Category Archives: Reviews

ActRaiser

Reviews
Hardware: Super Famicom/SNES
12/16/1990 (Japan), 11/1991 (US), 1992 (PAL)
アクトレイザー
The launch period of the Super NES is a very nostalgic-filled time for a lot of people my age, and big part of that is the deluge of new and innovative titles that developers were producing at that time (not to mention the improved graphics and sound that came along with the movement into a new generation). ActRaiser is always held up as a shining example of this innovation, and it absolutely deserves to be. From the moment you the logo flies gradually toward the screen using glorious Mode 7, and the music that sounds as orchestral as can be on a piece of 16-bit hardware kicks in, you see just how wonderfully ActRaiser merges 16-bit technology with fantastic game design and presentation. We have the developer Quintet to thank for this, and surprisingly this is their debut work. ActRaiser was originally slated to be a more standard RPG, but was scrapped and rethought fairly late into development due to it not being impressive enough of a game for a brand new and more powerful console. Quintet would also go on to bring us many games with some thematic simlarities to ActRaiser, such as Soul Blader/Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma/Tenchi Souzou, and even a sequel to ActRaiser. Continue Reading

Monster Hunter G

Reviews
Monster Hunter G Title Screen
Hardware: Playstation 2
01/20/2005 (Japan)
モンスターハンターG
Less than one year after the release of the original Monster Hunter, Capcom released the expansion: Monster Hunter G. From the moment Pugi (the adorable little pig that wanders around your house/the village from every game here on out) comes walking across the title screen snorting, the game shows us that we're in for something more than your average expansion. In fact Monster Hunter G does everything that a good expansion should and more: It improves on some of the original game's flaws, introduces conveniences that make it easier to play, and adds a lot of new content. It creates a template that all of the "G" expansions would follow from here on out. Continue Reading

Monster Hunter

Reviews
Monster Hunter Title Screen Image
Hardware: Playstation 2
03/11/2004 (Japan), 09/21/2004 (US), 05/27/2005 (PAL)
モンスターハンター
There was a time (namely before the HD era of gaming) that big game companies like Capcom were not afraid to take a chance on new franchises. Taking heavy inspiration Sega's Phantasy Star Online series as a base for its game play, it was in 2004 that the modern day Japanese gaming powerhouse began: the first entry in the Monster Hunter series was released. Though Capcom invented a brand new genre for this game called "Hunting Action", it was similar to its predecessor in many ways, with just enough different twists to feel like a brand new experience. The basic flow of the game involves accepting specific quests from within a hub world, then setting out into separate areas to complete objectives for that quest. The difference is that in Monster Hunter you're dropped into a prehistoric National Geographic Explorer where your opponents are dinosaurs, dragons, and other creatures that come right out of their natural environments. Though weapons and armor are constantly being upgraded throughout the game, in Monster Hunter there is an added sense of realism: It's done using parts carved right from the carcasses of the monsters themselves. Continue Reading

Akumajou Dracula

Reviews
Akumajo Dracula Title Screen
Hardware: Famicom Disk System/NES
Released: 09/26/1986 (Japan, Famicom Disk System), 05/1987 (US), 12/19/1988 (PAL), 02/05/1993 (Japan, Famicom)
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil's Castle Dracula
Castlevania
Castlevania
When you think about the first entry in the Castlevania/Dracula series, you probably think about two things: The incredible atmosphere  and the high level of difficulty. Neither of these things change when you go from any of the western versions to the Japanese one, though some qualities of the Japanese version alter the difficulty slightly. A common point of frustration in the Western versions of the game is that you can't save your game at all, unless you're playing on one of those fancy emulators. But how would it change Castlevania's difficulty if you could save your progress each time you got a game over? Continue Reading

Hokuto no Ken

Reviews
Hokuto-no-Ken - Title Screen
Hardware: Mark III/Master System
07/20/1986 (Japan), 1986 (US and PAL)
北斗の拳
Fist of the North Star
Black Belt
Black Belt
It was the right time for the Hokuto no Ken franchise to be made into a video game: The manga and anime series had been popular for 2-3 years already. You could that Hokuto no Ken was made to be a video game since it involves copious amounts of violence. For those unfamiliar with the story, Our hero Kenshiro travels throughout the a post apocalyptic world overrun by gangs to find his kidnapped fiancee Yuria, utilizing his Hokuto Shinken to pummel enemies with fists and feet. This usually results in them gruesomely exploding from the pressure point manipulation that Hokuto Shinken is based around. If this wasn't begging to be made into a side-scrolling beat-em-up, what was? Continue Reading
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