Tuesday, 21 May 2013

100 More Gruesome Games! ( 36 & 35 )


Right, it's about time I cracked on with some more Gruesome Games isn't it! Still got 36 to get through, and if I don't hurry up it'll be Halloween again by the time I get finished!! So let's get right back into them....






36 -Dracula - The Undead (Atari Lynx) :


I've never really been one for portable gaming devices...I've always thought that I do enough gaming while I'm indoors, and so like to do other stuff while I'm out and about and be more sociable and look at trees and animals and people and things.... If I had a hand-held, I'd probably never stop playing games....



Because of this, even though I picked up an original Gameboy a few years back, I still tend to play the games via a Super Gameboy on the big TV. Also, I never ever got to experience the joys of playing other handheld systems, like Atari's Lynx! So after discovering this game via emulation, I'm wondering just what other gems I've been missing....




As you start the game, you're greeted with eerie music and a screen featuring the author of Dracula himself, Mr. Bram Stoker! He explains that using the magic of technology he is able to narrate his tale to you through time, and that you'll be able to interact in a way that would be impossible in his day! Which basically means you'll read a lot of text and then get to play a nice little point-n-click type affair for a bit before reading some more....


Once Bram has finished his first little bit of story telling, you find yourself in control of Jonathan Harker, who is staying at Dracula's Castle with a view to doing some business with the old count. Using a slightly odd interface that takes a little bit of getting used to, you can wander the rooms and interact with various doors, cupboards and objects in order to advance the story...

Some doors and objects can be tricky to see, mainly because of the graphical limitations of the system. It took me quite a while to discover a door at the back of the antechamber where I started for instance, as I couldn't make it out by looking at the screen and only discovered it when I saw "door" pop up as I walked past...
But you'll soon get used to hunting around everywhere and trying every command available to find things and work stuff out, and it becomes a little easier to play. And then you'll find your way to the Dining Room, where you'll meet our old pal Dracula himself!
                                                                               
It can still be a bit tricky to work out what you have to do sometimes, and I'll admit I had to cheat a couple of times and look at a walkthrough to progress... but I reckon if you were a bit more patient than me you would probably discover what to do by yourself eventually anyway....


But yeah, I still haven't finished it...and I would have had to start again anyway, as I discovered that when you find your notebook, you have to keep using it every now and again to take notes...or when you get to the end of the game, you'll get a bad ending and need to play again for a good one!







It is a good little game though, and has lots of nice cut-scenes and sound effects that help add to the classic horror atmosphere! But I suppose it won't be for everyone, as the puzzles can frustrate and there is a lot of text in the game, although if you like such stuff and want a nice little spooky treat,  you could do a lot worse than this! Oh.. and it sticks close to the book! It even has the Dracula crawling down the wall bit in it!!






35 - Chakan The Forever Man (Megadrive/Genesis) :


Way back in the mists of time, when sorcerors and warriors still held sway over the lands, a swordsman named Chakan reckoned he was pretty good at the death-dealing business, slaying anyone and everyone who crossed his path and didn't bow to his greatness. So sure was he of his abilities that he'd often boast that one day, Death himself would fall at his feet after being bested in battle....

Some fearful wizards and gods decided to test this claim, and using a mysterious ancient ritual summoned Death to the world, where he found Chakan on a misty plain and proposed a wager...Happy with the souls that Chakan had sent him over the years, Death decided that although Chakan had become far too powerful he would offer him immortality if he could actually beat Death in battle! Chakan accepted, and after many days actually achieved what no-one had ever managed before...Death lay at his feet!



Chakan called upon Death to acknowledge the wager and bestow immortality upon him.....Death honoured the agreement, but as always when you do dealings with the reaper, it came with a few unwanted extras.... Stripped of most of his powers and with a face changed to resemble that of his fallen foe, Chakan was cursed to walk eternity in constant pain and suffering, only being able to find peace if the last of the dark beings was slain, and evil was ended....


Starting life as a comic strip by Robert A. Kraus, Chakan was licenced and became a Sega Genesis game...one that has been tormenting my existence since I first picked it up almost 15 years ago. The game picks up the story after Chakan has been cursed, with Death telling him if he slays all the evil lords he will lift the curse and be able to die in peace....But this is a task that is easier said than done! This is quite possibly one of the hardest games ever! 


You start the game in a hub world, able to choose one of four elemental stages...Earth, Air, Fire & Water...via doors which will teleport you to the different realms. These individual realms consist of three levels of platforming and a boss stage. However, once these levels are completed, you've only cleared the "terrestrial plane" and a further 3 levels and a boss await for each of the four elements!





As I've already mentioned, you'll have to get really good at the game if you want to see the later levels, as it is far from easy...I've had the game for years, but have never gotten further than the first few levels! I was sure I had beaten it at some point, but after going back and playing it I realise that I must have been thinking of something else....Luckily, the fact you can pick different levels from the start means you'll still get to see a decent variety of stuff, even if you are rubbish at it...

Despite being insanely difficult, the atmosphere and playability of the game mean that it's still one of my favourite games on the Megadrive. It has a dark, depressing feel that was a bit different from other games around at the time, and I've always felt that the setting and story would make for an awesome sequel on a modern console or PC....In fact, a sequel was planned for the Dreamcast, but for whatever reason this was cancelled. Interestingly though, it was later revealed that a lot of the concepts and designs were actually later used in the Legacy of Kain game Blood Omen 2

Below is an animation video of what the Chakan model would have looked like in the Dreamcast game...someone needs to get on the case and get a new Chakan released on the next-gen machines I reckon! The story is perfect for videogames....

video


I also managed to pick up the Chakan The Forever Man - The Compendium comic just after I decided to include Chakan in the list, and the drawing you can see at the top of the post comes from it's cover. Anyone interested in Chakan as a character would be well advised to hunt down the comic strips as well as the game, as the atmosphere and general groovyness of the story is present in those too! Here's a couple of pics of some of the stuff you can find in its pages.... 

 So yeah, if this sounds interesting and you've yet to play the game, I heartily recommend you seek it out and add it to your collection...unless of course you hate difficult games! If that's the case you should run screaming in the opposite direction! Although it's rather odd that other really hard games infuriate me to the point of making me want to destroy every copy on the planet, but this one, possibly the hardest game I've played,  just makes me want to try again and again until I beat it!?  I can't quite understand it....but yeah, choose your own fate wisely!









Thursday, 9 May 2013

Massive Load Of Pick-Ups & Stuff ! (Part 2)




Okay, so I promised you Spectrum games...well you'll have to wait for those as they're at my flat and I'm writing this at my parents...but here's some more of the stuff I've picked up recently! Above and below you can see some of the Garbage Pail Kid posters I picked up off a chap on Ebay...planning to get some more of those soon! They cost £3 each, apart from the Eat My Face one which was £8, and that's now shot up to just under £30 selling from the same chap for some reason!! Was lucky I got it when I did then! They all came with the original wrapper too, which was nice....





And here's some PS1 games I managed to find in a charity shop for 50p each....oh, apart from ONE....that cost me £2.99 from a video game shop called Gamesmaster in Edinburgh...




Next we have the first in a big batch of PS2 games I've amassed over the last couple of months....think my collection must have grown to about 350 PS2 games now! Most of these cost a £1, but there were some that were a bit more....don't think any were more than a £3 though!








And here's some more boxed toys! The Guitar Hero Lars was £3 from a charity shop, and the N-Fested Stretch Screamer was from Ebay, but can't remember how much that cost exactly...think it was about £4!



Some more comics next....here's some 2000ADs and a Spiderman comic I discovered in a Shelter charity shop yesterday, all for 50p each!







And these books were some more good charity shop finds! The rather weighty Commando book was £3.00, the Anime Explosion was £2.00 and the Fighting Fantasy Gamebook was £1.50...I couldn't find a price on the Fable novel, so the chap behind the counter gave me it for 50p when I bought it along with the Anime book! And as an added bonus, it still has an unscratched code for a unique Fable 3 weapon download in the back!! Yay!!




Finally here's some Wii Games I found in a local exchange shop for £2 each, and Dishonored on the 360 which cost me £10 from CEX...Oh, and Midtown Madness 3 on Xbox which I picked up for a £1....it doesn't have an inlay, as I think it must have come bundled with an Xbox or something originally...






Phew! More books and comics still to come in the next pick-up post, as well as those Spectrum games! And we've barely scratched the surface with the PS2 stuff.......See ya soon for more then! 




Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Who Will Stop The Hulk?? (or How Violent Videogames Benefit Anger Management! )






In February 1983,  Marvel comics decided to jump on the button-bashing bandwagon and try their hand at a video games magazine! Blip was filled with tips on the latest releases, various video game related features and loads of other cool computer type stuff..




But it was also home to some rather bizarre comic strips in a couple of issues, where heroes indulged in some joystick juggling action! In the following strip from Issue 7 for instance, we can see that despite various objections over the years about violent video games, it would appear that there's nothing better to calm down a green, gamma-radiated giant than smashing a few virtual robots heads in!

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk

Apparently, Rubik's Cubes should be banned immediately from toy stores though! 

Blip was unfortunately rather short lived, and issue 7 was its last... Rather a shame really, as it would have been nice to see what Wolverine would have made of  the X-Men arcade game a few years later......