Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A list of games that I surprisingly enjoyed. Part 1

You ever seen a game that you thought looked terrible, and ended up playing it somehow, and surprisingly enjoyed it? Well, then, this list is for you. Starting with....

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - Playstation 1 - Published by EA Games - Developed by Argonaut Games - 2001

Ah, Harry Potter, a book about a kid who attends a magical school all year long, going to classes all day, the book also focuses on the relationships between characters. What could possibly go wrong translating the book to a game? Well a lot could have gone wrong, and in many people's eyes, probably did...

Many, if not all the high points of the books were lost in the translation to a game, the characters have less life and personality then most video game characters, the story was simplified so much, it no longer made sense.

So, why would I include this game on this list? Well, I found it to be an extremely fun game, worth playing over again occasionally. And why is that?

It's as if the developers knew that they could not correctly translate the book to a game, so instead made a fun game, and threw the Harry Potter license on. The game is an action adventure game, which plays something like Zelda64, though, much simpler.

It very loosely follows the story of the books, to the point where things just don't make any rational sense, however, the gameplay level design, and mini games never ceased to be fun for me, I could care less about the horrible story, and nonsensical situations, because I could just laugh it off, and continue to have fun playing.

The soundtrack and voice acting are surprisingly good, with me trying to find a soundtrack online somewhere, the voice acting is all done by British people it seems, which was the right choice, even if you care not for them, at least the *sound* right.

The graphics are also incredible, being some of the best on the PS1, beating ranks with Chrono Cross, and Metal Gear Solid. Not only such, but you can look everywhere, and the view is not fixed like both MGS, and CC. The texture quality is outstanding for a PS1 game, with better textures then some Dreamcast games.

Final Verdict: I have beaten the game a few times, and still laugh at it, and enjoy the gameplay, and platforming elements.

Bonus Note: The sequel on the PS1 is just as good, and definitely worth a look.

X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 - Playstation 1 - Published by Activision - Developed by Paradox Development - 2001

(This section applies to either the first or the second, because of how similar they are. The second is pretty much the first, with more content)

The X-Men, along with many other marvel comic book heros, have found their way into lots of video games. Probably the most famous video game to include them, was Marvel Vs Capcom, the famous arcade fighter which included street fighter characters. However, there were so many games that included Marvel Characters that were truly terrible.

So, a straight up fighting game, with no story, cashing into the hype from the Recent X-Men movie, this surely sounds like a recipe for mediocrity.

But no! X-Men Mutant Academy, and it's sequel, X-Men Mutant Academy 2, were some of the best fighting games I have ever played.

The Mutant Academy series took a change in the fighter game genre, with ultra fast gameplay, and such skill based fighting that a button masher had little chance to do more then annoy someone who was skilled at the game.

The game was extremely well balanced, and provided enough variety to keep a player happy. (The second game was much better for this)

The graphics were decent, and the music was fine, though nothing to really write home about. Everyone looks how they should, and the music is this techno that fits the mood rather well, though neither aspect is something to write home about. The voice acting is pretty good, with people sounding exactly how I imagined they would. It even shook off the bad image left by the movies.

Final Verdict: Overall though, a fighting game's main point is gameplay, and I repeat, this game had it in spades, I still go back and play it, the only problem I can see, is that it has a bit of a steep learning curve.

Bonus Note: The only thing the first game had that the second didn't, was movie costumes.

Other Bonus Note: They made a semi Sequel for sixth generation consoles, which wasn't quite as good in my opinion, but it's still worth looking at, it was called 'X-Men: Next Dimention'

Lego Island 2: The Brickster's Revenge - Playstation 1/PC - Published by Lego Software - Developed by Silicon Dreams - 2001

Lego Island 2, a Lego game, a game based on a toy for kids, a game based on a toy for kids that is loosely based on many movies and kid's fads, movies and kid's fads that sucked.

So, this ought to be pretty terrible.

Yet, beyond odds, sometimes terrible ideas work out pretty well. This is a story based adventure game based on the recently released Lego sets, such as an Indiana Jones rip off, the lego space sets, the Lego Mid-evil sets, and more.

Now I will make a note about the two versions of the game I have played (I haven't, and don't want to play the GBA version). The PC version of this game is superior in most aspects, having a few more levels, and bigger areas, along with much, much better graphics. However, the PC version had legendary long loading times, with some taking as long as a few minutes to load an area, no joke. The PS1 version, stays pretty similar to the PC versions, though a few less levels, and a few smaller areas. However, the loading time in this version is far superior.

The game combines platforming, vehicles and a lot of mini games. The platforming can be pretty basic, but is certainly fun enough, the vehicles add another way to get around, and are used in a lot of the mini games, and are also reasonably fun to use.

The mini games in this most of which are a lot of fun, and have a huge variety, so, everyone will have fun with them. There is everything from dropping from space and landing, to fishing (Though, the PC exclusive fishing levels sucks quite a bit, in my opinion). In general, probably due to the large amount of min games, and the variety, the game doesn't seem to get boring fast.

The graphics on the PC version are decent, while on the PS1 are kind of below average, but are not super hard on the eyes. The music in the game is pretty good, setting the mood for each area, though nothing makes you want to find a soundtrack exactly. The voice acting is decent, though the main character sounds too much like a girl sometimes.

Final Verdict: I played through this game, and got gold on almost all the mini games, and certainly found it to be a lot more fun then I thought it would be, though not everyone would love it, I'm sure.

Bonus Note: There were 2 other games in the series, though, I don't think they were as good, the first game, 'Lego Island', and the sequel to this one, 'Island Xtreme Stunts'.

So, there you have it, until I get back to this, try to at least look these up, you might find something you like!

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