Saturday, July 27, 2013

#59: Super Soccer

Soccer sure is super!
Super Soccer is pretty much exactly what it claims to be. It's a soccer game for the Super Nintendo. It has 16 teams, a tournament mode, and 8 different formations. It has teams with stereotypically correct names. Maybe even the actual names from international soccer around that time? I don't know.

You can do it, Franz!
What the game doesn't seem to have is penalties of any kind. It also has both slide tackles and shoulder checks, so it's very hard to actually go anywhere with the ball. The big problem for me is the buttons changed functionality based on the location of the ball. So I'd hit the shoulder check button, but the ball would be in the air so instead I would anemically kick at the ball. The computer never suffered from this problem since it knew when the buttons would do the right things. As such I couldn't ever make progress against the computer except by slowing headering the ball down the field (when the ball is always in the air the computer could never throw a shoulder check) and the computer could easily make progress against me.

PS: Buy SimCity!
The game ended 19-0. Most of the game was spent the same way... I'd kick the ball to my teammate in the circle, he would immediately get hit and lose the ball. The computer would pass it to a teammate who would shoot on net and probably score. I ended up getting one shot on net the entire game. The computer stopped it.

This is yet another game where I feel like the controls are bad enough that the AI has a stupid advantage over a human. Maybe this would be a good game to play with another human, but as a single player game it stinks.

Rating: D-

Saturday, July 20, 2013

#58: Romance of the Three Kingdoms II

I have a confession to make. I love the Final Fantasy games, and Square is now probably my favourite game company, but back in the day my favourite was Koei. I loved their historical simulation series. Uncharted Waters, Pacific Theatre of Operations, Aerobiz, Romance of the Three Kingdoms III... All awesome, awesome games. It helped that they were mostly games that could be played multiplayer so it was easier to rent them to play with my brother. RPG games aren't very good for sharing, but these neat simulation games were.
Yes, Nick Page is totally a Chinese name.
I hadn't played this particular game before, as it wasn't available for rent in any of the nearby stores. I played the sequel a lot, though. The game is a pretty interesting civ building game. You have a city and a couple generals. Each month each of your generals can take one action. It can be spending money to improve infrastructure. It can be making your army better. It can be trying to recruit more generals. There's espionage, and plotting, and all sorts of dastardly things you can do. Combat is played out on a tactical hex grid, and there's lots of stuff you can do there too. Personal combat between generals. Armies can attack in a variety of ways. You can try to bribe enemy generals. You can start fires. There's terrain that matters. If the fight doesn't end after a set number of turns the fight gets paused and you take another round of city turns, and then the fight resumes again. You need to eat food to keep this up, so you can try to win a fight by starving the enemy out.
RIP Kong Rong
Like all good simulation civ games you need to know what's going on before you can play it well. This game suffers a little in that I could spend a lot of time learning how to be good at RotTK2, or I could just go play more Civ V, and that's a game I know and enjoy. So I didn't put much time into this one. I threw my second general into a fight that it turns out I couldn't win. Oh well! I remember enough to know that I desperately needed to recruit more generals so that I could attack with more than 100 troops.

That said, while I don't really want to play this game more now, I totally would have wanted to play it as a kid. I would have needed to find it before RotTK3, because that game was better, but if I had I think I would have really liked this one.

Rating: B+

Saturday, July 13, 2013

#57: The Rocketeer

I know The Rocketeer was a movie that came out when I was a kid, but I've never seen it. I thought I must have played the game, but I didn't recognize it at all. Maybe I played the NES one? I don't know. I feel like I would have remembered playing this game before, because the first level is so terrible I couldn't keep playing to see the next one.
I'm a guy who wants to use a jetpack. But the guy with the jetpack won't let me use it until I can win two airplane races. Which involve flying around an oval track that has no depth, so it's a lot like a straight line. I can fly into the endpoints of the line if I'm not careful, but since I have no concept of depth I don't know how close I'm going to get to the marker. I did the 10 lap race probably 8 times, finally winning on the 8th time. But then it made me keep going. The intro said I had to win two races, I guess it meant the same race twice. Unlucky for me.
The music in the game sounded like it could have been good. I'm assuming it came from the movie and I'm sure it was good there. But whoever they put in charge of adapting it to the SNES did a terrible, terrible job. I liked the comic style cutscenes, but the actual game graphics were bad. The worst part? The game just wasn't fun. And a game that isn't fun is a game you should turn off. So I did.

Rating: F

Saturday, July 6, 2013

#56: Jack Nicklaus Golf

Go Golden Bear!
My middle name may be Nicholas, and that may be the reason why Jack Nicklaus was my favourite golfer as a kid. It sounds a little weird to admit that I watched enough golf to have a favourite golfer as a kid, but there you go. And I used to find golf games rather relaxing too, so I had high hopes for this game...
Sweet graphics!
Those hopes were soon dashed to tiny little bits. I don't know if it was the ROM I'm using, or the emulator, or what but the entire time I was playing the game there was a loud grating sound playing in the background. Or the foreground. It was everywhere, really, and it gave me a headache. I only played one hole, and even that was painful.

I went to find info on if it was the game itself that was so horribly flawed or not and found this video on YouTube of some guys reviewing the actual cartridge. On the plus side it turns out the actual game didn't have the annoying sound. On the minus side it turned out that when you play the game 2 players both controllers work to control both players. I couldn't stop laughing as the two guys tried to complete the first hole but couldn't because they'd keep switching clubs on each other. The end of the video is pure SNES golf gold. So while the game itself is abysmally bad today wasn't a complete waste. I got more enjoyment out of that video than out of some of the other games in this series, so that's something!

Even without the noise, the game had really terrible loading lag. Which seems to be par for the course in an SNES golf game, but that's not good enough for me now.

Rating: F-