Gaming Rebellion is full of gamers who not coincidentally, love to play games. We play games year round, good bad and ugly, all in an effort to improve the content of this website for YOU the reader. That being said, we feel that certain games tend to go under appreciated or over looked by the gaming masses. So in an effort to rectify this gross error, several of our staff members have taken time out of their busy schedules to put together a very special article for our readers. Behold!
I am not a fan of the Superman character, but I worship the Nintendo 64 like a messiah, this is how my match made in heaven came to be. I have played every title that beautiful system has to offer, and I was yelling at people’s faces for years about how underrated Superman 64 actually is. This 1999 superhero action game is often seen as a colossal failure with bad… well everything, but those people forgot that it actually sold very well. Nothing can be bad if it made lots of money, right? The masses are never wrong! I mean, just look at this game:
The problem critics seem to point out first is the lack of story, how the game simply drops players in medias res and has the briefest of explanations for what is actually going on. Honestly though, this is part of the charm. Comic books do not make any sense either when you start on issue three of a story line, and I hear that is what comic fans like to do. Think of Superman 64 as trying to be more authentic to that idea. And considering the state of the comics industry from the mid-to late 90s, this game’s story is a masterpiece.
I think the other big criticism is the controls. Some reviewers said the way the Man of Steel moved felt awkward and it was closer to the clunky, classic ‘tank’ control style. Well, what’s wrong with that? Kids love tanks! Not to mention Superman is as strong as one, so it makes sense. I also heard the criticism that it takes multiple simultaneous button presses to make Superman fly from the ground position, and that he is hard to maneuver and steer in the air. Well I hate to burst your bubble, but flying is not exactly simple (I would know). This is another sign of the game attempting to go for realism where the character is concerned. Oh sure, Arkham City will make a player look like Batman, but Superman 64 will make you actually feel just how difficult it is being DC’s poster boy. Not to mention how tough it is to fly with a poorly rendered (but strikingly beautiful) car in your arms.
The biggest groan-worthy remark from people who have barely played the game is always, “why do I have to fly through these rings and have a time limit?” I don’t get it! Sonic does that in every level he has ever been on and no one complains. Not once! Did people want a Superman game where you fight crime, punch bad guys, and get to look cool while flying around a beautifully constructed open-world version of Metropolis? That sounds boring! Titus Software was attempting to bring everyone art, and thank Darkseid that Warner Bros. and DC Comics were looking over the developers shoulders constantly, changing things, and pouring on massive amounts of pressure to hurry this brilliant game to completion. It honestly has very few—if any—flaws, and the few that slipped through the cracks were explained away by using the Superman lore; like Kryptonite fog—which I am told is totally a thing in the books.
Warner Bros. stripped away ninety percent of the original project that was holding this game back. They found the ten percent that was gold and created a misunderstood gem that should be in any N64 library. The Last Son of Krypton has a slew of wonderful and exciting games in his honor. You can even look them up, there are tons. Literal tons—but this was his magnum opus.
Duke Nukem Forever is not a bad game, just a misunderstood one. It has been unfairly maligned, mostly due to its infamously long development time but I think it’s time to defend this diamond in the rough. Gearbox software did a fantastic job taking what was very likely bits and pieces of a finished game, put it together with some spit and polish and released a title that will be talked about for decades to come. While there are legions of detractors that only focus on the negatives, I will instead focus on the positives. I’ll defend both its story and its gameplay, because it’s a game you should play, especially considering you shouldn’t have to pay more than a fiver to do so.
The story is interesting because its cut and paste-thrown together at a whim-feel accurately depicts how the flow of information would be in an alien invasion. We wouldn’t have our normal fire hose blast of easily filtered information, we’d have bits and pieces filtering in as people in war zones get a chance to find a safe place to transmit. The story takes place in frenzied segments separated by relative calm, much like an actual battle. It’s a brilliant meta narrative that draws the player into the fictional world. You actually feel the ebb and flow of the chaotic setting of an alien invasion in a way that a pure action game just can’t get across.
The gameplay is another point of contention. Rather than being a slapdash effort, it shows that Gearbox wanted to keep the gameplay familiar for modern FPS fans, while still being a classic FPS at heart. The health does regenerate like a modern FPS, but it can be permanently increased by interacting with various things in the environment; in typical Duke Nukem fashion. The aforementioned usable items showcase the classic franchise humor, while encouraging players to explore the levels in more depth than a normal FPS would usually allow.
The health meter acts as Duke’s ego, and by messing with various items you increase it permanently. The items available include the classic steroids, beer and trip bombs, which play just as they always have. And while many decried the fact that you could only use two weapons, this was clearly a nod to Halo that encouraged gamers to pick the ones that best suited their unique play styles. While up-close and personal with a shotgun works for many, others may prefer the joy of shrinking enemies and stomping them into red goo. Tinkering with all of this increases replay value. Beyond that, in the very beginning of the game you can grab turds out of a toilet and throw them at stuff. How can anyone top such brilliance?!
I hope I’ve convinced you to give this criminally underrated gem another chance, and I thank Gaming Rebellion for letting me spew my opinion in this article. Thanks for reading, and hail to the king, baby.
As far as black sheep go, this game is pretty notorious and still fresh in many people’s memories. I’m referring to the underrated, overly hated Aliens Colonial Marines. It was supposedly so bad that Gearbox Software apologized for it. But when a game development studio has consumers irate with them, what can they do? They could try to use logic and fight a losing battle. Or they could agree with the horde, give them some DLC, and hope for the best. Since they were backed into a corner by the game publisher, Sega, Gearbox chose the second route. It’s a shame that Timegate Studios got thrown under the bus, but somebody had to take the blame.
Now the core game, excluding the DLC fluff, was one of the best games I played in 2014. I appreciate how it’s a shorter game. Compared to most first-person shooters, Aliens Colonial Marines is relatively close to the length of the movies, which strengthens its link between the various Aliens media. I think Gearbox passing it around to multiple developers was a great idea since it allowed for so many more people to impart their talent onto one game than if Gearbox had handled it themselves. The fact that they had to slightly embellish on things not shown in the Aliens canon helped flesh out the universe in a way the movies never did. Another way Aliens Colonial Marines differs from the movies is that it shows you the Xenomorphs five minutes in. The movies and the newer, duller, action-less Alien Isolation hardly show any alien at all. Unlike those misnomers, Aliens Colonial Marines let’s you know what you’re dealing with and that’s refreshing. Some of the best bits are when you fight the Queen Xeno in a Powerloader, cage match style. Fortunately, there are few enough of these sequences that they don’t over power the basic FPS action that video games have conditioned us to love since Halo.
Now, I have to admit that I saw this game as flawed the first time I played it. The game started so strong yet as things ramp up, the visual polish, enemy AI, and overall game logic start to go downhill. Towards the end, the game is in shambles. In no way does footage from the first stage mirror footage from the last stage in terms of quality. This lead to a lawsuit as many purchasers of this game felt ripped off. But here’s the genius behind Aliens Colonial Marines: the state of the game reflects the state of mind of the protagonist, Corporal Winter. As the battle goes on, things don’t make sense, the logic is broken. You see this in the form of clipping and events not being triggered. Winter’s brain is unsure of what it sees, things become blurred in the heat of the moment. This explains the textures failing to stream, or even popping in and out at times. As for the enemy AI bugging intermittently? I believe the trauma of fighting the Xenos and Weyland-Yutani soldiers has lead Winter to question who the enemy actually is. When a Xeno fails to attack, I believe it is actually a figment of Winter’s imagination. Brilliant!
In the case of Aliens Colonial Marines, there are plenty of polished but mediocre games out there that might better suit you. But if you are looking for a deep experience that is more than meets the eye, then you might give it a try and challenge what you think you know about symbolism.
Sonic games lately couldn’t have been any better than before and they owe it all to Sonic 3D Blast on the Sega Genesis in 1996. Clearly, Sonic fans grew tired of 2D gameplay featuring the same basic style with limited innovations to spice up the series. We even saw the release of Sonic and Knuckles, a mutilated cartridge requiring another physical game to unlock anything even remotely worthwhile. Traveller’s Tales saw the slump in the series’ fleeting titles and teamed up with Sega to finally put Sonic in a 3D game, a style he should have been in from the start.
Dr. Robotnik makes his villainous return as the sluggish, loathsome enemy of Sonic, this time taking control of Flicky Island. Trapping the adorable flapping birds called Flickies into robotic drones, the big bad Doc abuses the natives to search for the elusive chaos emeralds. But don’t take my word for it! Displaying a full 3D introduction, Sonic 3D Blast showcases the system’s true power as we watch Sonic run through the island without a care in the world. Sonic has never looked better or faster, and it’s amazing how well this has held up all these years.
Visually, Sonic 3D Blast features dashing pre-rendered 3D graphics which melted our primitive brains back in the 90s. This stunning effect along with an isometric perspective gave gamers a world to explore not just left and right, but diagonally left and diagonally right. Nothing felt more intuitive than running these new angles on the controller’s D-Pad (because who needs an analog stick for 3D games!). As with all Sonic games, the blue blur can leap off the ground and throw himself into a hasty ball of destruction, striking fear into the robotic army. Landing on the squishy robots couldn’t be any easier as the isometric perspective makes navigating the zany floor plan a breeze! Playing just like the arcade smash-hit Flicky, Sonic spins into action disrupting the robots and freeing the ensnared flickies who quickly follow him. These little guys need to be escorted all the way to the end of the level into an awaiting receptacle. After two acts, Sonic gets his chance at Dr. Robotnik before moving on to the next level.
Picking up Sonic 3D Blast is a no-brainer. The game explodes onto our screens every second with the speedy gameplay we deserved from the previous titles. It pays to play smart as every corner hosts traps and roaming badniks for Sonic to bump into and lose his rings. So, remember, go slow and take your time in this fast-paced, spikes around every corner, wild ride of a game!
Alright! For the month of April, the once-defunct Carry Lab is rising from the dead to bring back an all-time classic that hasn’t seen the light of day since the days of the NES: Mystery Quest!
But this won’t simply be a Virtual Console classic title that gets lost in the mix. Carry Lab is going all out in this venture, and will be presenting the new Mystery Quest HD in 1920×1080 at a consistent 60 fps! That’s right, folks! No more empty promises from Sony or Microsoft to be found here. Carry Lab is aiming for a mid-April release of Mystery Quest HD for Steam, PC and Linux systems. Sorry, Mac and console gamers, not this time around, though early speculation has it that the game should be successfully ported by 2020 with later levels available as DLC on all platforms (if the game ever gets out of beta).
For a little bit of history on the original Mystery Quest: it was originally released in Japan as Hao-kun no Fushigi na Tabi on May 1st, 1987 and published by none other than Square Company. It later saw a North American release in April 1989, published by Taxan (notable for 8 Eyes and Magician for the NES). It received a lukewarm reception by gamers, citing its “poor graphics,” “bad mechanics” and “lack of gameplay.”
“We thought that North American gamers enjoyed mediocrity.” – Unnamed Carry Lab President
Realizing that they had alienated an entire vital cross-section of the gaming community, Carry Lab developers began leaving in droves and, in essence, became the new “Activision” that raised Atari’s hackles 15 years earlier. These quirky and ballsy developers, not content with the current North American release of Mystery Quest, convened in an underground cave and haven’t been seen since… until March 2015.
Former Carry Lab developers, branding themselves as “The REAL Carry Lab” (original company now long defunct), have since released a screenshot of Mystery Quest HD, which can be seen below:
Pre-release screenshot of Mystery Quest HD:
After nearly 25 years in seclusion, The REAL Carry Lab is pleased to introduce improved graphics, color-customizable bubbles, and in-game tutorials to help introduce new gamers to this timeless classic. PC gamers will be able to purchase the whole game for the LOW PRICE of $5.99 on Steam and PC, ad-free. Analysts predict that later stages will be able to be purchased for $10.99 apiece on XBox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Wii U. Customizable bubbles and in-game tutorials are predicted to be $6.99/month.
“We’ve realized that PC gamers are superior to console gamers, and have such, have made glaringly clear our stance on modern ‘console wars,’” touted REAL Carry Lab employee, Seymour Butts. “Consoles and handhelds are relics of the past, and will never be viable again as a gaming medium.”
We at The Gaming Rebellion are excited to see what the future holds, and will update you further as this story develops.