Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Soapbox

So here's something new I'll be doing every Saturday. Mostly it'll be complaining fun stuff. I'm going to kick things off with a fun list - who don't like lists!?!

The Ten Best Superhero Games of All Time!!

Superheroes are a subject that's very near and dear to my heart, I've read millions of comic books, watched tons of cartoon and bought piles of crap to prove it. Well, maybe not to prove it but I think it's an undeniable byproduct. With the release of arguably the best comic book hero game of all time, Batman: Arkham Asylum, on the X360 & PS3 this past week I got to thinking; just what are the best of the superhero game lot anyway?

There have been so many clunkers in the genre (if you want to call it that) it might be hard to even come up with ten, but I'll give it a shot. Now, it should be noted, I'm not including any 'made-up' heroes in this. Not that they're not all made up but you get the point. You won't find any inFamous or [prototype] here.

On to it!

10./  Batman The Animated Series - SNES

This was one of the first superhero games that I didn't find a chore to play. It was stylish, had all the great characters that were in the show and was easy enough to pay but not a push over either. The animation and the art are really great, that's what I remember most about it. The gameplay was pretty standard 'beat em up' stuff but with some puzzle elements and gadgetry thrown in for good measure. I think the fact that the whole feel of the game is right in line with the BTAS show that was soooo popular at the time of release (and still is today) helped to really overshadow it's shortcomings. I still play this one today, good stuff.

9./  X-Men Legends/Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse - Multi

A super-hero RPG that was a dream come true. This is the type of game that I always thought 'fit' best with comic book heroes. There's plenty of room for character development and interaction as well as loads of action and button mashing a plenty. A monster roster of X-Men to choose from and the ability to craft your own strike teams of four heroes was fantastic and very refreshing. The control was tight but the graphics did leave something to be desired. Same goes for it's sequel, rise of Apocalypse. Both great games.

8./  Spider-Man - Sega CD

Yes, Sega CD. I don't even know how many of you are going to remember this one. It's honestly a very standard beat em up, with one major addition- Spider-Man. All of Spidey's signature powers are here and accounted for, the graphics were sharp (for the time), and the villains and story points were awesome. I'm not even really sure what it was that they bottled with this one but none of the subsequent super-hero game on any other platform had this kind of appeal. If you've never played it, do yourself a favor and track down a copy.

7./ Superman: Shadow of Apokolips - PS2

SoA actually got pretty bad reviews but I enjoyed it for a few things that it really does well. It's a decent Superman game, those are few and far between, it also has the complete cast voices of the Superman Animated Series (a great companion to the Batman show... and almost as good), and a cool Superman story to boot. That stuff aside, the controls are not bad at all and Big Blue's powers are all here and accounted for (and put to good use too!). The graphic style is animated, semi-cell shaded stuff and is quite serviceable. I have no clue why this game didn't do better in the press or on the shelves. It's no ground-breaker but if you're a Super-fan, this is your best choice for a game version.

6./ Justice League Heroes - Multi

Much like the X-Men games, JLH is an action RPG the breaks up the larger team into a customizable smaller group for play. The only real difference is that you can only have teams of two instead of four. I wish they would have gone with four to be honest but the balance is fine and it's fun anyway. Same formula as X-Men, but insert the Justice League. And that's why it's ranked higher.

5./ Spider-Man - Playstation/Dreamcast

This game took over my life and demanded I stick with it till I was done. No breaks for you! I loved everything about it, and much the same as the Sega CD outing- this game has all the Spider-trimmings you could ask for. Powers, villians, cameo heroes(!), story - it's all here along with a terrific control sceme that hasn't been done as well in any Spidey game since. The very ending is a goofy dope-fest (don't worry, it doesn't ruin anything) but everything else is golden. Spider-Man might be one of my faves of all time.

4./ Batman Vengeance - Multi

Take one part of #10 and one part of #7 and you get a game that's better than both. Batman Vengeance is a third person action game but has the look and the feel of the animated show. Although it's almost all action and makin' with the punchy-punchy-kicky, it excels in the storytelling and feel to such a degree that it really is like playing through an episode of the cartoon. Excellent stuff all around and head and shoulders above the horrible sequel: Rise of Sin Tsu.

3./ Hulk: Ultimate Destruction - Xbox

I had no idea I would like this game so much. It's basically just running at super speeds, jumping hundreds of feet into the air, destroying everything around you... why didn't I think I'd like Hulk again? The game is the essence of what makes the Hulk character so much fun boiled down into a playable form. It's great. And it even has a suitably comic-booky story to go along with the total non-stop action!

2./ Marvel Ultimate Alliance - Multi

Take the now tried and true X-Men Legends formula and add loads of Marvel super-heroes and villians and an epic summer-crossoveresque storyline and what do you get? The best super-hero 'team' game of all time. The groups that you can make (remember, four characters at once) range from the Avengers to the Fantastic Four to the X-Men and anything you want in between. You'll go up against Dr. Doom, Loki - even freakin Galactus! MUA is a fanboy's dream come true- can't wait for the sequel.

and finally, shocking to no one:

1./ Batman: Arkham Asylum - Multi

There has never been a game based on a comic book property that has gotten it this 'right'. Based on the comic book itself and not a cartoon or movie, BAA has the look and the gameplay to be a sleeper for the game of the year. The direction is top notch and the story and acting (Mark Hamil & Kevin Conroy!) is spot on perfect! Just as Marvel Ultimate Alliance is hero-team perfection, Arkham has solo action down to a science. There is crime solving (imagine that, detective work in a Batman game...), there's action, there's gadgets galore! I could go on about the experience that is Batman: Arkham Asylum for a while so I want to cut this here, but before I do - A note to all the publishers out there * Make superhero games based on the comics! The original stories are the best ones. You don't need to come up with 'fresh takes' or plumb the depths of cartoons and movies (as good as they might be). You've got years, sometimes decades, of creativity and depth right in front of you! Make games based on the original comics! Okay, that's all. I'm off of the soapbox.

I just wanted to mention a few honorable's here. Games that I didn't quite think should make the list but one's that were pretty good anyway:

Hellboy: Science of Evil
The Darkness
Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
Wolverine Origins
If you can think of any more that deserve a nod, email me and I'll post them here with your email or gamertag/profile as a tip 'o' the cap
Now before I end things I just wanted to note that the worst superhero game I've ever played is X-Men on the NES. It was absolutely horrible and had next to nothing to do with the X-Men. B-R-utal.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Serious Sam HD - the most poly's per krundle anywhere!

I was going to get it before- now I can't wait for it

Batman: Arkham Asylum Musings

Buy this game.

I could pretty much leave this right off at that and it would be all you really have to know. If you're a Batman fan of any kind (especially one of the Animated Series or the comics), then you need this game. It is the single truest representation of the Dark Knight in any game ever.

The graphics are excellent, the music is excellent, the gameplay is excellent - and the writing and voice acting is superb. Kevin Conroy is Batman and Mark Hamill is the Joker. Period.

I have heard some complaints about the villains that were chosen but forget about that- the rogues gallery is perfect. Too many would spoil the pot, not to mention any sequel potential.

Speaking of, I'll take a follow to this asap please. maybe one set in Gotham itself? Little bit of free roaming? Little bit of the cave? Soon? Please?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wii Sports Resort reaches for the stars (it's invincible now)

Not that it will really surprise anyone but Wii Sports Resort has attained the glorious position of 'million seller'

Official Release

“Millions of consumers worldwide have demonstrated that they want their summer vacations to keep going,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Wii Sports Resort provides both novice and veteran players a fun, virtual escape to a resort island with their friends and family – something that will be even more appealing as the weather turns cooler this fall and winter.”
Wii Sports Resort includes archery, Swordplay, table tennis, basketball, golf, bowling, Air Sports, Power Cruising, Frisbee®, cycling, canoeing and wakeboarding. The game sells at a suggested retail price of $49.99 and comes bundled with a Wii MotionPlus accessory, which brings exacting precision to games that have been designed to use it.
Nintendo’s internal sales figures also show that more than 2 million Wii MotionPlus accessories are now in the hands of consumers in the United States. That includes those bundled with Wii Sports Resort and Electronic Arts’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, as well as those sold separately at a suggested retail price of $19.99 each.
Remember that Wii features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other Wii features, visit
For more information about Wii Sports Resort, visit

End Official Release

Nintendo is touting Resort as a 'long-tail' title, meaning that it sells well over a long period of time and accrues an impressive sales total that way rather than having a blockbuster opening week and than fading quickly.  guess that's a pretty accurate dipiction of the whole 'blockbuster vs sleeper hit' thing. If you could really call Resort a 'sleeper hit', which I don't know if you can....

Nintendo Download

Jedi Battles, Marvelous Bubbles and Frantic Underground Action

Faraway galaxies and otherworldly fun are within easy reach, thanks to the latest downloadable game offerings from Nintendo. If the recent Virtual Console™ debut of Super Star Wars™ had you cheering, you’ll be doubly pleased to see its action-packed sequel in this week’s lineup. Speaking of sequels, you’ll also find a new WiiWare™ title that puts a fresh spin on an “underground” favorite. Meanwhile, Nintendo DSiWare™ fans will discover a puzzle game that truly pops.

Virtual Console

Super Empire Strikes Back™
Original platform: Super NES™
Publisher: LucasArts
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Fantasy Violence
Price: 800 Wii Points
Description: Pursued across the galaxy, Rebel forces now marshal new strength on the remote ice world of Hoth. Though tracked by probe droids, attacked by ice monsters and confronted by an army of gigantic Imperial Walkers, you must not give in. You are the Alliance’s only hope. Learn the ways of the Force, then test your skills in this fast-paced, action-packed sequel to the hit game Super Star Wars.


Publisher: NBGI
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) – Comic Mischief
Price: 800 Wii Points™
Description: Mr. Driller W is the newly updated version of the exciting game that challenges players with level upon level of frantic underground drilling action. Experience more than 20 varied stages and missions. Drill through a seemingly endless onslaught of colored blocks while avoiding falling obstacles and strategically managing your air supply. Multiple degrees of difficulty now challenge everyone from novices to hardcore Mr. Driller veterans. A tutorial will even help first-time players learn the rules quickly and easily. Vibrant graphics, engaging game play and loads of characters make this a modern twist on a gaming masterpiece.

Nintendo DSiWare

Pop+ Solo™
Publisher: Nnooo
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Price: 500 Nintendo DSi Points™
Description: Pop bubbles, build chains and try to keep the timer alive in this awesome puzzle/shooter. Pop your way through 16 waves of bubbles in Adventure, Normal or Advanced modes. Race against the clock in a one-, two- or five-minute run. Try the new Bonus Round mode, where each bonus round can be played in three, five or 10 rounds of increasing difficulty. Or just chill out in the relaxing Chill mode with no score or time pressures to worry about. Pop+ Solo comes to the Nintendo DSi™ system with eight modes and five bonus rounds, plus plenty of new badges to collect. Adventure mode introduces some new elements to the game with mines, golden fish, jets of water and four boss battles. The new Challenge mode lets you create and customize your own challenges to play again and again.

360 price cut confirmed by Engadget

Engadget ran this the other day but just in case you missed it, here it is again:

The Xbox 360 Pro (soon to be extinct?) is going to be $250 staring this Sunday, It will join the Elite at it's already 'announced' $299 price point.

Friday, August 21, 2009

That was fast-

Gizmodo just posted it up.

This is a very logical step for the Elite, but it needs to go below 299 if they're going to lure the casual gamer away from the Blu Ray playin' PS3 sitting at the same price point. I really wouldn't be surprised to see just that in, say, November?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

PS3 Slim is Go

Sony finally took the wraps off of one of the worst kept secrets of the year this past week when it unveiled the PS3 Slim.

The diminutive console has made some concessions from it's big fat brother in the loss of two USB ports and any and all backwards compatibility with the PS2 (or PSOne for that matter), still that's really not that much to lose to have a nice reduction in size AND a price drop of one hundred dollars American. That's right folks, the PS3 is now $299.

There is one little issue though, apparently the vertical aspect of the console isn't all that great. You really need a stand to keep it from tumbling over. A stand that no one in their right mind would buy by the way at a laughable $24.00. I have a lot of consoles in my entertainment center and keeping the PS3, 360, and Wii in vert mode is a necessity and there is no way I'm buying an over priced chunk of plastic just so I can do that. Actually that's probably the single biggest reason that I won't be upgrading (Downgrading? sidegrading?) - Crazy as that sounds.

I wonder how long it's going to take Microsoft to drop the 360 Elite down to $250?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nintendo announces a double-barreled Pokemon assault on your wallet

SANDIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Pokémon Company International and Nintendo of America Inc. revealed today that Pokémon™ HeartGold Version and Pokémon™ SoulSilver Version for the Nintendo DS™ and Nintendo DSi™ systems will be released in spring 2010 in the United States and Europe. These newest entries for the best-selling video game franchise were announced amid the biggest Pokémon video game event of the year and in front of the top Pokémon video game and trading card game players in the world at the 2009 Pokémon World Championships.

Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version return players to the scenic Johto region first introduced in the beloved original Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver games nearly a decade ago. The richly detailed adventure of Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver is now enhanced for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi systems with updated graphics and sound, as well as new touch-screen features and a host of surprises. Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version bring dozens of Pokémon characters back into the limelight for a new Pokémon generation – and longtime fans – to catch, train and battle.

“Announcing these much-anticipated game launches at The Pokémon World Championships allows us to give the news directly to the legions of fans who represent the true heart and soul of Pokémon,” said J.C. Smith, The Pokémon Company International’s director of marketing, who made the announcement on stage to kick off the 2009 Pokémon World Championships. “We want to thank these loyal fans by revealing the details to them first.”

The launch of Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version follows the incredible launch of Pokémon Platinum Version, which has sold more than 5.66 million copies worldwide to date.

Pokémon is one of the top children’s franchises in history. The Pokémon video game series has sold more than 193 million units worldwide since its inception 13 years ago. Additionally, Pokémon is the No. 1 collectible trading card game of all time and has shown no sign of slowing down. It boasts 374 percent sales growth in the United States alone since 2005, and is sold in more than 30 countries across the globe. Other extensions of the property include 12 seasons of the animated television series, which in 2009 will be broadcast in as many as 153 countries in more than 25 languages. Pokémon films and DVDs continue to reach fans in amazing numbers, ranking at the top of the box office in Japan.

For more information about Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version, visit

Pro no go

It looks like the rumors of Microsoft discontinuing the 'standard' Xbox Pro Bundle were true.

According to Edge, Argos (a UK retailer) is no longer taking orders for the Pro SKU and are telliing their shoppers that Microsoft is no longer producing that specific model.

It remains to be seen if MS will indeed lower the price of the Elite SKU to the level of the Pro but it's probable at this point. This is a very smart move on MS end - providing an Elite at the price of a Pro while still keeping the base Arcade price point, should really move some machines. Of course, this would really look smart if Sony does release the long rumored PS3 Slim for the holidays.

Either way - advantage consumer.


Sorry I haven't been around much the last week but it's been a crazy one-

Anyhoo, I had to post this 'Rage' trailer that just came out of Quakecon. ID software's brand spankin new IP is looking absolutely badass.

Watch and be awed.

It looks nothing like anything that ID has produced before and yet it's undeniably ID-like. It just has that flavor. And how freakin big is that mutant at the end!?!?!?!