30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 14

14: Current gaming wallpaper?

I’ve never been big on gaming wallpaper, especially if you have to pay for it. That’s money and time that could be spent on games.

I did have an ace The Darkness wallpaper for my XBox 360, that I must have had for years. I really liked the game, enough to look at it’s artwork everyday anyway.

30 Day Challenge 14

At present, I’ve got the Playstation 20th anniversary wallpaper on my PS4 (though FYI, the above image isn’t from my PS4…I’d never buy Knack!) It reminds me of the PS1, I like the floating shapes and most importantly, it was free!

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 13

13 A game you have played more than five times?

An easy one for me this, there is one game I’ve replayed many times….

30 Day Challenge 13

I’ve absolutely hammered WWF Smackdown. I wasn’t sure of it at first, but I fell in love with the career mode and played the game to death, even re-buying it for the PS2 and PS3 a few years later.

The career mode is simply a big ranking list, where you must work your way to the top. Rising up the rankings gave you the chance to fight for more titles. So 1st – 5th place could compete for the WWF World Title, 1st – 10th could compete for the Intercontinental Title etc.

The goal became to hold as many titles as possible; WWF Smackdown is basically a pro wrestling gold rush. I actually did a tally chart on one play through – it ended with Stone Cold Steve Austin as a 29 time WWF World Champion or something ridiculous.

The gameplay was great too – arcadey, but quite challenging (more so than the sequel, in my opinion) with lots of counters, epic brawling, backstage fights and nerve biting 4 way matches. I use to win the WWF World Title then nervously check my match for the next month, hoping for an easy match…then cursing when I had to defend the title against Austin, Undertaker and Big Show.

I fondly remember my time with WWF Smackdown. So many memories….leading 667, the marine from Hell, to all the gold. Taking the colourful and tattooed luchador El Loco to the WWF Title. Trying to break through the WWF’s glass ceiling with D’Lo Brown, Ken Shamrock and X-Pac. Fighting through the midcard with Hardcore Holly….

I don’t ever need to play WWF Smackdown again, I’ve taken all the enjoyment I can from it. I won’t forget those memories though; few wrestling games have held my attention for as long.

30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 12

12: A game every one should play

It would be easy to pick a well known classic or a personal favourite for this question, but I wanted to pick a game that seems to have been forgotten and is crying out for a remaster/re-release.

30 Day challenge 12

It’s Dungeon Master, the 1987 Atari ST classic. It’s basically an RPG, but with a first person perspective. It blew me away as a kid…spells, levelling up, huge monsters, reincarnating dead party members….compared to Bomb Jack, it was like something from the future. It’s a shame most of my time on it was spent selecting a party at the start….I loved doing that. Finally, I had a great party, was doing really well…then my sister saved over my saved game. Moral of the story? Make your floppy disk stand out as much as possible.

I think everyone should play Dungeon Master because a) it’s awe-inspiring what an Atari ST could do in 1987 and b) it’s a fantastic adventure that needs to be shown to new gamers. I’m no RPG expert, but I know Dungeon Master is an amazing game.

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It’s thirty years old, but I don’t think it’s aged at all. There were some sequels as well as SNES and TurboGrafx-CD versions, but the Dungeon Master series has been dormant for over 20 years now.

I honestly don’t understand why there isn’t a Steam version. In my eyes, it would be a license to print money.

Golden Axe III (1993)

Before I get into Breath Of The Wild again, I decided to finish up a bit of Mage work by completing my trilogy of reviews on the Mega Drive Golden Axe games.

I like Golden Axe and think it’s better than given credit for. Hopefully, my review can change some minds….

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“After all, even the wool of a black sheep is just as warm”
-Ernest Lehman

HandheldMage1 “The following is a guest post by the Hopeful Handheld Mage.”

Title screen

The tale of Golden Axe III was told as a tragedy for many years; this game was seen as the final nail in the coffin of a once great franchise. Golden Axe III was the black sheep of the Golden Axe family – you had the much loved original,the lazy sequel, the mysterious arcade sibling… then the oddity. The game that no one knew a great deal about, apart from it’s inaccessibility. How did the Golden Axe series get from widespread acclaim to quiet banishment in the space of five years?

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By 1993, the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre had seen better days. Despite the excellent Streets Of Rage 2 coming out at the start of 1993, the genre was…

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 10

10: Best gameplay ever?

For this entry, I’m going to have to defer to a game that I’ve spent far too much time on over the years, a game that is partially responsible for me missing out on so many other great games.

30 day challenge 10

I know it’s a football game, not a great RPG or a classic 2D platformer…but I spent hours and hours on this game.

See, it was the first football game to bring in aging and development. So suddenly all the young players would improve and the old players would decline then retire! This simple aspect of the game changed my life. Pro Evolution Soccer went from ‘Obsession’ to ‘Life’ in the blink of an eye.

When I got the game for Christmas (I didn’t buy it on release in October, because I knew I would fail university if I did), I spent all day playing it. Well…if you count dribbling around cones trying to improve players as playing a game. I became obsessed with trying to make these players better. Christmas Day consisted of 1) playing Pro Evo 2) Christmas Dinner and 3) a tea consisting of Twix and Chocolate Orange ice cream. I don’t think I’d survive a day like that now….

It helped that we had a great option file from day one too. This meant that all the kits and players were correct (Pro Evo is notorious for it’s fake teams and inaccuracies)  and I could play a fairly accurate Premier League. I created a Leicester City team (one of the emblems on the game was their badge so that was easy enough) and spent the next year hammering the game. I played 11 seasons, won everything several times (bar the Masters Cup…has anyone ever won that?) and made Collins John the top all time goal scorer in European football. Maybe Pro Evo wasn’t that accurate after all…

Nowdays, I don’t play football games – I can’t love FIFA despite it’s improvements, Pro Evo has gone backwards and I know how many classic games I’ve missed out on by ‘chasing the dragon’ with subsequent Pro Evos, looking for the high Pro Evo 4 gave me. The last great Pro Evo was Pro Evo 2011, with it’s brilliant online Master League…I hate to admit it, but I think those days are gone….

30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 9

9: Saddest Game Scene?

Hands down, it’s Jenny’s death scene in The Darkness…it’s a tragedy and one that you are helpless to prevent; Jenny is trapped on the other side of the door with mob boss Paulie Franchetti while The Darkness is stopping you from helping her.

30 Day Challenge 9

What made the trauma worse is that, I was playing the game with a friend and he had decided to take a nap, which a) meant I had to endure this tragic event by myself and b) that I got blamed for it.

After Jenny’s murder though, there was no way I wasn’t going to finish that game; I was on an absolute mission and whupped everyone. It’s a shame the game kinda peters out towards the end…it becomes more narrative than game….

Still, it’s a powerful memory and one I remember vividly over ten years later….

30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 8

8: Best Soundtrack?

This was a tough question for me because there are many games I think have amazing music.

30 Day Challenge 8

However, for consistency, I’ve gone with Super Hang On. Sure, there are only four tunes to select from, but they are all amazing. I love their urgency – a motorcycle game needs songs that suit the speed of the action and Sega have nailed it here

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I will say though – the Mega Drive version’s soundtrack is a bit too soft and piano based for me; I was raised on the Atari ST’s grungy blast of noise.  You can’t go wrong either way though…