Thursday, 25 June 2015

Pit Fighter - Various

...I'm... just going to have a cry in the corner...

Oh dear God please kill me. No seriously, smite me now for having to put up with this abortion of video gaming. Please someone, take my brain and run it through a bleach-coated cheesegrater on the hope that even in my dying moments that I will NEVER REMEMBER THIS GAME AGAIN. It's Pit-Fighter. (Shit-Fighter, I'll drop this one in now and promise to not use this punchline again).

Words... fail me.

Let's give it some credit though, it's the second fighting game to use filmed actors for animatation, before Mortal Kombat hit the scenes a few years later. The fact that it's the second game to do this should be a huge indicator that this game was never going to be anywhere as polished as it could have been given the almost ground-breaking foray into the field, but Pit-Fighter seems to have lost its way with the game play, and the graphics which is the ultimate irony there.

A shame nobody executed the product staff.

Game wise, Pit-Fighter is for up to 3 players to enter into an underground arena of illegal bareknuckled fighting and combat their way to the top against established pricks of varying magnitude. Join Buzz, Ty and Kato as they take on the underground circuit it a choppily animated and complete lack of flow between frames, fight to the top. Scoring points and cash on the way up by fighting in various styles and winning specific criteria or getting flawless/perfect victories against bosses that take priority with their attacks over your own. Fairness is out of the window from the start and so it's down to who can exploit the AI fastest.

I really wish I hadn't made it.

If you even could! The controls are sluggish and unresponsive at the best of times and Pit-Fighters use of combat is risable at best and downright insulting at worst. Using your mess of a jump, kick and punch, it's down to you to fight and beat multiple boss-like opponents either solo or in a 3vs1 battle with your friends (you will soon lose these friends if you're the one that suggested to play this abysmal game). The joystick lets you move in 8 directions around the arena including moving to the background and foreground while you try to buy some distance and time to learn the moves or pick up some items or just run away and play for a little bit long from the poison challice that is this Pit-Fighter.

It's like a real fight, only pure shit but just as painful.

The graphics in Pit-Fighter, look like people and quite rightly so given the technology used but the flow and style of the animation is horrible to watch and as such the collision detection for the fights are usually "off" from the images that are being shown. There remains some level of detail and colour, if a little pixelated, but for what it's worth, the items and people you see do look like the items and people they're meant to represent. But then a photo of an object should still look like a photo of that object.

Sadly you cannot grab the weapons and bash yourself to death with them.

Annoying, clashing, woefully digitised and barely recognisable. Key words anybody should be using to identify the audio within Pit-Fighter, but perhaps with all the graphics being used in the memory, there wasn't much left in the budget or the game itself, for decent sounds. It's another nail in the coffin here and for those that can find out how to, silence the game before playing it.

And now the background is painful.

There are some interesting aspects of Pit-Fighter though, the crowd can get involved in the fight if the combat strays too close to them, pushing players back into the arena or stepping in and attacking players that get too close, thankfully this includes the bosses of the arenas. Once you've beaten the selection of fighters, you'll end up fighting them all again anyway until you hit level 15 and then you get to fight the last boss and beat the game.

B is for BAD GAME, BLOODY AWFUL and BULLSHIT. Remember this well.

But you can't beat Pit-Fighter. Once you start playing, it has already won. Your money is in its chutes and anything you try from here on will just be a meagre attempt to regain what you've paid, and you will always find yourself coming up short in that regard. Stay away, and if possible, burn any machines you find of this game. I will now be carrying a lighter and aerosol can JUST for this purpose, at all times.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Armored Warriors - Arcade

4 way mecha melee chaos coming up.

Capcom has shown time and time again that they're more than capable of creating some very influential games, particularly in the brawler genre of gaming. Regarding Armored Warriors, it seems Capcom may and may not have topped their own lofty achievements of Final Fight.

From the off, it's chaotic and action-packed with an overblown scale

Armored Warriors takes the giant mech approach to brawling. You're a captain/pilot of a giant mech of your choosing from one of four setups. Each setup has its own advantages and disadvantages including different combat and weaponry while focusing on melee combat, strength, speed and stamina, (all of this will make sense shortly) and all have the standard, Attack, Jump and Support Weapon functions to be used within game. Like a lot of other brawlers you can also run, run and attack, switch attack by pressing forwards THEN attack quickly for an alternative attack, leaping running attacks and so on and so forth which is something Capcom seemed to bring to the table during the mid 90s with a lot of its games.

The obligatory bonus levels

However, the novelty of the approach of this game is that certain enemies are equipped differently than your mech is, which means you can break them apart and steal their components. Aside from the core body part, you can replace your legs, your weapon and your support weapon from any dropped component, resulting in a veritably high combination of results and customisation for your mechs. Multiple different arms carry weapons including fists, drills, laser swords, claws, lightning rods and so on. Tracks and treads for the mechs range from standard legs to tank treads, hover boosters, spider legs while support weapons are the largest in variation including machinegun types, bombs, rockets, missiles, flame throwers and more. There's something for everyone but if you die, you drop the lot and have to reacquire it. Annoying but that's the price of upgrading to awesome.

And of course, the bosses are even bigger.

Despite the concept and the possibilities, there's still the core of the game of Armored Warriors in that it's a brawler game, where you and several friends (possibly, if you have those) can march through nine missions of mech-blowing-up-ness (it's a word now) which range from walk right and blow up stuff, run right and blow up stuff, blow up stuff quickly before you die and blow up stuff THEN move right and blow up more stuff.

Some times MUCH bigger

Armored Warriors does have some context to the situation and certainly a lot more than Final Fight did with its constant walking and fighting. In this game however, there's regular points where plot is revealed, discussions are made between key characters regarding the wars between two worlds and progression is shown on a map of both planets as to which side is conquering the other fastest. While it can add to the sense of the game and enhance it as an experience, it'll like be ignored in favour of players wanting to get back to the action of blowing up mechs.

Customisation and powerups a plenty here

That said, the game is nothing short of bright and colourful and by comparison to the appalling idea of today's games decisions to brown-out almost everything to be gritty and realistic, this comes across as a light hearted comic book when put next to games of this day. Some may dislike that but I say it adds to the appeal and atmosphere of the game, it's not overly serious and doesn't take itself to be that when 50ft tall mechs are slamming each other around and firing more rockets than could possibly fit on screen rather than in the mech itself. It's bright and bold and it shouldn't be any other way for this game. The mechs themselves are well designed and follow on from the anime-esque style they take the origins from, bosses and bigger constructs look stunning and it's evident there's a lot of focus and attention on everything from the smallest mechs up to the final boss.

And of course, the compulsory, repeating boss fight

The audio, there isn't much there that sings out within the music as anything particularly memorable but there is an attempt to do synthesised voices and have a sort of commentary running with every item you pick up to replace parts on your mech, while also the characters shout, scream and yell when doing special moves or getting killed. But all of this is overshadowed by the explosions and metallic clangs and clashes of skyscraper sized robots duking it out, it adds to the feel of the game and is highly entertaining but it does mask the other sounds that one might want to hear, leaving them a little redundant in that regard.


As a game, Armored Warriors does have a lot of replay factor. There's different ways occasionally to beat specific levels, there's the huge combinations of weapons and items to pick up and use and you can almost guarantee that it'll take a few play-throughs before you start to get repeated sets of weaponry. But then there's also the option to try something different and see whether it's more or less effective than the previous setup for the upcoming boss you know you'll have to fight. Trial and improvement it may be but learning and using all of the attacks and power moves accompanying those items will leave you always questioning if the next upgrade is better.

It's a good game, but gets a little overcrowded at times and for those that explore the mechanics behind the engine of the game, a deep brawling system with lots of potential.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

JuJu Densetsu (Toki) - Arcade

It's Toki

I know, I know. It's Toki and this is the Japanese release of the game but given the other games beginning with J I leapt at the chance to go over this one on the grounds that most of the others were just shat or simply so obscure and esoteric that looking over them would have been too far of a reach to expect any reader to reasonably consider. That and Joust is just crap, Judge Dredd was a nightmare and Jr. Pac-Man speaks for itself before I even begin.

Looks a bit like Capcom's start for Ghosts 'n Goblins

Juju Densetsu however, is a lovely little platform game where some muscle bound Adonis goes through hell and back to rescue his significant other from an odd looking alien creature. Except that the alien creature looking thing turned you into a small monkey/ape looking thing with a large head. That can also spit death and destruction to the rampaging hordes the last boss has to readily hurl your way.

Mini bosses, bosses and large monsters around colourful landscapes. Nice.

So you're to set off, with a lovely intro screen not so far removed from Ghoul's 'N' Ghosts, showing how far we have to go and run our little simian arse off through the fun that is Juju Densetus, while spitting, expectorating and gobbing at everything that comes our way and a few piles of spiked dung that explode slowly. You, the One Hit Wonder, will be charged to take down bats, demons, ghosts, monsters, mutants and some very VERY odd bosses.

I'm not sure I can legally say anything here.

Left, Right, Up, Down, shooting and jumping is Juju Densetsu's preferred way to navigate levels. Be it leaping over lava, onto moving bridges, across rope swings or swimming through seas and oceans of sharks, turtles, trident-carrying-sea-serpents and a whole lot more. You're not alone, you have a myriad of different ways to attack enemies. Ranging from gobbing BIG spits, helixing spits, spread spits, flame throwers (One of these things is not like the others) and charged up super spits. Usually they appear in places that will really benefit the player, except if there's a boss involved.

The ultimate in weaponry: Underwater Flame Thrower.

On top of that, there's also sneakers/trainers that let you leap a lot higher while there's also an American Football helmet for SOME added protection. Juju Densetsu has the lovely idea that just because you HAVE the helmet, means you should also be looking AT the threat directly (not facing away) and be on the same level as the attack which means you can still be hit in the legs and die while wearing the helmet. A picky and rather finicky little bonus but if you can use it well, it can really be a boon to your progression through the levels.

Eye see what you did there... Sorry readers.

The levels themselves are very diverse. Jungles, snowcaps, lava caves, underground and oceans and industrial complexes, complete a very strange spectrum of levels but each one feels and looks unique while the bosses are just about as unique as the levels themselves. Giant ... um... Odd looking monsters... Yeah let's go with that... A knock-off of the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man, Giant burping buboe, Hands Feet and Heart monster (and NOTHING ELSE), and a Crystal Mammoth (Could also be an elephant). There's also a few mini-bosses that require a bit of thinking and shooting to get past but mostly shooting if I had to be honest.

I died, this room was too awesome for me to handle at first.

Musically, there's a few memorable tunes that, while repeated, aren't done ad nauseam and as such you'll likely learn the first and third level worth of music in Juju Densetsu (Yeah... ok, Toki). The sounds however are fairly clear with only a slightly odd muffle behind some of the sampling but everything is clear, hits sound very distinct to deflections so it's clear to work out what's doing damage and what's wasting time until you get killed or beat the enemy facing you at that moment in time.

You will see this a lot on the 6th level.

It's certainly worth a few credits, though the progression can be a little slow as our hero does move along at a bit of a crawl, but there's not much here that's really unfair and what does kill you likely can be overcome with a little patience and not trying to rush through things. Certainly worth a play.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Altered Beast - Various

Save your time, play something else.

There's a lot of nostalgia factor with this game. Many will look back, or vaguely remember this game, rather fondly along the lines of "Oh yeah, that was awesome you could punch zombies and turn into a wolf thing" and the oft quoted speech "Wise fwom wor gwave" which only goes to show that they never got past the first level and I don't blame them for that.

"Wise fwom wow gwawe"

As an arcade game, it runs along the lines of the ancient story of girl gets kidnapped, God raises the dead to fight through Hell to get back girl, fighters turn into monsters and beat up a demon. The same old story. Being an arcade game there isn't much in the way of real substance here from "Move right and fight" although the addition of a pseudo-cutscene between each level is an interesting addition to the idea of a developing plot but really is just a monochromic powerpoint display.

Looks cool, isn't.

You start as a simple undead/rather-fleshy soldier that burst from his tombstone and begins immediately by punching, kicking and jumping your way through the level, taking on some rather disfigured enemies. However you will find yourself hopelessly outmatched unless you kill specific white double-headed dogs that release power orbs and allow you to "POWER UP" as the game happily announces. Each one making you more buff, harder to hurt, more physically imposing and doing more damage until you reach a third orb and then you turn into a monster with much a much more powerful moveset and the only real way you can even attempt to fight the boss of each level.

Snail...Dragon? Snaildragon? This become pokemon suddenly?

If you're unable to transform in time, you will fight the boss in your weaker form and that's on the assumption you even get that far. There's 3 chances to acquire the orbs at each stage of the level, but after the end of each stage you WILL be swarmed repeatedly by enemies you cannot realistically hope to defeat unless you transform at the next available instance. These white dogs are almost gleefully lampshaded by the game with the preceding brown equivalent dogs that will leap in first, usually knocking you to the ground, before the white one leaps in and past you while you get back to your feet.

This... is just shit.

Woefully unfair, the game pounds further with the idea of absolutely NO mercy invincibility after being knocked down. So each time you get back up, you can be on the end of a fist of pain and knocked down again, and again, and again until your meagre health bar is depleted and you're cursing at the arcade for being cheap. Coupled with almost entirely unavoidable boss-fight patterns, you'll soon find your safest route through the game is to walk away.

Yep, chickenleg is in Golden Axe. Go play that game instead.

But the fun doesn't stop there, your human character has barely any reach in fighting and only really becomes any actual use when they transform. Upon which your move set changes and you have to quickly learn the new controls and moves and how to use them effectively while still being attacked by your enemies. (Lovely bit of thinking on your feet really). While to add further misery, your move set's effectiveness is heavily dependent upon the creature you become. The werewolves have a fireball and fast kick move that serves very well against everything but airborne adversaries, the dragons have lasers and electric fields but are huge targets and move too slowly to avoid attacks. The bears are almost entirely useless having no range attack, just stone breath and a spinning jump that puts you next to enemies if you miss. The tigers have a vertical kick attack similar to the werewolves and a fireball of sorts before the last level gives you back the werewolves and by this point, you'll be very grateful for it.

Artsy, but nobody really cares.

It's hard to pinpoint why so many people like this game when really, it's a rather difficult and unplayable mess of a game, hampered by its own controls and almost deliberately infuriating the player to the point of them walking away from the game itself in sheer maddening frustration at once again being butchered by simply not being as powerful as the game wanted or by not realising the limitations of the characters brought about by the oddly coded movement and combat engine.

Hurry up and kill it, I'm bored.

The audio in the game is a mixed bag, while the slightly muffled sound samples are amusing to hear, the rest of the game's effects and music are rather drab and uninspired. It's also quite likely you won't hear it anyway as you'll be too busy shouting at the inept control system, confusing set up of directional attacks (Down and kick, kicks upwards?) and realising that level 3 is such a pain in the arse to contend with that you'll likely not bother and go play something else.

Why do I even bother...

Surprisingly, that sums up this game. Remember it fondly but don't go back to it, go play something else and leave this tired mess alone in the days where people forgot how to rate games appropriately.