Archive for the Games Category

Resident Evil 3: Finally!

Posted in Games, Resident Evil on September 14, 2020 by slateman

I’ve played a lot of Resident Evil. I’ve beaten almost every major entry barring one light-gun game, the Outbreak entries, Code Veronica and Resident Evil 3. Most are old and outdated now and I don’t expect I’ll ever go back to play them. But after Resident Evil 2’s spectacular remake, I was very excited about the third entry, having never tried it. COVID-19 threw a wrench into 2020’s plans, but $25 in PSN credit and a half-off sale made this a no-brainer purchase.

I’m only an hour or two in and with tempered expectations, I look forward to another fun jaunt into Raccoon City’s nonsensical world of zombie slaying and corrupt Umbrella employees. I thought I’d go through my history of the series, more for my own chronicling than anyone else’s enjoyment. Here are some quick snaps before the decades-long retrospective begins. Psyched to start this game.


Game Played? Beaten?
Resident Evil Borrowed from a friend, Didn’t complete
Resident Evil 2 Beat both campaigns – a LONG time ago!
Resident Evil 3 Never even touched!
Code Veronica Barely Touched – Probably never will
RE: REmake Too scared on GC / Beat on PS4 + speedrun
Resident Evil 0 Got farther on PS4 than GC. Don’t like this game
Outbreak My E3 Game of the Year but never beat it
Outbreak 2 I tried it – Don’t think I got far
Resident Evil 4 Beat five times…What’s wrong with me?
Umbrella Chronicles Beat on Wii, got far into PS3 version
Darkside Chronicles Never beat either Wii/PS3 – Got bored both times
Resident Evil 5 Love it! Platinum on PS3. Beat on 360 and PS4
Revelations Beat on PS3, fun entry
Revelations 2 Beat on PS4 – Liked – Didn’t love
Resident Evil 6 Beat all campaigns on PS3. Dragged on and on…
Resident Evil VII Beat + speedrun. Mia on Madhouse = too hard!
Resident Evil 2 Beat Claire’s, not Leon’s. Great game
Resident Evil 3 Finally playing! Just started!

Bloodborne In 2020 – The Best Game Ever?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Bloodborne, Castlevania, Games, Portal, Street Fighter on September 3, 2020 by slateman

The longer I allow this site to go un-updated, the more weight falls upon each new post. But whatever, just post whatever, whenever! I realize, each update is an insight into the point I am in life.

Right now, I’m writing my third book (fourth, actually) and Bloodborne is contained within those pages. A few months back I started anew – overwriting my NG++ run. I didn’t get far, hitting a wall against our favorite: Father Gascoigne! I dispatched him as my kids watched – something I never did before. This game is far more violent than I typically let them watch. However, perhaps b/c its hordes of undead monstrosities and not humans, I’ve allowed. This led to some exploring, recalling those nooks and crannies, once again becoming enamored with the lore, the lush environments, the brutal combat. My son wanted to see the Blood-Starved Beast and, surprisingly, on my second try, he too was defeated.

Lower Cathedral Ward, sending NPCs back to Oedon Chapel, hoarding blood echoes – I’m drawn right back in. It’s just that good. And as I write this book, I’m thinking of commenting on my favorite games ever. Thus, I’m ranking them. The top 5, top 10 and top 20. As I look at these names, the greatest titles ever, I start to realize: Bloodborne is up there. Way up there. Is it good enough to dethrone Super Mario Bros. 3? Today – I think it is. Bloodborne is the best game ever made.

As I chronicle these, I’ll eventually put up my list. It’s a good list. But damn, it’s tough comparing Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha to Portal 2 to Symphony Of The Night to Bloodborne is not easy! But it’s a necessary evil. More on that soon.

Return To Skyim: Impressed All Over Again

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Screenshots, Skyrim on April 12, 2020 by slateman


Ah…Skyrim! I’ve been meaning to dive back in for quite some time now. To enjoy the updated visuals, to relive the experience and to stumble upon countless things I never even saw during my first hundred hours or so. (I’ve no clue how long I played initially).

But, I was hesitant. My first playthrough was interrupted by a several-month-long hiatus. I recall the gameplay being the weakest portion of the game. I’ve also re-purchased updated games in recent years and never even got around to really playing them. However, after completing top-20-ever God Of War (2018), being mired in a months-long lockdown and having a few bucks in my wallet after selling some books, the $14 reduced-price tag inspired me to take the leap.

I was immediately drawn back in to the game’s world. Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack is easily one of the best ever produced, with inspiring crescendos and heroic heights joining themes of exploration and discovery. Even its implementation is remarkable: from how music plays even during load screens to how it fades out when needed. These match the game’s phenomenal visuals perfectly. Towns are alive with details, water shimmers as it flows and those nighttime skies are things of beauty!

My game is a bit different this time as well. I’m making different choices and also checking on Lydia constantly so to avoid prior mistakes. I’m pondering the wife choices while stumbling upon DLC content I never saw. I’m visiting new areas, saving incessantly and falling into the familiar trappings of spending an hour getting distracted between here and there. Most importantly, however, is the fact that I’m loving every minute of it. This game is simply spectacular and I’m thrilled to have jumped back in. Here’s to the next hundred hours or so!!!

Demon’s Tilt: 916 Million!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments on March 23, 2020 by slateman

I’ve been a bit stuck in Demon’s Tilt. After that legendary 400-million point run, I’ve found myself not progressing much at all. All of that changed today, however. The first ball was going rather well and now that I know how to aim for rituals (each of the three tiers has a six-letter word – complete all 18 for Wizard Mode), I focus mainly on those. Things were going really quite well and other than a shitty second ball (200 million on ball #1, a mere 24 on #2) after having a 99 multiplier, my third and final attempt was nearing my first Wizard Mode. Upon initiating this souped-up mode, the entire board is enshrouded in flames and I’m pretty sure I had five balls going at once. I started at 450 million or so and those numbers just got insane fast. 500, 600, 700, 800 million!!! The boost in numbers was just absurd. Looking at those crazy high scores in the past, it made me wonder how it was all possible. Wizard Mode is how it’s possible.

It was intense and thrilling and cements the game as one of the best ever. Wow, that was exciting.

Shadow Of The Colossus: Better Late Than Never!

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Screenshots with tags on March 18, 2020 by slateman

Way back in 2005 I played Shadow Of The Colossus but never completed it. While I was enamored with its uniqueness, its vision and purpose, there’s no secret the game didn’t run particularly well.

A number of years later it was released on the Playstation 3 with updated visuals. The new iteration, by Bluepoint, was pretty good, but it was based on the same skeleton of the original and I lost interest around colossus #7 or 8, much like I had a number of years prior.

With Bluepoint’s return and total reimaging of the game on the fourth Playstation, I opted to venture yet again into this world but unlike those prior attempts, I completed the game for once! The controls and camera sometimes felt quite archaic, but you could tell they worked hard to bring it up-to-date without losing the original’s magic and feel. Encountering early colossi for the third time (at least!) was a nice way to reminisce and seeing new ones for the first time was an impressive spectacle. The polished visuals, new experience and helpful photo mode let me enjoy the game like I never had before all while allowing me to share some of the more interesting and picturesque moments. I never beat Ico or The Last Guardian either despite playing the former twice. Perhaps for it too, the third time’s the charm! Here are some cool snapshots replete with spoilers, of course! They are in no particular order.

Demon’s Tilt: High-Score Progress

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments with tags on February 27, 2020 by slateman

This game is spectacular and is the best new title I’ve played in quite some time. I’ve been playing for score and managed my first 300-million run yesterday. This was usurped by a 400-million game a few hours later. Dissecting this and figuring it all out is fun and rewarding and may be the start of a new addiction! Until then, proof of said 400m game!

Demon’s Tilt: OMFG Devil’s Crush Successor?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games with tags on January 14, 2020 by slateman

I don’t even know what to say. This is a game no one ever could see coming. A spiritual successor to the best pinball game ever, Devil’s Crush? Throwback music? Three-panel high table? The woman’s face? Explosions, pentagrams, demons??? What is going on right now?

But yet it is around! Only in early access right now, this is the game I never knew I wanted. A 21st-century update to one of my favorite videogames of all time. It’s strange, because at first glance, it doesn’t look like a suitable visual follow-up. But as you get going, the board is just crazy: bullets bursting, demons exploding, fires raging, shit flying everywhere. I never got around to crowning a best game of 2019, but this is clearly my choice for this year. (I know, it’s only two weeks in).

Photos don’t do this game justice. Videos don’t either. You need to play…figure out the mechanics, see what’s going on – sometimes you can’t – and just absorb it. Man, this is so awesome.

Retro-Game Backlog Entry #9: Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists, Retro Games on August 27, 2019 by slateman

I vividly remember playing the original Ghosts ‘N Goblins in the back corner of some shady restaurant ages ago. The machine had two buttons on either side of the stick, but the right side didn’t work. So there I stood, playing this filthy machine with cigarette ashes on it, with my hands swapped: right hand crossed over my left. It didn’t help that the game was notoriously difficult to begin with. Certainly the button issue only exacerbated that challenge.

As the years went on, I played the sequels and spin-offs. Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, its Super sequel on consoles, Maximo earned me some publishing cred and later, the PSP’s Ultimate Ghosts ‘N Goblins. I never completed that last title: it was far too difficult. That would’ve been over a decade ago.

I find my patience for these types of game has dwindled. I don’t care for Mega Man games like I used to and a return to the franchise seemed truly unlikely. However, something piqued my interest as I sat in my newest temporary quarters, with Vesuvius in the distance. Given my passion for using save states, the series might not seem so daunting. Of course I would be mistaken in that regard, but the real question was: which game should I go back to? After some research, it was decided! the SNES game it would be! Like many other titles on this backlog, I’d played this iteration before but didn’t think I ever beat it. Now having played it again (and twice), I can verify – there’s no way in goddamn hell I beat this game.

To begin, the start is oh-so-familiar. The graveyard, the music, the weapons. Everyone who has played any of these titles will feel right at home and the new double-jump mechanic opens things up quite a bit, especially given the unforgiving jumping controls. Each of the first few stages is broken into two uniquely-different segments. Here we have the standard cemetery followed by a watery section with waves crashing over you. While this is not a truly difficult portion (and I played on standard difficulty), it’s riddled with memorization sections that inevitably lead to death your first run through. Even with my cheating ways of save states, this game demanded a specific set of memorized jumps and perfect setups. Skull platforms roll towards you requiring rigid timing. Enemies appear just as Arthur launches himself. It was perfectly normal for the time, but damn frustrating decades later.

The second stage begins on a haunted ship before asking you to navigate the waters on rafts. Stage three descended into fiery depths while five was the standard icy world. This one came with fantastic rain effects and the best song of the above-average soundtrack. These straddled a fourth level that showed off Nintendo’s Mode 7 effects, spinning the stage around as you went along new paths. It was unique and showy and quite entertaining. However, when the sixth stage began, the stages no longer split and the endgame was present. These two levels culminated in Astaroth and Nebiroth battles which were demanding, but not impossible. The biggest issue was with controlling jumps and the commitment once you did jump. These could ruin your run quickly. However, another concern with the latter boss was time. After taking quite a while to reach the second Astaroth, I barely beat him before time ran out. Sadly, Nebiroth followed and with a scant 20 seconds remaining, the only solution was to restart the stage all over again. It felt a wee bit too bullshitty for me, so I tossed on an infinite time code and beat his ass. I have no shame.

Speaking of bosses, there were several impressive ones. The cockatrice, a 360 centipede dude, a hydra and some frozen monstrosity were all generally fair challenges. The expected animations were there in spades and for the most part, it wasn’t the hardest game ever. Unfortunately, defeating the final boss revealed that you simply couldn’t see the game’s true ending on the first run. A second was required with a specific weapon in order to fight the real final boss. This is par for the course w/ GNG games, but it was something I gladly had forgotten about. Play again? Hrmph…I don’t know if I really want to!

However, I really wanted to see the real ending and it turns out the GBA version featured an arrange mode which changed levels 2-5 and the Princess’ Bracelet could be found during the first run through. Thus, I dove back in for a second full replay. You have a choice between an easy path and a hard one which mimic two of the standard difficulties from the original. A third path altered those four middle levels completely which made the entire game a different experience. These came with new bosses and the fourth level was a revamp of the original GNG level! These were wonderful and made the slightly-downgraded GBA title a remarkable port.

This all made a second playthrough truly worth it and allowed me to fight Sardius (Samael in Japan). An intense challenge, he unlocked the true ending which was worth the wait. A bit of detail about the Princess’ Bracelet is followed by short details about a number of enemies and then a full credits scene, with Arthur and Princess Prin Prin riding off before the sunrise. The full replay really gave me a full feeling for the game and while I’ll never return to play it all again, I fully appreciate the difficulty the game and the series sets. I might consider the PSP game again, but not without save states! Judge me if you will, but that game was friggin’ hard!!!

Retro-Game Backlog Entry #8: Castlevania Chronicles

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Castlevania, Games, Lists, Retro Games on August 13, 2019 by slateman

Castlevania Chronicles (which loses the -s in Japan) was a 2001 collection landing exclusively on the Playstation. The remake of the Japanese-only Akumajou Dracula (itself a reboot of the original Castlevania) was one I was excited to finally play it when it arrived at the budget-friendly price of a mere $20. While my retro-gaming backlog has since evolved to include games I’ve actually played before, I don’t think I ever quite beat this game. Playing the arrange mode rather than the original, I found the rigorous challenge quite demanding, and I bet I never made it through. Let’s see how it fared, remembering I didn’t really even touch upon the classic X68000 version. Note that much like many other games of the era, Japan received the better box art.

This retread through classic Castlevania locales was fun and the updated visuals looked good enough when compared to traditional 2D sprites. It loses some of that magic of animation when moving into the quasi-3D world but Simon animated well, even with his strange new hair color and the setpieces remained exciting. Large bosses, colorful stages and some cool 3D techniques made for a visually-appealing romp through Dracula’s castle. However, its difficulty was quite the challenge and my up-and-down life rendered the experience a stop-and-go one, marred with hardware issues and long breaks in play. None of this truly diminished the fun, and my trusty SN30 Pro worked well, though I had some lag issues when playing on my phone initially.

The diverse stages really were quite refreshing, bouncing from the usual forests and castle entrance to blues and greens and bright environs.

Bosses were large and diverse, and of course challenging, however with three selectable difficulties, playing on easy mode at least opens the game up to casual fans. The remixed soundtrack remains one of my highlights, with new takes on familiar tracks and the official CD release made available later contained that and the original X68000 tracks. I didn’t hit upon them, but there are two MIDI song lists available when playing the original title. Several unlockables exist as well, with a small art gallery, which also contains SotN pieces, an interview with Iga (in the West, not Japan) and the like.

The entire collection feels a bit bare-bones in spite of these perks, but for $20, it’s hard to complain. Simon controls better than in the original, sections feel bombastic and the music rocks. Traditionally I’d write a lot more about this, but it’s taken me about a month to complete the game. I suppose I really should go back and zip through the original version. What I find interesting is that Iga took the time to remake this obscure entry instead of the world-renowned Dracula X: Chi No Rondo. (That took another six years – but it felt like far longer than that back in the day!)

Getting to Dracula contained the expected transitions: Death, a staircase before the moon and a pair of forms when fighting him. Their predictability was the only real shortcoming, to me, as that tradition is part of gaming history. The redone ending, featuring a crumbling castle, was dreadful but par for the course in the late ’90s.

Just for fun, I took a few snaps from the intro of the X68000 game, given here as larger thumbnails because of their odd number.





Again, this article should be longer than it is – but such is life. Why don’t you go back and review an 18-year-old remake of a 26-year-old game? That’s what I thought!!!

Retro-Game Backlog Entry #7: Alien Vs. Predator

Posted in Aliens, Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists, Retro Games on July 18, 2019 by slateman


Capcom was a well-oiled machine by 1994, building off the opportunities after Street Fighter II’s ridiculous success. Their side-scrolling beat-em-up Alien Vs. Predator was not the first entry into the crossover franchise, but it remains my favorite. I don’t recall actually playing this in arcades; it came out a little late for me, but I did play it via emulation sometime in the next decade and quite liked it. Will returning to it offer the same nostalgia for a 1990s quarter muncher or has it aged less well than its contemporaries? Having moved from temporary quarters in Sweden to temp quarters in Italy, now seemed a good time to find out the answer to that very question!

Laptop, SN30 Pro and RetroArch. Check. It starts out great, mowing down aliens as one of four different characters, each of whom plays quite differently. Of course I chose Linn Kurosawa, an awesome character Capcom has oddly not cashed in on enough! The stages blazed by with two different attacks, sub weapons aplenty and killer animations. The CPS2’s Q-Sound allowed for kick-ass audio: explosions that boomed and the familiar tinny gun sound from my favorite movie ever: Aliens.

However, at its heart, it’s a side-scrolling beat-em-up. How much more can you do with the genre? Little things help, with special moves, the usual food and point pick-ups and the lot. You can shoot grenades away as enemies throw them at you. There is a bonus stage later on and one level had you driving atop one of the mobile units from the movies. However, in the middle, the usual spin arrives: that the evil madman from Weyland Yutani (misspelled in the ending as Wayland) wants to harness their power, etc. etc. etc. Thus, for a good portion of the game, you end up fighting human soldiers. This was likely a good choice to keep it from getting stale but I ended up simply not caring. Segments felt repetitive and while the game fashioned a story out of the absurd premise, even that grew thin.

Cut scenes were spread throughout the game which was quite nice and it contained plenty of dialogue – a far cry from brawlers from half a decade earlier. Animations in these interludes were minimal but in the rest of the game they were spectacular. Multiple types of aliens existed with a bevy of attacks and hit animations. Flame throwers engulfed enemies in fire and the game was bombastic as it should be. However, with two bosses being the queen, it appears in retrospect the diversity of enemies simply wasn’t there. What was there was pretty kick-ass, I must admit. Backgrounds were colorful, detailed and fit the series perfectly.

In the end, my fond memories were not quite matched by the game’s fun factor. Released three years earlier, I’d just as soon go back to Sunset Riders first. It was definitely an entertaining run and playing as other characters might spice things up a bit. This is set to appear on Capcom’s upcoming all-in-one arcade stick, a great entry considering few have played it in the last 25 years.