Content about classic


The legacy of Tomba! is a small yet important one.  The game (and its following sequel) were made by a team known as Whoopee Camp, inspired by classic side-scrolling games of old and eager to make their own.  The original came out on the original PlayStation way back in 1998, followed by a sequel over a year later, and though they were well critically received, they weren’t the best sellers Sony was hoping for.  Sadly, Whoopee Camp was no more after the second game came out, but their story lives on there, thanks to the thoughtful gaming crew at MonkeyPaw Games.


If there’s one company that knows how to show appreciation for its classics, it’s Sega.  Over the years, they’ve re-released a number of their Genesis and arcade hits as digital downloads, and includes them in such compilations as Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection as well.  So it should be no surprise that it continues to beef up its Sega Vintage Collection, this time with a trio of games that, while not exactly fitting together in a theme, provide entertainment for old-school gamers and newcomers everywhere.


Since its release over the past few months on both mobile platforms and consoles, The Pinball Arcade has become a popular release with both pinball fans and newcomers alike, as the development team at Farsight Studios has managed to perfectly recreate some of the more popular tables out there for digital play, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! and most recently, Funhouse and Bride of Pin-bot, which are coming to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network next month.


I love Dragon’s Lair.  I’ve been an avid fan since I was a kid way back in 1983, and have collected a number of goods over the years, including a lunchbox (yes, really) and a poster autographed by Don Bluth and his team.  And I can play the original game backwards and forwards, and even name all the enemies that appear in it, from the Giddy Goons to the Lizard King.  So, yeah, when I was handed a code to check out Dragon’s Lair on Xbox Live Arcade, I was eager to give it a try and see if it held up as well as other versions of the game, like the ones for Wii (as part of the Dragon’s Lair Trilogy) and PlayStation 3.  But this time…something just doesn’t feel right.


This summer will be a big one for Sega fans, as the company has recently announced that it is bringing back the Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio for a whole new audience to enjoy.  Set to release in the next few months on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, the game will feature hours worth of skating and grafitti spraying fun, along with high definition visuals and most of the original soundtrack.  It's a party just waiting to happen, and you can bet that Beat and Gum will be in attendance.


A long time ago, before Rockstar Games got heavily involved with its Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption franchises, there was Max Payne, an Xbox/PC release that really shook things up both emotionally and with its action.  The story, focusing on a cop who loses his family and goes all out to destroy enemies that get in his way, is one of the better ones in the last decade of gaming, really digging deep on the rage boiling inside him – to the point he needs painkillers just to get through each battle.  After a decade, Rockstar has opted to bring the game to the iOS front, for both newer iPad and iPhone devices.  And while it’s quite the technical achievement, clumsy controls will leave you raging in a slightly different way.


For the longest time, Square Enix’s role-playing games have followed a usual tradition, a pre-set game pattern involving an intricate battle system or characters that could easily be adapted to, depending on their techniques and weaponry.  While fans can certainly appreciate such an approach, others can be turned off by it, merely due to the monotony.  But the company is listening, and ready to provide something a little different this summer with Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy.


Every once in a while, an independent game simply demands attention, mainly because it’s so different from the norm.  We’ve gotten a lot of these over the years, stuff like Limbo, Braid, and so many others like it, and they’ve gone on to great success for the studios that made them, giving them the attention they deserve.  Joining these ranks is Fez, a retro-style platformer that’s been in the works for several years over at Polytron.  Originally announced for a release in 2010, the game has been stuck in development for some time.  However, some recent good news points the way towards a release…and it isn’t far off.


Dragon’s Lair is one of those games that could be considered an immortal classic.  It got its start way back in 1983, when laser disc technology was king (we’re talking the big flipper discs, not the Blu-Rays as you know them now) and Don Bluth’s animation shined down on arcades, ushering in an interesting new technology that took the gaming scene by storm.  Now, almost 30 years later, the game lives on through Digital Leisure’s re-releases, and the company has confirmed that it’s now coming to Xbox Live Arcade – with a twist.


When it comes to racing games on the PlayStation Vita, you have a lot to choose from, between the kart racing shenanigans in ModNation Racers, the futuristic action of Wipeout 2048 and the sim Formula 1 madness of F1 2011.  But it wouldn’t be a launch party without Ridge Racer, and Namco has managed to push another edition out the door in time to appease the PS Vita owning masses.  Now the question is, is it enough?


Say what you want about Sony’s business model, but the company knows how to make good franchises last.  Case in point – Twisted Metal is still running, 17 years strong, with its PS3 release last month.  And now we have Wipeout, a racing series that has been around since the very beginning, under the guise of Psygnosis.  It’s been hanging around for several years, eventually making its way to every Sony platform, including the PS2 and PlayStation Portable.  A while back, it made a grand PS3 debut with the downloadable Wipeout HD, alongside its DLC counterpart Fury.  And now, the series once again returns to speed, this time on the PlayStation Vita.


Ever since they made their debut in 1999, the Boondock Saints have been carving out quite a legend for themselves.  In that terrific action movie, directed by Troy Duffy and featuring the likes of Willem Dafoe and Sean Patrick Flannery, a pair of fraternal twins set out to rid Boston of criminal types while being kept close tabs on by the FBI.  Since then, the Saints have returned in 2009 with a slightly lacking sequel, All Saints Day, though not much else has happened.  Still, the effects of the original film are hard to shake, as it’s still quite the favorite for some.


Sony is really making a push for independent game development right now.  A couple of days ago, the company hosted a pub crawl that focused on independent developers working on PSN projects, and on the show floor, you can really see what kind of original games they’re shooting for here at Game Developers Conference.  Among them is Dyad, a nouveau racing/strategy game from creator Shawn McGrath that will remind you of the glory days of Tempest, even if it plays completely different.


People could argue for hours on end about which Metal Gear Solid game was the best.  Some would say that the original PS One release can’t be beat; others feel that Peace Walker was a significant move forward for the series; and some will even swear up and down about Sons of Liberty rocking hard, even with the odd inclusion of a nude Raiden.  However, most of the consensus believes that Snake Eater, the third chapter in the series, is truly significant, if only because it takes place in a different time, telling the story from a new point of view.  And if you somehow missed this story, you have another chance to catch it, this time on the Nintendo 3DS with Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater.


Back in 1991, we didn’t worry about playing networkable games or developing strategies for first-person shooter battles.  Gaming was much simpler, a matter of just having fun with the likes of the SNES or, better yet, going to an arcade like Aladdin’s Castle to have a good time.  It’s here I first discovered Technos’ WWF Wrestlefest, a game that featured the likes of Hulk Hogan and the Legion of Doom battling in simple yet entertaining 2D action.  Now, 21 years (and several arcade closures) later, the Wrestlefest label lives on, thanks to a new App Store release from THQ.


If something’s good enough, you know someone will bring it back in one form or another.  For Sega, this is a common business practice, as it’s been bringing back several of its old-school franchise to the current game scene, in an effort to generate newfound success.  This includes a number of resurrected Dreamcast classics, along with the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and Virtua Fighter, which will come back this summer with Final Showdown on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.  Now another big game is coming back, and Professor K fans will want to listen up…


Sega’s House of the Dead games weren’t out to change the world by any means.  The company merely put them together to give arcade goers the chance to blow off dozens of zombie heads without feeling remorse or worrying about how the world would end up after we cleaned house.  You know, none of that Walking Dead crap.  Now, ten years after making its debut in arcades (and sometime later on Xbox and Nintendo Wii), The House of the Dead III has come to PlayStation Network, complete with Move support, some slightly updated graphics, and a few other features.  Is it still worth it?  Absolutely, if you don’t mind the carnage.


I love how the App Store is picking up in quality games.  Unfortunately, with that comes an escalated price.  Take SoulCalibur, for instance.  A decent port, sure, but it’s missing a lot of the stuff that made the Dreamcast original so grand, and it’s going for…$17?  C’mon, the Xbox Live Arcade version is only $10.  That said, there are some games that do validate their worth.  And one of them, believe it or not, is Taito’s Dariusburst SP.


We've seen countless video games based on the Aliens franchise over the years, both for arcade and for home, and while they may have been exciting, they're hardly the sort of thing that we'd call in-depth.  In fact, the closest we could come to feeling like we were in a true Aliens experience comes down to two games -- the 1990 Konami arcade game and last year's Nintendo DS release Aliens: Infestation.  But that'll change this fall when Gearbox, the studio behind Borderlands, will team up with Sega for Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game that really dials in the feeling of the 1986 James Cameron cinematic classic.


Know what we don't see too much of anymore?  2-D platformers.  Granted, we did just get Rayman Origins last year, which is absolutely fantastic (and $20 at Toys R' Us if you somehow missed out), but we mean like the classic platformer, the kind where you could go about your journey, collecting stuff and beating enemies with combos.  Well, Square Enix and TikGames have brought that feeling back with ScaryGirl, and while it's got its problems, it's still a haunting good time.


Remember the glory days of NFL Blitz?  This game came out in the 90's and reminded us that, hey, football doesn't always have to play by the rules.  Setting the standard for arcade gaming in the same manner as Midway's NBA Jam series, it really defined a carefree era, putting fun in place of straight-up simulation.  How we miss those days...but miraculously, EA Sports has brought them back with their own take of Blitz, now available on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network.


The Twisted Metal franchise is practically an institution for Sony Computer Entertainment of America.  The series launched with the original PlayStation and has since seen several sequels, including the memorable Twisted Metal 2: World Tour and the dark yet decadent Twisted Metal Black on PlayStation 2.  On February 14th, the series returns, this time making its debut on the PlayStation 3 and bringing its most comprehensive features to date.  You ready to go for a ride?



To be quite honest, Sonic CD didn’t get a fair shake when it came out for the Sega CD nearly 20 years ago.  The platform itself was questionable between the stupid-ass games that came out for it, and a few hardcore fans were miffed that the excellent Japanese soundtrack was replaced by mostly bland rock tunes.  But leave it to Sega to validate its long-forgotten classic by giving it the widespread release it deserves across multiple platforms.  Along with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, the game has also found a home on iOS devices – and, hold your horses, it’s good.


A little while back, we discussed the return of the arcade scene in a Barcades piece, talking about how adult establishments with an old-school flavor were beginning to pop up.  Well, with them, some old favorites are also making a return to the arcade scene.  In this case, it's Pac-Man, who first made his debut in the early 80's and took them by storm.  He's returned in an all new game, but this time, he's bringing some fellow Pac-Men along for the ride.