who didn't have a problem with the previous two warning items. "Unique killing puzzles" sounds like Saw territory, but I doubt this game aspires to be so lofty.
UNIQUE KILLING PUZZLES
and other exciting features
"BLOODRAYNE 2 REDEFINES THE FRANCHISE,
MAKING IT ONE OF THE TOP NAMES IN GAMING."
- UGO.COM BLOODRAYNE2.COM
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Which castle? What Orb? The text-heavy style of ad has no excuse for raising more questions than it answers, since... it has copy to spare.
MAKE PLANS FOR A HEART ATTACK
Before you decide to descend into the deepest levels of the vortex, you should know that your strength, courage and intellect will be tested like never before. You've learned that the kingdom of Llylgamyn is being threatened by an unnatural, magical vortex forming deep within the caves below the castle. There, forces are holding the magical Gatekeeper, who is desperately needed for the health and prosperity of the kingdom. Without him, plagues and general chaos reign.
To find the vortex, you must face many dangers and evil enemies. If you question carefully and seek advice, you'll find the leader of the Brotherhood and learn vital secrets of the Orb. If you use careful planning and strategy, you'll make it through the hazards, and find the trapped, magical prisoner. But, even if you make it that far, you must still attack the Heart of the Maelstrom, where the nexus of the forces holding the Gatekeeper reside.
If things go according to plan, weeks of heart-stopping adventure await you in Wizardry V.
With the swing of a sword, the magicians' final life points are slashed away.
In a dark corner of the Maelstrom, you are ambushed by a hungry Netherman.
Your cleric takes a stab at the Acolyte, but his magical shield repels the attempt.
I like the screenshot captions. The second should be a random encounter in every RPG -- a "hungry Netherman" is a Netherman who is hungry, right? Not a man with hungry Nether regions? That bit about my cleric taking a stab rings instinctively false against everything Gary Gygax ever tried to teach me.
Frustratingly, the pommel in the logo's background sword kept distracting me into trying to document it as Wizardry VI, which is completely diff... well OK, same stuff, different pile.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
If You Lose, They Die!We have discussed the pitfalls of not including any screenshots in your game, but this illustrates the dangers of realistically depicting the game. I'm all for an affected retro aesthetic, but this lays it on a bit thick; the Matrix-y vector grid and that 1968 OCR font we only ever see on the bottoms of cheques anymore is just the prelude to perhaps the lowest-poly, least-detailed misshapen 3D characters ever to be used in a misguided attempt to sell a video game. Maybe the ad was the result of a bet as to whether the graphics designer could make a full-page full-colour comic book ad that would fit on a single floppy diskette (my copy of the file weighs in at 424K), but regardless of its inception and my own retro tendencies, nothing about this game piques my curiosity in the slightest. I see the vaunted "Robotron" brand and my only thought is "Ah yes, the first twin-stick shooter -- now that was a great game... I should go try and find it, as it'll assuredly be more fun than this."(Failing which, Jeff Minter's freeware Llamatron 2112 would most likely satisfy.)
As if to draw attention to and mock the allegedly human family in need of saving, the protagonist is the most super-deformed of them all; with saviors like these, who needs enemies? In nine out of ten games, wearing a sprite like that would put you on the receiving end of the player's blaster. The only thing denoting "sympathetic character" is a minute smile (the only mouth apparent between the five human(oid)s depicted.) Does he (it?) carry a firearm or is the blast emanating from its hand directly? How are the goggles held on? The little information we have (and face it, the blurb doesn't give us much to work with) just leads us to more questions.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Justifier isn't an in-game bonus, it was Konami's own make and model of light gun.
GO WEST, YOUNG MAN
AND BLOW AWAY ANYTHING THAT MOVES
In the Old West, gun fighters let their guns do the talkin'. Now you can pack one that just won't shut up. Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters. It's all the gun blazin' action of the smash hit arcade game, fired up for your SEGA Genesis and SEGA CD.
For true lead spewing fun, go out and lasso the Justifier.
Blast your way through five lightning fast levels. Aim for the heart to drop scum in their tracks. Draw your six-shooter and serve up some hot lead to ruthless bank robbers. Grab your Gatling gun and flush out a gang of grubby banditos.
And, if you're still standin', empty your shotgun into an evil shaman and his band of creepy, skeletal ghouls. Never mind the stench, son.
So reach for your guns and see if you got what it takes to make Deputy, Sheriff or U.S. Marshall. But watch yourself, pardner. 'Cause you'll need a sharp eye and a quick trigger finger to dodge all them flaming arrows, cannonballs, skulls, tomahawks and powder kegs those crusty varmints are a-throwin' your way. And mind the innocent townfolk and Holsteins. Shooting them will cost you. Let the bullets fly and the bodies fall in Konami's Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters. One false move and the buzzards won't be goin' hungry tonight.
Also available on Sega CD.
Hey gringo, don't bring shame upon your good family name. Only a dork would mess around with real guns. Remember, it's just a video game.
It's interesting (no, really, not just to me!) that the ability to lose the game by shooting noncombatants is being pitched as a selling point here, being a staple of the western shooter at least since Accolade's 1985 Law of the West. OK, so not much exposition today! Yes, shaky '90s typography. Yes, abysmal eXtreme depiction of racist ultra-violence (the cow and lady are obviously the wrong targets, the redskin savage obviously a correct one). Yes, charming pseudo-cowboy-ese that may as well be delivered by Sam Elliot. This one must have been more fun -- or at least less chunky, if not entirely /un/-chunky -- on the Sega CD.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The zany superhero send-up scenario (gritty, but with jokes!) is a bonus -- for every Superman there's a Superduperman, and in games other titles with similar tone might include the Defenders of Dynatron City or Superhero League of Hoboken.
Night falls like a black shroud over Metro City, and the ancient Egyptian villain Sutekh goes to work. And so do you. For you are the mysterious, unknown hero who lurks in the corners, melts into the shadows, and rules the darkness. You are Nightshade for the NES!This was a new direction for Beam Software, their biggest jump into adventure-gaming waters since their mega-hit text adventure of The Hobbit... it was pitched as the first game in a series but the series never manifested. Instead, it informed Beam's critically-successful (always an indicator that critics are the only demographic with which it achieved success) 1993 SNES adaptation of the Shadowrun RPG. Why is Nightshade's trenchcoat reflecting the cityscape?
Infiltrate one hundred of the city's most seedy recesses while chasing thieves, thugs and muggers you must squeeze for clues, or destroy. Question dangerous characters, and hunt for hidden objects like force gloves and energy domes. All essential for survival as you fend off the hired assassins hot on your tail.
Follow Sutekh's trail of treachery too closely and you'll be figuring out how to escape the jackal pit, the human printing press, the closing wall of spikes, and other traps. Use your powers of intellect and keep your eyes open and your mind alert. Or you'll no longer control the night, you'll be consumed by it.
Monday, October 1, 2012
While I won't go so far as to brand this somewhat limited game a success, it was definitely among the most successful efforts... so much so that I need inquire, where is this game's sequel? It was re-released for all of the current "next-gen" (?) consoles, but you can only squeeze so much blood from a potato. (Or how is it that expression goes?)
There are a number of things here I can't help but quip about. All the action and adventure of my favorite comics? I don't know if I have what it takes to play the Maus game, and as for American Splendor... (Lost Girls, on the other hand... Howard the Duck however did get a game of his own, but we'd probably rather he hadn't.) There's always been a kind of casual equation of comics to escapist superhero power fantasies and that's never really been representative even here in North American, where certainly Archie occupies as much landfill space as Superman does. But because a Doom Patrol game would be incomprehensible (albeit f'n AWESOME) I let it slide.
WATCH OUT, SKETCH!
WARP INTO THE COMIX ZONE
WITH ALL THE ACTION AND ADVENTURE OF YOUR FAVORITE COMICS!
RIP UP THE PAGE
WITH SUPERHERO POWER-UPS AND TONS OF INTENSE FIGHTING MOVES.
BATTLE PANEL BY PANEL
THROUGH FULL COMIC BOOK PAGES DRAWN BY REAL COMIC BOOK ARTISTS!
SHARPEN YOUR FIGHTING SKILLS
TO DEFEAT MUTANT ENEMIES DRAWN IN BY MORTUS, PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1
ENTER THE COMIX ZONE
AND PREPARE FOR THE FIRST TRULY INTERACTIVE COMIC BOOK EVER! TEAR INTO A POST-PUNK COMIC WORLD OF YOUR OWN CREATION, WHERE ONLY YOU CAN FIGHT YOUR WAY OUT. IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR HARDCORE ACTION AND REAL COMIC BOOK THRILLS, THIS IS WHERE YOU DRAW THE LINE!
CD BONUS CD SOUNDTRACK INCLUDED
Visit the Sega Worldwide Web Site for more cool Sega stuff at http://www.segaaa.com
The pages are drawn by real comic book artists? This game is released at a time when Rob Liefeld is breaking sales figures drawing comics in which people are drawn with fists as big as their heads, so I hope the artists were slightly more real than that.
What makes this game "the first truly interactive comic book ever"? I suppose they're hoping people had forgotten about those Accolade and InfoCom titles.M
What makes this game so "post-punk"? A: while the protagonist still owns a pet rat, his mohawk has been replaced by a ponytail. (Also: he has a profession, of sorts!) "This is where you draw the line" is funny, if somewhat nonsensical.
More signs of the times -- you know what else is post-punk? Bonus CDs! Now, what do compact discs have in common with comic books and video games? Uh... young people like them? May as well bundle the game with a coupon for a free Slurpee!
Finally, I dig "the Sega Worldwide Web Site": apparently we have one now, but our manual of style doesn't tell us how to capitalise or space it.