keskiviikko 26. joulukuuta 2012

COLLECTION 2012 Part IV: Nintendo

So, we've reached the final part of this year's update to the collection, and I'm still quite amazed at how many games I've actually bought this year. I predict next year will not be nearly as reckless, as this year's been all about building up some size of collection, especially for the Xbox 360. I can't come up with too many games of this generation I'm sorely missing. A couple of upcoming games are under pre-order at the moment, however. IF particularly big bucks are going to be invested in games in 2013, most of them will very likely be invested in games for the following, final platform. We'll see what fate lands in my grubby little hands.

13 years ago, I sold all of my NES games, FOR BEER (I was a 15-year old idiot), with the exception of the 3-in-1 cartridge that I just couldn't bear to part with, since it was my first game. Seven years ago, I let that one go as well, along with the long-broken system. My (now ex-)girlfriend got me a new, recently maintained and modded NES for a Christmas present, along with all of these games, and hell will freeze over before I'm dumb enough to part with the system again.

IronSword - Wizards & Warriors II | Zippo Games | 1988
Notes: Cartridge | NES-IR-USA
Comments: The second game in the Wizards & Warriors series I dug quite a lot as a kid - especially the third one - and the one that took the longest time to ship to Europe, three whole years, AND the frustrating, bouncy side-scroller which had a ridiculous pic of Fabio dressed as Conan the Barbarian on the cover, in case you're wondering. IronSword was one of many NES games with a cover that didn't relate to the game in any way - not quite as famous as the first Mega Man title, though. The game was very well received, and is considered the best game in the Wizards & Warriors series - it's quite OK, not as good as Wizards & Warriors III in my books, but OK, and has David Wise's soundtrack to compensate for a lot of frustrations.


Kings of the Beach | Konami | 1990
Notes: Cartridge | NES-VH-USA
Comments: A beach volleyball game originally created by EA for the Commodore 64 and DOS systems in 1988, with remote ties to their legendary Skate or Die franchise. Just like Skate or Die, Kings of the Beach was later ported to the NES by Konami, but it's not nearly of the same quality as the first Skate or Die game. It's an endearing, simple game, but I guess you'd have to be a serious beach v-ball fan to truly enjoy it.


Kirby's Adventure | HAL Laboratory | 1993
Notes: Cartridge | NES-KR-USA
Comments: I've reviewed only one Kirby game thus far and I have access to everything Kirby-related before the release of the GameCube, so what gives? He's one of the most beloved Nintendo characters ever, and surely his games are of great quality. Yeah, but he's pink. Pink and fluffy. My dislike for the character being stated, Kirby's Adventure is one hell of a platformer - innovative, fun and appealing. I can't avoid acknowledging the greatness of these games sooner or later, especially since now I've got my first legal copy of a Kirby game - ever.


Mission: Impossible | Konami | 1990
Notes: Cartridge | NES-U4-USA
Comments: An extremely frustrating top-down action game. Made by Konami exclusively for the NES, but you wouldn't know by playing and looking at it. It definitely isn't of standard Konami quality when it comes to gameplay. It's got a fancy opening sequence influenced by the legendary show it's based on (the 80's version, a.k.a. the superior one), an awesomely adapted theme song, and of course, the "This message will self-destruct in five seconds" schtick on its side.


Monster in My Pocket | Team Murata Keikaku | 1992
Notes: Cartridge | NES-1Y-NOE
Comments: A ridiculous monster game starring miniature versions of Frankenstein's monster and Dracula attempting to stop their former partner in all things frightful, the evil Warlock, from taking over the world. I hear this game is based on some toyline I've never heard of. It's thoroughly laughable, but not a bad game.


Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos | Tecmo | 1990
Notes: Cartridge | NES-NW-USA
Comments: The second game entitled "Ninja Gaiden II" I've added to my shelf within two weeks! Now, I could bitch about getting stuck with the worst (or should I say, least inspired) game in the original Ninja Gaiden trilogy, but I'm not that much of an ingrate, and secondly, being stamped the worst Ninja Gaiden game is not the worst judgement ever, it's such a quality franchise, or at least used to be in these times. What's best about this copy is that it's got "Ninja Gaiden II" written on the cover instead of "Shadow Warriors II"; some collectors may find my infatuation with the original title odd and ironic, 'cause the European version is actually very rare, and worth a fortune.


Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos | Software Creations | 1990
Notes: Cartridge | NES-LX-USA
Comments: Most definitely Software Creations' most popular game, and the game I find the most intriguing one out of this whole bundle. I never played Solstice as a kid - I played the SNES sequel Equinox for a while and kind of liked it, and I remember people saying that game had nothing on the original. I'm taking this for a thorough spin next year, along with the sequel, to uncover the truth behind the short-lived series.


Super Mario Bros. / Tetris / Nintendo World Cup | Nintendo | 1990
Notes: 3-in-1 Cartridge | NES-ZZ-NOE
Comments: It's back, and it's never leaving again! I was afraid I'd never see this cartridge again, or that I'd get the SMB bundle with Duck Hunt which my LED-TV would've rendered absolutely useless. This fabulous 3-in-1 cartridge includes Nintendo's all-time best-selling game, a fantastic adaptation of a classic puzzle game, and a recently released soccer game with River City Ransom characters that could've gone both ways, but ended up becoming one of the most entertaining sports games of all time. Nintendo World Cup also utilized the NES Four Score multitap, which also came in the original bundle (just remembered it), which might've been one of the reasons the somewhat unknown game was released in the 3-in-1. Either way, glad it was. It's a great game - all of these three are. Being the first video game I ever owned, this 3-in-1 deserves an additional piece of interesting trivia: although the game was called Nintendo World Cup, and published by Nintendo in the U.S. and Europe, Nintendo didn't have anything to do with the Japanese game. It was developed and published by Technos Japan, who had no exclusive deal with Nintendo - that is why Nintendo World Cup was also released on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) in Japan, under the mouthful title of Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball-bu: MD Soccer-hen. The Sega version was poorly received, while the NES version became legend.


Top Gun | Konami | 1987
Notes: Cartridge | NES-TG-EEC
Comments: This game is famous for a lot of things, but not for its great quality; it's probably the most panned first-hand Konami game ever, one of the most pointless movie licenses that was not touched by LJN in any remote way, but from the somewhat positive side of things in terms of innovation, it was (one of) the first fighter jet simulators for any console. It'll be a long while before I get familiar with this game enough to review it.


Total Recall | Interplay Productions | 1990
Notes: Cartridge | NES-L4-NOE
Comments: When it comes to every other game on the list, I don't understand the buyer's strategy, but in the case of Total Recall, I understand it completely: we went to see the 2012 remake of Total Recall on our first date (bad movie, awesome date). I also might've mentioned that I owned the NES game once, and it was one of the most terrible games I've ever played. Well, not quite one of the most, actually - but it is terrible indeed. It's still part of my original collection, and I've taken it upon myself to own all of it once more, so Total Recall is welcomed with open arms despite its awful quality.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit | Rare | 1989
Notes: Cartridge | NES-WL-USA
Comments: Yep, it's got the LJN logo on the cover, but it's not one of the most non-sensical or even the worst licensed games they laid their reverse Midas touch on. It's bad, sure, but none as bad as Friday the 13th or Beetlejuice. Actually, it's kind of innovative in its action-mixed-with-adventure kind of ways. And hey, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one excellent movie. A game that simply looks like it is cool to some extent.

COLLECTION 2012 Part III: Microsoft

XBOX (10)
What I once considered one of the most useless consoles of all time, due to the competition of its generation including what I consider the second-best console of all time, had its fair share of good games in stock. Not necessarily exclusives, but the best versions of games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the GTA III trilogy. I bought all of the following games from my best friend when he sold off his whole stock, for 2-4 euros each. I sold the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack forward, after finding that the custom radio - the Xbox version's greatest strength over the PS2 version - doesn't work on the Xbox 360.
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II | Black Isle Studios | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: The sequel to Black Isle's spin-off of BioWare's first, and one of their most popular games. Judging by what I've heard from Baldur's Gate fans, this is watered-down fluff that rides on a great name, and completely useless for a single player. These are sources that I find more than reliable, so I've never gotten around to trying the game.


Deus Ex: Invisible War | Ion Storm | 2003
Notes: DVD | PAL | ES00502E-ES
Comments: The only Deus Ex game I haven't even tried; once again I have my friends to provide me with some (un-)motivation. Some Deus Ex lovers say that Invisible War is "OK" (note, not FABULOUSLY AWESOME AND GREAT XXXXXX NOT TO MENTION BEST FOREVER like the two other games according to these guys), while some say it's just dung, once again a mediocre game merely riding on the wind of its mega-success of a predecessor. Don't know who to believe here, but until I try it myself, I'm with the assumption that it's all right in comparison to the two other games in the series... which would make it not too enjoyable in my books, as I'm still finding Deus Ex severely overrated.


The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition | Bethesda Softworks | 2003
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: Here's one game I definitely prefer on the PC. Even though it's ONLY (and I mean it) ten years old, it looks dated beyond measure and the control scheme is just as much of an incoherent mess every first-person console game released in the 90's was. I'm not really bashing the game, it's just that I'm not enough of an Elder Scrolls fan to find this enjoyable on the 'Box. Hell, I'm having a hard time finding it playable.


Fable | Lionhead Studios & Big Blue Box Studios | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL | V07-00028
Comments: Just starting this game up seems to be in a bit of a development hell - but I promise, the game will be played, completed and reviewed by the next RPG Time!. I've even avoided buying the sequels just 'cause I'm having doubts whether or not I'll enjoy the game, although every bit of information I have indicates I certainly will.


Jade Empire | BioWare | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL | U24-00038
Comments: This game, I actually regret I haven't started yet. BioWare's last game before Mass Effect's epic beginning has such an odd theme for me, that I haven't been able to bring myself across that threshold. When I finally do, I believe I'm in for a great game, odd or not.


Ninja Gaiden | Team Ninja & Polygon Magic | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL | N12-00007
Comments: This game is death incarnate, by far the most difficult game of the last three generations - which is pretty much the only thing about the original Ninja Gaiden it lives up to, but it's still almost as good. It's difficult way beyond pleasure due to lots of stuff such as rare save points (with NO checkpoints), but it never suffers from bad controls or any such flaws, it just demands a lot from the player. A LOT.


Sonic Mega Collection Plus | Sonic Team | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: Any Sega kid out there will treat this as an untouchable treasure. It includes every single Sonic the Hedgehog and related game released for the Sega Genesis and Game Gear, as well as a few other 16-bit Genesis novelties, such as Comix Zone and Flicky. All this, for a ridiculously low price that Sega's executives would've had multiple cardiac arrests over back in the mid-90's. Although I was never a huge fan, I do acknowledge this compilation as one of the most important Xbox (and PS2) games for a retro fanatic.


Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast | Raven Software & Vicarious Visions | 2002
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: Haven't tried this yet and I don't have any solid external opinions to heed, just facts, starting from one that it's partly an FPS - although I'm a bit more receptive towards FPS games I was just a while back, it's not really a sales point for me. This game will likely be reviewed as part of my future plans, I'm saving it all for that.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic | BioWare | 2003
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: The finest Star Wars game I ever played, and an exceptionally good RPG to begin with; I like to think that its success paved a part of the way to Mass Effect. Also, the one game I'd like to review again, due to my basically enjoyable trip on the PC, which was constantly disrupted by technical problems to the point of utter frustration, which reflected into the review in terms of length and depth. A re-review is still very much of a possibility.


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords | Obsidian Entertainment | 2004
Notes: DVD | PAL
Comments: The sequel, which BioWare had no involvement with. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews - others think it's a masterpiece and better than the first one in every term, while others say it's like Dragon Age II pitted against its predecessor, a good game, but a monstrous disappointment nonetheless. I'm yet to see the truth, 'cause I've decided not to go at this game before beating the Xbox version of the first one. I'm intrigued to find out, very much so.


XBOX 360 (42)
Here it is - looking at the numbers, the Xbox 360 has been the centerpiece of my collection in the platform category whole year. 42 games - 29 retails, 12 Arcade downloads, and one major retail that was pre-installed on the hard drive I pretty much had to equip my Xbox 360 with within a day of its arrival, due to its minimal storage space. I'm more than grown used to the Xbox 360 controller I once hated, to the point I actually prefer it over the PS3 controller, which however has a much more comfortable digital pad. Here's the huge mix of masterpieces and outright horseshit I've piled up during the last 12 something months.

Alan Wake | Remedy Entertainment | 2010
Additional downloadable content: The Signal, The Writer
Comments: Remedy's psychological action thriller might not have turned out exactly what I expected, but a good game nonetheless, and a novelty item I couldn't live without as a psycho-thriller or action game fan, and most of all, a citizen of Finland. First, I bought the standard retail version, but when my friend sold me all of his Xbox and Xbox 360 games, it was kinda automatically replaced with the fancy Limited Collector's Edition. I tried giving the standard edition as a present to my friend, but it turned out he had already bought the game (he couldn't stand the idea of me having an Xbox 360, so he bought one himself). Finally, I sold it in a big bundle of games I had multiple copies of, thanks to my brother also selling me his stock. I paid a measly €10 for the limited edition, which includes a book, bonus disc with miscellaneous goodies and a soundtrack CD, and comes in special casing shaped and textured like a book.


Alan Wake's American Nightmare | Remedy Entertainment | 2012
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: With American Nightmare, Remedy switched influences from David Lynch and Stephen King's works to 70's exploitation movies and silly undead action, and did fairly well. American Nightmare has its dull downsides and the current standard price for XBLA games, 800 Microsoft Points, would've been quite enough instead of 1200. Still, it's an entertaining game and a must-play for Alan Wake fans, not least due to the glorious comeback of Old Gods of Asgard.


Assassin's Creed | Ubisoft Montreal | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | 3000-25816 [XBOX 360 CLASSICS]
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: When the hype for Assassin's Creed III truly started heating up, I went out and finally bought the first three games after months upon months of hanging in the balance. I had no intention of buying Assassin's Creed III at the time, but I ended up pre-ordering it in the midst of the boom, and I'm glad I did. I always disliked the first game, but it was an OK purchase for the Xbox 360 - at least it has Achievements, whereas the PS3 version has virtually nothing to offer in comparison to its sequels. The three-game bundle cost me €54.70, and this game's piece in it was €14.90. Not too bad, but I paid the same amount of money for the much better sequel...


Assassin's Creed II | Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Annecy & Ubisoft Singapore | 2009
Notes: DVD | PAL | 3000-25527
Additional downloadable content: Battle of Forlì, Bonfire of the Vanities
Comments: On the bloodtrail left behind by the somewhat mediocre Assassin's Creed (literally), came one of my all-time favourite games, starring one of the most charismatic protagonists in history, and sporting a truly open world for one to get completely devoured by. Indeed, paid €14.90 for this game as well, and if that's not money well spent, I don't know what is.


Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood | Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Annecy & Ubisoft Quebec | 2010
Notes: DVD | PAL | 3000-38346 [SPECIAL EDITION / XBOX 360 CLASSICS]
Additional downloadable content: Animus Project Update 3.0, The Da Vinci Disappearance
Comments: A direct sequel to Assassin's Creed II, an upgrade in terms of gameplay - an upgrade which largely works, but in its entirety, the game didn't make quite the impact its predecessor did. Nevertheless, a great game with tons of truly interesting stuff to do on the immersive storyline's side. This was a brand new copy unlike the pre-owned predecessors, and cost me €24.90. Quite fair - besides, Xbox 360 Classics are not nearly as ugly as their PS3 counterparts, not anymore at least.


Assassin's Creed: Revelations | Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Quebec, Ubisoft Massive, Ubisoft Singapore & Ubisoft Bucharest | 2011
Notes: DVD | PAL | 3000-41151
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: A good game... but easily one of the biggest disappointments I've had in the last few years. It's dull, streamlined, and devoid of any true improvements. Also, it notably features one awful gameplay idea that will forever plague my mind and will probably forever prevent me from downloading the Lost Archives DLC, even though I'd kinda like to get it for the sake of completing the story, and my Assassin's Creed collection. Got this apart from the rest of the bundle - it was my original intent to not buy it at all - at €29.90, which was way too much for a pre-owned game of this caliber (even the DLC codes were already used up), but I wanted to replay the game before Assassin's Creed III came out, so I was in too much of a hurry to think straight.


Assassin's Creed III | Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Annecy & Ubisoft Singapore | 2012
Notes: 2 x DVD | PAL | 3000-48573 [JOIN OR DIE EDITION]
Additional downloadable content: The Hidden Secrets Pack
Comments: A game of mixed critical reception; as you might've read a month back, I liked the game and how it was a definite improvement over the lackluster Revelations, although I acknowledged a lot of flaws. I pre-ordered the game back in September, when I bought the first three games in a bundle. It wasn't my intent, but ultimately, I couldn't resist nailing myself a Join or Die Edition, which cost me €79.90 and came with some multiplayer DLC, a Join or Die medallion in a leather pouch, and George Washington's notebook, all this in a special slipcase. Not too bad for €10 memorabilia. I'm just wondering, where the hell the promised single-player mission was? I had to download The Hidden Secrets Pack to get my hands on an extra mission that was supposed to be included in the edition. There's a faint scent of bullshit.


Black Knight Sword | Grasshopper Manufacture & Digital Reality | 2012
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: This weird platformer's release was announced the day after I had beaten Grasshopper's previous game Shadows of the Damned, and despite reviews that generally spelled out "mediocre", I had a boost to get it, for only 800 Microsoft Points. I've briefly tried it out, and it's promising - simple and not great, but promising. And weird!


Castlevania: Lords of Shadow | MercurySteam Entertainment & Kojima Productions | 2010
Notes: 2 x DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: Reverie, Resurrection
Comments: First, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was attached to a project to resurrect Castlevania. Months of pissing my pants in excitement. Then, the game came out and it turned out a huge disappointment... BUT, after getting it for the Xbox 360 'cause it was cheap (€15 for a pre-owned copy at a video store), I realized my harsh criticism of the game mainly stemmed from the fact that I had just recently beaten God of War III, a masterpiece from which the game obviously draws much influence. I don't regret everything I said about the game, but some things including the conclusive rating (of 7.7). It's good, and I'm eager to see what the upcoming sequel brings to the table.


Contra | Konami & Digital Eclipse Software | 2006
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: It started as more or less of a 400 Point joke in the small hours of an all-nighter, but just a few minutes into the game, me and my friend agreed that after 25 years, Contra is still one of the best, most classic co-op games in history in all its chaotic simplicity. Even after beating it multiple times, we're still getting kicks out of it. But, it's certainly not a single-player game, never was.


Dead Rising | Capcom | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I've tried so hard to like this game. Customizable weapons, great humour, a zombie apocalypse with the most traditional setting ripped straight off Dawn of the Dead... why do I need to try, right? There's just something about Dead Rising that rubs me the wrong way. I'll keep trying. This came in my best friend's bundle and I think he asked a whole €2 for it.


Deus Ex: Human Revolution | Eidos Montreal & GRIP Entertainment | 2011
Notes: DVD | PAL | 900-48232 [NORDIC EDITION]
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: The much-hyped Deus Ex reboot and prequel, both in one, and the first game in the series I've really tried to get to the bottom of. I'm in the process of continuing my saved game from time to time - I've played several hours and still haven't gotten a hint of what's so great about the game or the series. Until I am at least able to acknowledge it, if not agree with it, OR beat the game, there will be no Deus Ex reviews. Paid a ball-breaking total of €18.90 for a pre-owned copy of this game's Nordic Edition - it's in mint shape and it was, what, nine months old back in May?


Fez | Polytron | 2012
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Into retro? Been browsing the Xbox LIVE Arcade for years and never found anything useful or worth your Microsoft Points? Go and buy Fez for 800, and get ready for thorough pleasure in the world of this unique puzzle platformer, which toys around with 8-bit graphics, and three dimensions in a world that only has two. Fez is a very tough game to explain, but once you've played it, I believe its greatness needs no explanations. Been aching to finish and review the game for quite some while. One of the best games on LIVE, and one of the Xbox 360's finest exclusives altogether.


Gears of War | Epic Games | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL | U19-00045
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: One of the most overrated games ever. Good? Yes, absolutely, but hollow in storyline and the level design is streamlined like it's just a bunch of multiplayer maps. However, the first sequel managed to please me enough to start collecting this series, which in its entirety is some of the most fruitful co-op action there is. In my/our opinion, the first one doesn't really excel as that either. This also came from my best friend at a steal of €2.


Gears of War 2 | Epic Games | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL | C3U-00018
Additional downloadable content: Flashback Map Pack
Comments: A better game with a better story, but moreover, good level design and A.I. that both make their marks towards an enjoyable and exciting game even for a single player. The game's somewhat of a pushover with some random challenging spots, and it ultimately hits a brick wall and ends without much notice, but it's a great Gears of War installment nonetheless, a notable improvement with seemingly minimal changes. Gears of War 3 will very likely be part of next year's update, I'm not sure about Judgment just yet. Bought this from GameStop at €9.90 back in April.


Halo 3 | Bungie Studios | 2007
Notes: DVD | PAL | 9UE-00033
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Apart from playing through a few missions with my best friend in co-op a year before he sold me the game (for €2), I haven't played Halo 3 at all. For an FPS, it's moderately entertaining and I will most certainly return to it at some point of time.


I Am Alive | Darkworks & Ubisoft Shanghai | 2012
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: The one downloadable game of the year I had real expectations for, and which I swooped off LIVE the very moment of release. Worst 1200 Microsoft Points I ever spent. What was supposed to be an epic struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic world, and a curious mix between Fallout and Uncharted, turned out a half-baked borefest with crappy controls, empty world and a whole bundle of nonsense features. A terrible game. I'll tell you all about it if I can ever bring myself to finish it.


Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning | 38 Studios & Big Huge Games | 2012
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Online Pass, The Legend of Dead Kel, Teeth of Naros
Comments: Less than perfect RPG's often suffer from a lacking storyline, lacking combat or not having enough things to do. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning suffers from none of these problems - in fact, it has way too much stuff to do. Even without all the DLC in tow, you can't take two steps in this game without being presented a sidequest. You'll very quickly lose sight of the plot, and with a hundred sidequests in your log at a time, it's impossible to keep track what's actually happening in them. I'm on a break from this game, 'cause it blew my mind... literally. I'm returning to it as soon as I have enough time on my hands, 'cause it's a very good game despite being too ambitious for its own good. Bought it from the GameStop Summer Sale at €29.80 - quite a bargain considering the amount of DLC that comes with the brand new copy's Online Pass, and the very brief time it had been out back then.


L.A. Noire - The Complete Edition | Team Bondi, Rockstar North & Rockstar San Diego | 2011
Notes: 4 x DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: After the likes of Assassin's Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Dead Space 2 and Gears of War, here's yet another game I played last year, didn't really get the fill I expected, and still went out and bought the game. Well, why not? Even if it's not the best game with "Rockstar Games Presents" scribbled on the cover, it's still a quality item, and this particular item contains all the previously released DLC, additional extras, and comes in a very fancy slipcase. On top of all, some of the DLC is really good, so good that the original's epic Black Dahlia case actually has some competition. Oh, I almost forgot: a brand new copy cost me €39.90. The game itself and everything that comes with it is definitely worth that much.


Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars | Traveller's Tales | 2011
Notes: Digital (HDD) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I'm not into Lego games enough to exclusively pay a dime for one - this game came pre-installed on my Xbox 360 Slim's 250 Gb hard drive. It's Star Wars, which automatically makes it cool and adds one more check to my Star Wars collection, but it's based on The Clone Wars animated series, which I never watched or found too interesting. The game's quite all right for its kind, judging by the very little time I've dedicated to it thus far.


Lost Odyssey | Mistwalker & feelplus | 2007
Notes: 4 x DVD | PAL | DD9-00052
Additional downloadable content: Triple Bonus Pack, Dungeon Pack: Seeker of the Deep!
Comments: When a game made by one of my all-time heroes in the business and his court composer catches my eye for €9.90 at GameStop, you can be sure it won't stay there for long. Hironobu Sakaguchi's Lost Odyssey is a throwback to classic J-RPG and vintage Final Fantasy gameplay we used to love, and still love. Strangely, its "outdated" gameplay scheme is exactly why critics hate it - and why I love it. Haven't played it myself, but casually watched it 'til the second disc. Looks great, but it's the kind of game that will take up a lot of my time, time which I want to dedicate to the game and nothing else at some point.


Lost Planet: Extreme Condition | Capcom | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Why did I buy this game? There could be lots of reasons. Like, I knew the name. It's a Capcom game, and it's got huge monsters in it. Capcom, huge monsters, sounds great. Sounds quite enough like Resident Evil. Oooooor, it could be that I knew the name of the game AND it cost me a total of €4.90 at GameStop. I'd buy almost any half decent looking game for that price. This is yet again one of those games I haven't played at all, yet. I don't know what to make of the reviews. I'll get to this one pretty soon.


Marvel vs. Capcom 2 | Backbone Emeryville | 2009
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: The arcade and Dreamcast classic never gets old. Only more difficult. I got this game in an unexpected, sudden and massive desire for a quality 2D fighting game. I was pretty sure the Mortal Kombat collection wouldn't have made the cut - since I had just recently been awestruck by the reboot's demo - so I turned to this all-star cavalcade. Spider-Man, Venom, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Ryu, Ken, Mega Man all in the same game - works for me. Until it starts hurting.


Mass Effect 2 | BioWare | 2010
Notes: 2 x DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: Cerberus Network, Kasumi: Stolen Memory, Overlord, Lair of the Shadow Broker, Arrival
Comments: One of my favourite games ever - also one of the only games from this generation I'll probably never get tired with, even after completing it from every angle (still have a game on the Insanity setting in progress, then I'll have all the Achievements, DLC included). I pretty much robbed BioWare when I bought the game; pre-owned copies were on post-holiday sale for €6.70, and as nearly always, my instinct for unused DLC codes was on the spot. I got the fully loaded Cerberus Network, worth 1200 Microsoft Points, for absolutely free. These days, a pre-owned copy of Mass Effect 2 sells at €4.90 at GameStop - a bargain if there ever was one. Get it.


Mass Effect 3 | BioWare | 2012
Additional downloadable content: Rebellion, Resurgence, Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cut, Earth, Leviathan, Omega
Comments: What was supposed to be, and what I largely consider to be, the epic conclusion to Commander Shepard's incredible tale, became a huge subject of nerd rage for half of the year of video games 2012. So huge, that BioWare "had no choice" but to elaborate on (not rewrite) the ending by ways of free DLC, which supposedly cost them a lot of money and assets. My opinion on the game is very clear: it's great, but not as good as Mass Effect 2, and calling it an RPG is just wrong - it's more of a shooter with fully customized character development. Pre-ordered the bombastic N7 Collector's Edition (€99.90) back in last December - it came full of goodies I've fully documented in the past, twice actually. I got the dogtag that was supposed to come with the game a while later, a t-shirt from a friend of mine who worked a department store's electronics division at the time, and I also bought a gigantic Mass Effect 3 poster in the summer for €10. Just looking around my apartment leaves no question how much love I have for this game, despite everything.


Metal Gear Solid HD Collection | Konami, Kojima Productions & Bluepoint Games | 2011
Notes: 2 x DVD | PAL | 703-6518
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: If there's anything Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater lacked, it's Achievements or Trophies. Well, not anymore, and that's not nearly all we got with this masterpiece of an HD bundle. There are also remastered editions of the very original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake on the disc, accessible via Snake Eater's main menu, as well as an HD port of the PSP exclusive Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which has been called the best Metal Gear Solid game by surprisingly many critics. A review of the whole package has been underway for months since I've not really indulged myself with Peace Walker yet, but make no mistake about it: if you're into Metal Gear and have missed out on just one of these games (most likely Peace Walker), you should get this collection. I got mine in a trade-in: I sold all of my brother's Xbox 360 stock for about €35 (games I already owned), and used the €10 promo card I got from pre-ordering Mass Effect 3, which left me with €3.60 to pay for a brand new copy of the game.


Mirror's Edge | DICE & Illuminate Labs | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: A frustrating, clumsy first-person game - I really don't understand what the fuss is all about with this one. It's just like in the case of Deus Ex - until I do at least acknowledge the reasons why people might be so enthusiastic about it, or alternatively beat it, I won't review it. A fancy art style doesn't cut it for me this time around. I've heard a retail of the game is a quite rare find - funny, I bought this one from GameStop at €4.90 and they've got plenty of 'em lying around.


Need for Speed: Most Wanted | EA Canada | 2005
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: My only Xbox 360 launch title, and one of the only games I spared from my brother's stock. As you know, I'm not too much into racing games or games with fast cars in general except for Grand Theft Auto, so I've pushed trying it for eternity. A friend of mine, a Need for Speed fanatic, says Most Wanted is one of the best NfS games there is, but he still prefers the 2012 "remake".


Need for Speed: Undercover | EA Black Box | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: You know you're old when you realize you haven't been able to keep up with Need for Speed since Need for Speed II - which was released in 1997. I had to turn to Wikipedia to find out Need for Speed: Undercover is the 12th game in the series, and the last of the "second generation" of Need for Speed... and for the record, they're currently in the "fourth generation", and the new Most Wanted game is the 19th Need for Speed game. Whew! Anyway, haven't played this one either - like Most Wanted, it found its way to me from my brother's stock. Once again I turned to my NfS expert of a friend, who considers Undercover the weakest game in the whole series, and a mediocre driving game in general.


NHL 07 | EA Canada | 2006
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I've planned buying a little more recent NHL game than 99 for years, now I've got one, and I don't plan on getting more. NHL 07 is NHL, like it's been since its first transition to 3D. Nothing more, nothing less, just the way I kinda like it. Always gonna stick with old-school shit like '94, though - '94 was honestly the best sports game to emerge in the 16-bit era. The second-to-last game to be moved aside from my brother's stock that I put up for sale.


Ninja Gaiden II | Team Ninja | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL | FZA-00014
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Ryu Hayabusa returns in a game that is uncharacteristically "easy" - meaning there are checkpoints and health regeneration at permanent save points - meaning that it would be more comfortable to play, IF gameplay physics and technical performance were up to the standard of 2008. A review of the game is coming soon, probably just as soon as I finish the game in progress. Bought the game as one half of my Christmas present to myself just a week and a half back, got it for €11.10. The next one was the second half.


Prince of Persia | Ubisoft Montreal | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL | 300-016664
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Looking at this game selling for €9.90 at GameStop brought me to a threshold where a whole lot of difficult gut-check questions were presented to me. The very original Prince of Persia whooped my ass on Amiga, and the SNES port of that same game did the exact same thing. This game got released in the wind of the second, very successful trilogy which I never played due to my fear of the franchise name. I guess this was also supposed to be the beginning of yet another trilogy of games, but so far, no sequel's been announced and the previous trilogy's been rehashed. Anyway, it was still a pretty successful game and I'm told it's very much like Assassin's Creed, which is only natural 'cause it's made by the same people. Still haven't dared to try it out, and a review will be pushed all the way back to a Prince of Persia marathon in any case - and here I'm feeling the fear creeping up on me again...


Shadows of the Damned | Grasshopper Manufacture | 2011
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Just recently reviewed, this Evil Dead meets Resident Evil meets Alan Wake survival COMEDY blew my mind with its humour, but not with its gameplay values, which were the same values hailed as the work of geniuses back in 2004. A lot of those lackluster values are compensated for not only with great humour, but awesome music and all-around style. I predict a future cult game that will sell for big bucks in a few years. I bought it for €18.90.


Star Ocean: The Last Hope | tri-Ace | 2009
Notes: 3 x DVD | PAL | 218-25451 [LIMITED COLLECTOR'S EDITION]
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I wasn't supposed to get this one, I was supposed to further elevate the value of my Sakaguchi/Uematsu/Mistwalker collection with Blue Dragon, which is a very rare find in these parts. I bought a copy from GameStop at €9.90, but the game didn't work, and almost ended up busting up my Xbox 360, so naturally, I returned it. Getting another copy wasn't possible, so I took the clerk's advice and paid ten more euros to nail myself a pre-owned Limited Collector's Edition of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, with all the collectables (soundtrack, character cards, miniguide) still intact, and the special casing in a particularly good shape. About the game... well, it's the same as the previous Star Ocean: Till the End of Time for me: an entertaining, not to mention gigantic RPG, but the plot and the characters are a little too over the top (read: too Japanese) and the combat system just blows.


Super Contra | Konami & Digital Eclipse Software | 2007
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Another 400 Point pick, based on the original arcade version of Super Contra, known on the NES as Super C. Whereas Contra was hard, Super Contra borders on impossible, and stops being fun pretty damn quick.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1989 Classic Arcade | Konami & Digital Eclipse Software | 2007
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: One mouthful of a title, ported from the arcade classic which was once converted to one of my favourite NES games, which was - strangely enough - named Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game. If this was anywhere near the NES game, I would've gladly paid more for it than just the 400 Points, but it turns out the arcade game was literally half of the game the NES port was, and in this LIVE version, you have infinite lives and you always respawn immediately, which makes the game an ultimate pushover! The only thing that being able to stay alive gains you, is Achievements.


Tekken 6 | Namco Bandai Games | 2009
Notes: DVD | PAL
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I had to buy this game to see how the franchise that once ruled my world has changed since Tekken 3 - even paid as much as €19.90 for it. It definitely hasn't changed for the better. The physics and presentation are somewhat out of date, and Namco Bandai's investing too much in an awful crap story that doubtfully interests those who were there when the series began. The game's all right, but Tekken's exceptionally high standing in the genre is long gone.


Track & Field | Konami & Digital Eclipse Software | 2007
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Like TMNT Arcade's NES port, Track & Field's NES port is one of my favourite games on the platform, but in turn, the arcade game's a terd, like this direct arcade emulation and its retarded Hammer Throw event would indicate. The world records are set to the impossible, and this time, I do mean the impossible, like a time of 0:02 in Hurdles. A shitty version of a classic game - glad it cost only 400 Points.


Trials HD | RedLynx | 2009
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: One of the most popular games on LIVE. I didn't really get what the fuss was about at first, but then it popped up on some blowout sale of 400 Points, I bought it and found myself hooked on its crazy antics in five minutes. A great, addictive game that I will surely dedicate more time to in the future.


Trine 2 | Frozenbyte | 2011
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: I was a big fan of the first Trine game, big enough to not wait around for this game to show up on the European PSN, and to download it from LIVE the first chance I got, even at the high price of 1200. Despite all the critical acclaim, I was a little disappointed 'cause even while it's bigger and more challenging than the first one, its true greatness is pretty much exclusive to the co-op mode.


Worms Revolution | Team17 Software | 2012
Notes: Digital (XBLA) | EU
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: My favourite non-point 'n' click PC franchise returns with a whole new engine introducing new types of worms, and enabling the direct use of the environment as a weapon. Haven't played this nearly as much as I would've liked to. 1200 Microsoft Points well spent, for a change.


WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2009 | Yuke's | 2008
Notes: DVD | PAL | 08737
Additional downloadable content: -
Comments: Used to own this on the PlayStation 3, but I traded it in for Brütal Legend at its launch, along with Guitar Hero: World Tour. My brother's stock included this game, as well as the 2007 iteration. The latter's Achievements were stupid and I already had the game on the PlayStation 2, so I sold it along the rest of the stock, but saved 2009 for the hell of it. Not one of the greatest installments in the series, but good focus on tag team dynamics.