Sunday, 13 December 2009

Retro hall of Shame # 3: Chase HQ - Amiga

What? Another post right after the last? You might think I'm mad (well, I am, actually) but I thought why not? But why am I doing it for a game I've looked at already. Well, the clue is in the title.
Chase HQ was ported to many, many systems. Some by Taito themselves and some by Ocean (The Taito versions being called Tatio Chase HQ). Some Ocean versions were spot on ie. Spectrum but one version smelt like dog shit and looked like a chav after a night out. Where did it all go wrong for the Amiga version?

The game sees you...... (fast forward a few lines. As the game plays the same as the arcade version, I wont repeat my self) .....if you don't get there in time.

The Amiga Verison...yuk...

This version also has the same status bar and easily looks the best thing in the game. Its a shame the rest of the game was utter crap. First off, the graphics look awful. Really dull and drab and don't have the vibrance of the arcade original or the Speccy version. The road side is very sparse of objects, apart from one cactus and a couple of signs. Maybe a building or two, but that's about it. Its just a barren wasteland. The graphics are smaller and the cars look terrible as well. The Amiga can handle much better graphics than this and is more than capable of the speed as well. There is no sense of speed at all. The sound is just as awful as well. The engine noise will make you go insane after 30 seconds. To me, It all just seems very rushed to get it out on the shelves. More often than not, you'll find yourself wrestling with the joystick. When you turn, it doesn't feel like your turning at all. Sometimes, you'll turn too much. The controls don't feel refined at all. There's no 'sweet spot', per se.

The sublime Arcde version. See the difference?

This, to me, is the worst version of one of the best Arcade games ever. The arcade game was fun, visually stunning and, sonically, was brilliant. The Spectrum version was exactly the same and was very enjoyable. The Amiga version is the bastard child of the arcade version and should have been dropped at birth. It goes up there with the Amiga version of After Burner, PitFighter and Turtles Coin-Op as the worst arcade conversions ever. It would be a crime to have bought it when it was released, and its a crime to even pick it up off eBay now.

0.5/5 - JSW's Even Bigger Bag of Wrong Award.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

5 Top Gaming Moments as chosen! (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

A new feature, this is a look at my 5 of the top Gaming moments from gaming's past. These are the moments that made me go 'bloody hell!!!' or 'f&ck me!!'. So, grab a brew and bag of Quavers and get ready to digest these bite size chunks of greatness.

5: Meeting Psycho Mantis - Metal Gear Solid (PS1).

Now, Psycho Mantis isn't your normal enemy. He can read minds better than Uri Geller and can levitate better than Raul Julia in Street Fighter. He can also scan your memory card and see what games you've played. Scary, huh? Well, when I first got to that part, it put a stupidly big grin on my young, spotty face. But nothing could prepare me for what happend after that. Evrery one of my moves was second guessed by him, meaning he could beat me every time. Unless I did a special trick that was better than what Paul Daniels could do. Not a lot, but it was.


Hideo Kojima is a gaming god anyway, with Snatcher being an almost interactive movie that was very accessable and very playable. So, when he threw in those two neat tricks, it was the icing on the preverbial cake. The game was the ultimate stealth game and this gave that part a more immersive atmosphere. Thats not to say that the game wasn't awesome anyway, it was, but when you tried to beat Psycho Mantis, you knew you were in for a battle and a half.

4: Slap the Ref? As if I would! - Taito Football Champ (arc)

Football is a gritty game. 11 men against 11 men. One team stands between you and the cup. The whistle blows, you kick off. As you pass the ball, the ref runs past and stops the ball by accident. You walk up...........and punch the ref in the mush, running off with the ball towards your opponants goal. Whoever thought of doing a slapstick footie game where you can punch the crap out the ref and not get booked for it, give them a cigar, as its makes the game a great laugh. Especially when you can then knee your opponents in the face when the referee is sparko on the floor and take their legs from under them, making them fly like Superman.

The graphics were great and with this added sense that the game didn't take itself too seriously, there was plenty of fun to be had. And when Elite got to convert it for the Amiga, it added being able to kick the ball at the photographers to knock them over and the added bonus of a streaker at unregular intervals! This game is worth emulating as its fast, frantic, fun and comical. All the fun of footie with having to buy a season ticket!

3: Ice Cream, Ice Cream! - Speedball 2 (A500)

Being a game that you can smack the crap out of your opponants and send them for an early bath and limb replacement, you wouldn't have thought that a game like this could have a comedy element in it. There you are, sending your opponent crashing to the floor, you slam the steel ball into the goal, your guys are celebrating, then comes from the stand.........'Ice Cream......Ice Cream'.

I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it does bring something funny to an otherwise serious game, based on the movie Rollerball with James Caan. Can you imagine that in the movie? James Caan slams the ball into someones face and the usher shouts 'Ice Cream'? Yes, I'll have a 99 with a flake and a goal, please!

2: Backstabbing bastard - Modern Warfare 2 (360)

I know I'm cheating with this one, as it's supposed to be from gamings past, but it's such a good twist, it would be a crime NOT to include it. WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you haven't played the single player section, skip this or read Jane Austin.

Anticipation was high after Modern Warfare. No one knew how good this one was going to be, but it didn't dissaponit at all, especially with its twist. Storming Makarov's estate in search of him, your team are under fire. You have to get vital intel from his PC after finding him gone. Whilst it's transferring to a portable hard drive, you have to fend off an attack from support troops. Once thats done, you head to the extraction point, russian soldiers chasing you, trying to kill you. You reach the area, then you get shot. Ghost carries you to the waiting chopper and Shepard. You hand over the HDD to Shepard. He then looks as though he is going to help you aboard.....until he points a .44 Magnum at you and shoots you in the chest. Turning the gun on Ghost, he shoots him in the head. Shepard then gets your bodies thrown in a pit, covered in gasoline then burned while you're partially alive, while in your earpiece you hear from Price 'Don't trust Shepard, Don't trust Shepard'. Cheers Price, it's a bit too late for that when my nuts are roasting here!


In my eyes, it can't get any better than that for modern gaming. It's one twist that made me think 'What the fu......', staring at my telly in disbelief. It shocked me that much.


With that one over with, its hard to pick a definitive or stand out moment for the no.1 spot to follow that. But, after much deliberation (well.......30 seconds worth!), I just had to go for this one......

1: Get the hell out of there! - Medal of Honor Allied Assault (PC)

Medal of Honor on the PC was one of the best WWII games to come out in 1998. It had top notch graphics, great sounds and bucket loads of gameplay. Its levels were diverse and nothing short of brilliant, including its heart racing, beach storming recreation of the Normandy landings. And there's no beach ball in sight.
Starting off in a Troop carrier craft, you get told your orders. As you near the beach, you get nervous. You know, as soon as that front drops, so will your brothers in arms. You hear the machine guns fire, bullets whizzing past your ears, your friends fall one by one. You jump over the side, thinking your safe. Then bullets impact in the water. You scramble out the water, bodies of the fallen lie at your feet, with more falling. You hear orders being barked at you: get to the wire and grab the bangolores. You go from crater to crater, getting closer to the imbedded bunkers, going back to pick up those bangolores. they detonate, making a hole in the fence. you decide to go for it, giving all you got. Blazing a trail towards the door to the bunker, you throw in a grenade. upon detonation, you hear screams. Going in carefully, you see one enemy on the floor. One more hides around the corner as you turn just intime to shoot him and he collapses at your feet. The first is cleared, so you grab the mounted machine gun and train it on the other bunker, giving them what they gave you. They fall one by one as you move out the bunker and make sure no one is left. Once the other bunker is stormed, you head to the rally point, knowing its over. But at what price?

If thats not heart-racing, I don't know what is. Playing it all those years ago made my adreneline rush, trying to do that level for the 25th time, and it still gets it going now. It's one of the pivital moments in First Person Shooter gaming. It changed the way I played FPS's forever and it made me realise what they went through for our freedom and the sacrifices that were made. It was one of the best gaming experiences I'd ever had. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Yep, that's my top 5 alright. Some might disagree that 'You didn't include Half Life 2' or 'Why isn't Mario in there?', and yes there was good moments in them games too (apart from HL 2, as I hated it), but these moments stood out and have stuck in memory since I first played them, and they will stick with me throughout my life.