Action Comics Annual #1: The Game?

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

I’ve read a great deal of Superman comics in my lifetime. One of my favourites is 1987’s Action Comics Annual #1. To me, it’s one of the most entertaining and enthralling comics I own. The comic, written by one of my favourite comic book writers, John Byrne, should be made into a Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game.

It’s a four-word pitch: Superman, Batman and vampires.

The comic is oddly titled “Skeeter,” but “Cry Vampire” is on the cover. It’s not really clear, but “Cry Vampire” sounds a lot better than “Skeeter.”

The story takes place in Fayerville, South Carolina; a town near swamp land. Batman finds himself in the town because he’s been working three days straight investigating a series of Gotham City murders that leads him to Fayerville. He calls Clark Kent at the Daily Planet for some assistance. When Superman arrives in Fayerville, he realises that vampires are to blame for several grisly deaths. Batman tries to help a young, blond haired girl named Skeeter (the annual’s title). He quickly realises she is the vampire that has been terrifying the town.

What makes the comic truly gripping is that Superman is helpless to the supernatural when he fights Skeeter. She injures him by raking her claws across the S on his chest. Superman is rarely vulnerable to anything on Earth. I won’t tell you the ending, but Batman comes through in the clutch.

The game could be a third-person perspective, action-adventure game which focuses on Batman and Superman’s combat abilities in the swamps and around the town. Superman could take hoards of vampires out with his heat vision. In Annual #1, the Man of Steel doesn’t fly very much and he’s mostly grounded throughout the story. Batman could use his punching ability and various gadgets to take down blood suckers. Two-person play could get interesting. They could also complete side missions away from the main story.

I’ve really enjoyed the “Batman: The Telltale Series” for PS4. Action Comics Annual #1 could be a perfect adaptation for that series of video games.

Spider-Man PS4: The Hype is Real

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

Recently, I received a text message from a friend asking, “Should I buy the new Spider-Man game? Is it worth it?”

First, I didn’t even know she was a gamer. And second, I hadn’t played the game yet. I saw the trailer; I thought it looked interesting, but nothing about a new Marvel Spider-Man game, published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, intrigued me. Then, I fortunately played the game at a store demo.

Insomniac Games Spider-Man could be one of the most entertaining video games I’ve ever played. Superhero games are my wheelhouse. I’m not a big Spider-Man fan, but this game and the new Marvel films, starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker, have stealthily made me one.

The web-shooting is so clean and quick. You have a wide selection of weapons, but web slinging, to travel around the city and to battle foes, is a necessity to effectively navigate through the game. Sticking your webbing to a trash can, or manhole cover, and slinging it around to hit your enemies is one of the best fighting options. I find it oddly satisfying every time I do it to goons who have no idea what’s coming.

Swinging around New York City with your webbing is one of the most thrilling things about the game. The graphics are so exceptional; every swing down a new block is like a scene from a Spider-Man movie. The combo of fighting villains, who are sometimes morphed into baddies by others, and swinging to all of the unique locations, makes for what I think is the game of the year. Sorry, Red Dead Redemption II. Insomniac Games has made the definitive Spider-Man game, and, perhaps, the defining superhero game of the decade.

Some of the things I didn’t like about the game was how a certain villain morphs other random strangers, who are dressed as popular Spider-Man villains, into real threats. It seemed a bit gimmicky and just weird. My first time playing, I had a very difficult time with a large man dressed as super-villain Rhino.

Some of the instant call-ins from characters like Aunt May and Mary Jane took me out of the game when I was in the middle of action. It was clever, but it wasn’t needed. Also, the music by John Paesano seemed subdued.

3.3 million copies of Spider-Man PS4 have been sold, and I’m sure it’ll be on a few Christmas lists this year.

image source: Marvel

 

Tempest 4000: The Tube Shooter Comes of Age

In the beginning there was Dave Theurer’s tube shooter, Tempest. Then came Jeff Minter’s Tempest 2000 on the Jaguar, a psychedelic take on Dave’s masterpiece. This was then followed by Tempest 3000 on the defunct Nuon and finally the contemporary take on Tempest for the PS Vita, the awesome TxK. And now we have the imminent release of this iconic tube shooter, Tempest 4000, again coded by Llamasoft’s Yak (Jeff Minter), which means the franchise is still in great hands!

Strap into your Claw peeps, cause the adrenaline-pumping Tempest 4000 will be available on your PlayStation®4 and Xbox One systems on July 17, 2018 for $29.99!

The original Tempest was one of the first videogames to use 3D vector graphics, securing itself as one of Atari’s hallmark titles and one of the most popular arcade games of all time. It has been featured prominently across pop culture, including Ernest Cline’s dystopian Ready Player One novel.

Developed by legendary game designer Jeff Minter, Tempest 4000 remains faithful to the fast-paced gameplay of the arcade original, while adding brand new features and visually stunning graphics.

As in the original game, players are in control of the Claw, a powerful spacecraft equipped to destroy deadly creatures and other obstructions with rapid-fire shots on vibrant geometric prisms. With three game modes to choose from and 100 levels to conquer, players must eliminate all enemies as quickly as possible to survive, aiming for the coveted spot at the top of the leaderboards.

Additional Key Features Include:

  • Arcade Style Shooter: Hordes of enemies will test players’ reflexes in this fast-paced arcade style shoot ’em up;
  • Visually Stunning Graphics: Revamping the look of the original arcade game, Tempest 4000 features vibrant graphics in sharp 4K resolution;
  • Multiple Game Modes: Three different game modes will push players’ skills to the limit, including Classic, Pure and Survival:
    • Classic: Equipped with three lives, players battle through enemies until all lives run out. Players can begin their next playthrough from the last completed stage with their previous high score.
    • Pure: The classic arcade mode, Pure gives players three lives to start from the beginning and progress as far as possible.
    • Survival: A brutal challenge, Survival gives players eight lives to survive as long as possible.
  • Level Up: With 100 unique geometric levels to progress through, players must equip themselves with various weapons and power-ups, earning upgrades through bonus rounds;
  • Global Leaderboards: Players can duke it out for the top spots on leaderboards for all three game modes in the quest to be recognized as number one;
  • Retro Techno Soundtrack: In true retro space shooter style, the game features a thumping soundtrack inspired by early 1990s techno;
  • Old School Gameplay: Nostalgia is here to stay with the traditional gameplay of the original Tempest with enhanced graphics on current generation consoles.

We can’t wait to EAT ELECTRIC DEATH!

image source: Tempest 4000

Getting Our Nostalgic Fix on the PS4 with Sega Mega Drive Classics

Let’s get this out of the way, if you are still enjoying the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection on previous systems, then stop reading this review (even though you will be missing out!). If on the other hand you are yearning to play some classic 16-bit Sega games on your PS4, then read on. Oh yeah, Sega Mega Drive Classics is also available on Xbox One, but we don’t have a XBone, so there you go.

Now, should we connect our Sega Mega Drive console and compare the games side by side? Actually, if you are lucky enough to have a working Mega Drive console connected to your TV with all the titles that are in this Classics pack, then you know what, you should stop reading too!

Ok, we are glad we got that off our chest! Wow, two paragraphs in and we still haven’t started telling you about the games and the other bells and whistles in this nostalgia inducing package.

Sega Mega Drive Classics on the PS4 is the largest collection of retro classic games in one pack. There are over 50 classic Sega 16-bit games, ok we counted them all, there are actually 53 games (and that’s not counting the games that have region specific variants) to satisfy almost every genre under the sun, from arcade action, adventure, pinball (sort of), shooters, beat ‘em ups, fighters, puzzlers, hack’n slashers, tactical RPGs to everyone’s favourite, platformers – and there are lots of platformers!

These old favourites aren’t just dumped from their cartridges and thrown in this package, no sirree, they have had a raft of very cool modern features injected into them including mirror mode, rewind (for when you slip up), controller customisation, online multiplayer and achievements, optional emulation enhancement filters like pixel scaling and save states to save your game at any time, meaning players – both old and new, should find revisiting these retro games an absolute Sonic 3D Blast (Ed: Oh dear, that was terrible!).

Upon loading Sega Mega Drive Classics we were totally impressed by the opening title sequence, which we will leave as a surprise, but we can tell ya this much, it’s pretty darn awesome – either that or we are too easy to please. Anyway, once you stop drooling from the title sequence (unless you hit X!) you are greeted by the new-look menu system, developed by d3t, from which you can access the 53 Sega Mega Drive games and other options. The menu resembles the bedroom of an early nineties Sega fan, which is a great throwback, with dynamic time-of-day conditions, retro SEGA paraphernalia, a shelf full of the aforementioned 53 Mega Drive games, and of course, a CRT TV with the sexy Mega Drive console underneath it.

When selecting a game to play, its corresponding cart is removed from its case and then inserted into the Mega Drive console – pure nostalgic nirvana. On top of the already mentioned modern conveniences and features jammed into this package, the most important thing we can tell you is that the emulation of the games is spot-on. The word ’emulation’ may trigger negative connotations, but we are here to tell ya that this is as close as you will get to playing Mega Drive games without forking out for the console on eBay and then fishing around for the game cartridges.

We touched on this earlier, but we’ll elaborate – each game has additional options, some more than others, like region specific versions (L3), modifications (Y) and extras (R1) like target milestones that earn you specific trophies.

As we aren’t much of adventure or RPG fans, we stuck to Sega’s arcade conversions, platformers, beat’me ups and puzzle games. After playing a lot of Sonic, Ristar, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Gunstar Heroes, Columns, the Wonder Boy and Shinobi games, we can say that we definitely felt like we were back in the early 90s – good times!

Before we go on, here is the full list of games included in this package:

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Soldier
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Bio-Hazard Battle
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Columns
  • Columns III: Revenge of Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Crack Down
  • Decap Attack
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Galaxy Force II
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Landstalker
  • Light Crusader
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
  • Ristar
  • Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  • Shining in the Darkness
  • Shining Force
  • Shining Force II
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Space Harrier II
  • Streets of Rage
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Streets of Rage 3
  • Super Thunder Blade
  • Sword of Vermilion
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
  • Vectorman
  • VectorMan 2
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World

The problem with a pack like this is that players will concentrate on all the games Sega left out of the mix. Granted, Sega probably could put the entire Mega Drive catalogue on one Blu-ray and flog it for $90.00, but then we would find something else to complain about – you just can’t please everyone. The games that are included are solid, bar a few questionable titles, however, just because we don’t like adventure and RPG titles, it doesn’t mean they should be excluded. Same goes the other way, if you loathe platformers, beat’em ups and puzzlers, it doesn’t mean these genres should be thrown out for more RPGs. Actually, if there was a driving game like Super Monaco GP or a motorcycle-racing-bashing one like Road Rash, then we could say that most, if not all, genres are well represented. Come to think of it, a few more shoot’em ups, like Truxton and Thunder Force would have rounded out this already pretty awesome package. Ah, we can speculate all we want, but we have to give it to Sega, they have tried to cater for the majority and we reckon they have done an admirable job.

After waffling on about this Sega Mega Drive Classics package on the PS4, the ultimate decision to buy or not buy is yours, but we’ll leave you with this little nugget – if you want to get your Sega 16-Bit gaming fix on your modern console, then you can’t go too wrong with Sega Mega Drive Classics.

Review System: PS4
Release Date:
May 29 2018
Format: Xbox One & PS4 (sorry Nintendo Switch owners)
Price: $49.95

image source: Mega Drive Classics

Disclosure: Sega Mega Drive Classics [PS4] download code was kindly provided by Five Star Games for this review.

 

Thimbleweed Park Physical Version Coming to PS4 and Switch

Calling all physical game collectors! On March 30 — the one-year anniversary of Thimbleweed Park’s digital download debut — you’ll be able to pick up physical PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions courtesy of our friends at Limited Run Games.

For both PS4 and Nintendo Switch, Limited Run Games will offer a USD$34.99 standard version and a USD$64.99 collector’s edition that comes with exclusive “feelies” — just like the good old days. These releases will be region-free. Quantities will be limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone, so start saving your nickels, dimes, and arcade tokens!

You can find more details on Limited Run Games’ website: http://www.limitedrungames.com

Just in case you don’t know what all this Thimblweed Park business is about, here is the 101, but first, how it all started…

Thimbleweed Park began its life on Kickstarter, created by the co-creator of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, Ron Gilbert. Thimbleweed Park is definitely a homage to the aforementioned games, which is a pretty good thing we reckon.

Anyway, on with the Thimbleweed Park 101:

October 15, 1987 – A dead body is rotting under the bridge, but the 81 (sorry, make that 80) inhabitants of the once proud town of Thimbleweed Park have bigger concerns. The town’s founder recently died under mysterious circumstances. The hotel appears to be haunted. A giant slice of pizza roams the streets. And something sinister is going on behind the locked gate of the burned-out pillow factory at the edge of town — something that could consume us all.

Five people with nothing in common have been drawn to this weird, rundown place. They don’t know it yet, but they’re deeply connected. And they’re being watched.

  • Who is Agent Ray really working for?
  • What does Junior Agent Reyes know about the pillow factory fire?
  • Will the ghost, Franklin, get to speak to his daughter again?
  • Will Ransome the *Beeping* Clown ever become a decent human being?
  • Will aspiring game developer Delores choose her family over her dreams?
  • And most importantly: how come no one cares about that dead body?

By the end of a long, strange night, these questions will be answered — and you’ll understand why in a town like Thimbleweed Park, a dead body is the least of your problems.

Developer / Publisher: Terrible Toybox (based in Seattle)
Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android

image source: Thimbleweed Park

 

Sega Mega Drive Classics coming to PlayStation 4 and XBox One

HOLD ME CLOSER SHADOW DANCER! SEGA MEGA DRIVE CLASSICS COMING TO PLAYSTATION 4 AND XBOX ONE

SEGA® Europe Ltd. has an Altered Beast™ of an announcement certain to create an Alien Storm™ amongst the Shining Force™ of retro SEGA fans out there, as SEGA® Mega Drive Classics™ is set to release for PlayStation® 4 and Xbox® One on 29th May, 2018.

The collection has over 50 retro classics to experience across every genre; arcade action, shooters, beat ‘em ups, puzzlers, old favourites and hidden gems, with a raft of modern features. These include online multiplayer, achievements, mirror modes, rewind and save states meaning players old and new should find revisiting these great games an absolute Sonic 3D Blast. Visit the Sega Mega Drive Classics product page for more details.


source: SEGA Europe

SEGA Mega Drive Classics is available to pre-order now. It comes complete with a double sided Golden Axe™ and Streets of Rage™ poster, identical to the ones you would have seen in the game’s 90s inspired retro gamer’s bedroom, the hub through which players can access the entire collection!

To Gain Ground™ on all the latest information about SEGA and the SEGA Mega Drive Classics visit www.sega.co.uk.

Go now, be the Light Crusader™ you always dreamed you could be…

PS: Oh how we wish Sega Mega Drive Classics would somehow materialise on the Switch 😉

image source: SEGA Europe

[PRESS RELEASE supplied by Five Star Games]

JB Hi-Fi Staff Have Done It Again!

We love our video game reviews and descriptions to be short, sharp and most importantly, witty!

Luckily for us JB Hi-Fi staff have a knack to nail their game reviews and descriptions. Who needs to read pages full of text when you can just rock up at a JB Hi-Fi and get informed on the spot.

Here are (quite) a few JB staff write-ups that caught our eye today: