Thursday, 24 April 2014

Currently Playing...

F1 2012 by Code Masters (2012) - PlayStation 3

Now that the new Formula 1 season is upon us and already looking (though not sounding) more interesting than the last few seasons combined, I figured it was time to refresh my own racing skills. The last F1 game I played extensively was F1 World Grand Prix 2 for the N64 which is very good, but that was quite a while ago now so this was a good opportunity to see how the genre has progressed. Code Masters seemingly holds the official F1 license these days which of course means yearly 'updates'. However, owing to people's idiotic need to always have the most up-to-date release, I picked up this slightly older version for a very reasonable sum. As far as its play modes are concerned, little has changed. There are the standard Quick Race and Career modes, both of which are splendid, with the latter obviously being significantly more involving, but there are also two other modes called Young Driver Test and Season. The former is basically a tutorial mode but the latter is where I've spent most of my time so far. This consists of a shortened season of ten races during which you can pick a 'rival' who you then need to try and beat over a best-of-three mini-series.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Hack 'n' Slash Games #1

Golden Axe (1989)
By: Sega Genre: Fighting Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 205 (one credit)
Also Available For: MegaDrive, Master System, PC Engine CD, WonderSwan Color, Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Wii Virtual Console, iOS

Video games may have started off in the world of science fiction but it wasn't long before they entered the realms of fantasy as well. One of the many type of resulting sub-genres quickly became known as the hack 'n' slash game and still one of the most successful and enduring examples must surely be Sega's mighty Golden Axe. It tells the story of an enchanted, magical land called Yuria in which warriors, amazons, knights, dragons, sprites, dwarves, and ordinary townsfolk all live together peacefully... until a demonic oaf called Death Adder steals the Golden Axe, the magical emblem of Yuria, kidnaps the King and his daughter, and starts killing people until they accept him as their new ruler. The cowering peasants of Yuria don't have to live in fear for long though - three brave souls step forward and pledge to send him back to the darkness from whence he came.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ultimate: The Collected Works - Part 4

Cookie (1983)
By: Ultimate Play the Game  Genre: Action  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum  First Day Score: 4,630
Also Available For: Nothing

Ultimate might be legends in the Speccy world but they weren't perfect. Their last effort - Tranz Am - for example, was rather poor compared to the first two games, but with Cookie they've made a swift return to the simpler, single-screen action/shooty formula that worked so well before. As with those it has a unique and slightly strange concept - this time you're cast as Charlie the Chef who is trying to make cookies. However, his apparently sentient ingredients keep escaping from the pantry and running amok! Once they're out, Charlie must stun them with flour bombs and direct them into his mixing bowl at the bottom of the screen which is marked with a number indicating the required number of ingredients before the level is completed. It's not quite that simple though!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Top Five Capital Cities I Want To Visit

I've been pretty lucky over the last few years to have had the opportunity to visit a number of interesting countries, and in most cases their capital cities too, and as some of you may remember I posted a list of my favourite such examples (so far) a few months ago. Since then I've also visited Bangkok which was... very crowded, but also home to many impressive temples and other stuff of cultural interest. There are, however, still many places I'd like to visit one day. I doubt I'll manage to fit them all in (especially since the wife isn't interested in three of them) but these are the ones I'd most like to see. Maybe one day...

5. Nuuk

Which is, for anyone who doesn't know, the capital of... Greenland! Yes that's right, though apparently unknown to many, not only does Greenland have people living on it but it even has a capital city. It's located on the south-west part of the enormous (and curiously un-green) island and is home to over 16,000 people who all speak Danish (Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark). As you can probably see though, most of them live in colourful wooden houses dotted around the rocky landscape rather than the giant concrete blocks and glass/steel towers that are usually found in capital cities. I think it would be quite interesting to live and work here for a while but for holiday purposes I think one week would probably be sufficient. Shame it costs so damn much to go there - as far as I can tell there's one flight a month and the cheapest price I found was a few coins shy of £1,000!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Run 'n' Gun Games #7

Mercenary Kings (2013)
By: Tribute Games Genre: Run 'n' Gun Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: PC
Also Available For: PlayStation 4

It was over three years ago now that I first heard about Canadian indie developer, Tribute Games, which was founded by a trio of ex-Ubisoft developers. The game that caught my eye was actually their debut release - Wizorb - a slightly RPG-ish take on the bat 'n' ball genre. As unlikely a combination as that might sound, the result was undoubtedly the finest such game I've played to date, surpassing even the great Arkanoid for sheer awesomeness. As you might therefore imagine, I've been awaiting their next game with a great deal of interest, and now... it's here! Yes that's right, after these long years of waiting and hoping, Tribute's second game has finally arrived and, rather than being a Wizorb sequel or spin-off, it's an entirely new game too!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cover Art Face Off #1

Wetrix by Zed Two / Ocean (1998) - Nintendo 64

Hello and welcome to another new feature here at Red Parsley! Well, kind of. As some of you may know I've taken a look at the contrasting quality of video game cover art here before, just for the Master System and PC Engine so far (at time of writing), but some games warrant some attention all on their own. One such title that's always stuck in my mind is Wetrix, the addictive isometric puzzler by John and Ste Pickford, known then as Zed Two. It was released initially just for the Nintendo 64 and received unique cover art in each of the three main territories, so it's this version I've taken a look at.

If you're not familiar with the game, there's a full review here, but in brief: it takes place on a single static screen featuring a square piece of land. Falling down onto this are various shaped pieces of land with which you need to build up walls on your cramped plot. This is because the falling items soon start including gloops of water which your land has to contain - if too much water leaks over the edge of the land, it's game over. It's an interesting idea and makes for a tricky game, and it also resulted in some memorable covers too...

North America
Most of my pageviews here come from the US so this will be the cover most of you are familiar with, and it's... pretty good I suppose, at least in terms of its accuracy. In fact, if you've ever played the game you might have noticed that this cover could almost be a screenshot from it. It's not, however, a particularly interesting or eye-catching piece of artwork, especially compared to the other two examples...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bomberman Series - Part 11

Bomberman '93 (1992)
By: Hudson Soft  Genre: Maze  Players: 1-5  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16  First Day Score: 76,500
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

It may have only been a couple of years but after numerous sequels and spin-offs the Bomberman series has finally returned to the place many gamers feel it belongs. That's right, the mighty PC Engine! This triumphant return brings with it the renewal of the epic battle between White Bomberman and the despicable Black Bomberman who this time, as relayed in the amusing intro sequence, has now attacked a city and stolen the seven circuit boards that power it, scattering them across several nearby planets. That fiend! Thanks to this heinous plot, Bomberman unsurprisingly has to battle across the seven unique worlds - Planet Quarry, Blossom Planet, Planet Inferno, Planet Wither, Planet Surf, Icicle Planet, and Planet Techo. Each hosts eight stages - seven normal ones followed by a boss stage, and to begin with they're mostly a single screen in size but quickly get bigger, scrolling either horizontally or vertically up to about three screen lengths (or widths).