Briefly sat down with In the Hunt last night. My Mom was right – these games would destroy my eyes. I’m terrible at shooters, but I’m pretty sure games like this are why I wear glasses now.
If I’m not mistaken, this game shares common creators with the Metal Slug franchise – it’s unquestionable that they both share a similar art style. While the Saturn version is hampered by slowdown, it is still an extremely good looking game – I’ve posted a few screen shots and a video of one of the game’s more memorable levels below.
Sega Saturn, 1997
Recently I acquired a handful of Saturn imports, one of which was Sega’s Last Bronx. An early attempt at bringing the weapons-based fighter into the third dimension, Last Bronx is a game that is oft-forgotten by Western audiences. While it lacks the luster and epic scale of its closest genre contemporary, Namco’s Soul Edge, Last Bronx is a technical achievement in its own right, and a solid entry in the Saturn’s vast catalog of fighters.
Originally released to Japanese arcades in 1996, the Saturn port of Last Bronx is quite possibly the best looking 3D fighter on the system. Though the Saturn wasn’t known for being a 3D powerhouse, it was quite capable of producing visually stunning ports of games originally designed for Sega’s Model 2 hardware. Last Bronx appears to run at a constant 60 FPS, and the animation (all of which is motion-captured) is extremely fluid. It almost pains me to say it, but Last Bronx simply does not look like a Sega Saturn game, and I don’t think that anybody would assume that it was without prior knowledge.
Unfortunately, Last Bronx’s gameplay is nowhere near as stellar as its visuals. Though it is a more than competent 3D fighter, it’s ostensibly a simplified “Virtua Fighter with weapons.” While Last Bronx has 9 characters (two of whom are basically clones), their movesets are relatively limited. Additionally, outside of the presence of weapons, Last Bronx has no truly unique gameplay systems to set it apart from the pack. Last Bronx is by no means a shallow fighter, but it unequivocally lacks the depth of its contemporaries.
Notably, every attack in Last Bronx deals big damage. It’s not uncommon for matches to be over after one or two combo strings. Matches move at a brisk pace, and each hit feels like it counts. Unfortunately, this very trait also makes play against the CPU a pretty unrewarding affair – it’s very easy to spam your way to victory.
But then again, the endings are so short, there’s virtually no reward for single-player play to begin with.
The Japanese home version of Last Bronx also features a host of extra features, including an extremely robust training mode, where super-deformed versions of the characters give you a series of “lectures” on high level play. It’s more or less indecipherable without a working knowledge of Japanese, but it’s certainly a novel concept.
Also, these are my three favorite stage names in game history:
While Last Bronx never quite achieves greatness, it’s quite easy to find it out in the wild for an affordable price. I’d recommend that anybody with more than a passing interest in the Saturn give it a shot. If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend Harry Nezumi’s extremely thorough writeup over at Hardcore Gaming 101 – it’s about as comprehensive as it gets.
Over the Thanksgiving weekend I sank a borderline unhealthy amount of time into Far Cry 4 on my PC. Far Cry 4 has everything I look for in an open-world game – a series of overlapping environmental mechanics consistently colliding to create hilarious, and often times unexpected results. Animals catch on fire, enemies routinely blow themselves up, and enemies can interrupt you at any turn. Chaos abounds, and to put it succinctly, Far Cry 4 is like its predecessor on speed. It may be hard to believe, but Kyrat is infinitely more hostile and aggressive than the Rook Islands were in Far Cry 3.
And my God, the game is just gorgeous. I’ve literally spent minutes at a time watching animal fur sway in the breeze. Graphically, it’s about as beautiful as it gets.
While I haven’t moved the needle much on the game’s story, I’ve been steadfastly chronicling my adventures: I hope you enjoy!
More soon! If you’ve got any footage of your own, send it in, and I’ll post it here!
As I played through Chapter 10 of The Evil Within, I found myself drawn to all the weird little odd and ends the team at Tango Gameworks inserted into the background. The textures are a little on the low-res side, but you can tell that a lot of care was put into the game’s environments. It’s easy to forget how much work goes into these games.
I’ll be posting a full writeup on the game later this week.
A few months back, I picked up a stack of random Super Famicom carts at a local flea market here in Philadelphia. One of those games was Ganbare Goemon 2,the sequel to the game released in the US as Legend of the Mystical Ninja. Ganbare Goemon 2 never made it the States but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its charms.
Unfortunately, what those charms are, I am not precisely sure, because I don’t speak a word of Japanese. I’m actually kind of happy I don’t understand what’s going on, because this game is objectively absurd, and it’s nice to be surprised by complete insanity every once in a while:
I’ll be playing through this one nice and slow, and posting my thoughts as I do so. Stay tuned for more!
 Translation: “Let’s Go! Goemon 2: Very Strange General Magginesu”
While finishing up my recent playthrough of Murdered: Soul Suspect, I noticed something slightly weird about the photos in the police station. Also, apparently, the Salem police force LOVES Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s literally on every computer screen in the building.
One sentence review: Don’t let your gameplay get in the way of your plot.