DP’s Games Crunch 2009 Part #2

January 7th, 2010




Welcome to Part #2 of my 2009 overview of completed games, Part #1 can be found here. I seem to have written lengthier entries in this one. Enjoy!


GTA: Chinatown Wars


Original Articles
Cross Blog Dialogue: GTA: Chinatown Wars #1
Cross Blog Dialogue: GTA: Chinatown Wars #2
Cross Blog Dialogue: GTA: Chinatown Wars #3
Cross Blog Dialogue: GTA: Chinatown Wars #4 (Conclusion)

A vintage formula not only retrofitted with modern mechanics and sensibilities, but creatively adapted to the unique DS hardware. The stylised visual-take on Liberty City blends the old, new and creative together in an engineering of modern nostalgia. Chinatown Wars stands as a representation of the collective strengths of the DS software line up: neo-retro adaptations and retro ports, player-conscious UI, cel-shaded visuals and slick ingenuity..




Original Article
Play Impressions (And the Rest #1)

Flower is great, and you should buy it. However, Flower is equally as great as the many other independent games caught behind its critical lustre and loving anecdotes. Maybe buy Trash Panic instead, for the irony.


Kirby 64


Original Article
Play Impressions (And the Rest #1)

Kirby 64‘s figuratively vanilla gameplay is akin to the puff ball’s original design, circa 1990. That doesn’t make it a bad game—the cutscenes are awesomely cute!—rather it’s just in the league of Kirby’s Dreamland and not Kirby’s Adventure. The hidden secrets require a mystical, arcane knowledge.


Eternal Darkness


Original Articles
Evaluating Eternal Darkness
Eternal Darkness: Breaking the Equilibrium

Here’s a slice of unintended irony: the flamboyant reviews of Eternal Darkness back in 2001 set an expectation for readers which only services the game’s very intents. By writers labouring the point of insanity effects, players entered Eternal Darkness actively pursuing them (purposely lowering their sanity meter and waiting for the fish to bite). In turn players were perfectly prepared to misinterpret the game world and thereby come to question everything within its existence; exactly the type of atmosphere Silicon Knights were endeavouring to create.


Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow


Original Article
Level by Level: Logan’s Shadow Episode #1
Australian Larrikinism in Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow

Gabe Logan’s second PSP adventure attempts to up the ante, but ends up a little contrived. Kinda like—a marginally improved—Quantum of Solace compared to Casino Royale (Dark Mirror), yet one cannot avoid the likeness to Under Siege. Plot leaves you hanging.




A classic through and through. Am I allowed to say that the jumping in the early iterations are a little chalky?


Super Castlevania IV


Original Article
Play Impressions (And the Rest #2)

Super Castlevania absolutely nails the “pleasantly frustrating” concept. Initially, the first handful of levels sucker you in, setting the expectation for an easy play though. The challenge rises, slowly rubbing up against your skill level at each stage, until progression is just outside you’re grasp and the hours go by. New Game+ masterfully keeps the magic going.


Wonder Boy: In Monster World


Original Article
Play Impressions (And the Rest #4)

Much more primitive than I ever remembered it. If you have kids and want to start them off with a Metroidvania game, Wonder Boy: In Monster World is the best option around.


Star Wing


Original Article: None

Technically wonderful, particularly the camera tracking and boss battles. On the other hand, Star Wing feels severely cramped and slightly unresponsive which eventually borders on frustrating.


Lylat Wars


Original Article
Play Impressions (And the Rest #3)

On a presentation level, Lylat Wars is Nintendo’s most progressive game to date. Contrary to its SNES progenitor, Lylat Wars feels incredibly modern and sophisticated for its time, making it a real delight to play in 2009. The cinematic ideals in Lylat Wars wouldn’t become popularised until a few years later. The last great Starfox game.


Sonic Gems Collection

Original Article: None

Everything on here is bad or obscure, but interesting nonetheless. Buy this for Sonic CD which is the most interesting of them all (enjoyable too, however not as much as you’d be lead to believe). Sonic CD exhibits an provocative sense of dated 90’s style with its tribal colour palette, crazy disparity between CD-quality music and 16-bit visuals, not to mention the “confuddled” level orientation and time shifting mechanic which seemed to fall off half-way through. Bizarre, but fascinating.


Resistance: Fall of Man


Original Article
Resistance: Fall of Man Commentaries

A drab and blurry pretender that’s interesting in parts.


Return to Castle Wolfenstein


Original Article
What Has Become Less Relevant (Return to Castle Wolfenstein)

I tried to care, but it’s really difficult to sympathise with first person shooters nowadays. It’s better to think of this as a re-skinned, single player Quake III, of which it is.


Prince of Persia Classic


Original Article
Prince of Persia Classic Criticism

The next-gen gloss is unimportant, Prince of Persia is timeless, albeit a little stiff. If you’ve never played Prince of Persia then Classic is the best point of entry.


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time


Original Articles
Prince of Persia Mega Compendium

Sands of Time transcends the low-culture guff that constitutes the sad majority of this medium. The narrative is tightly interwoven within the very fabric of the game on both a micro and macro level. In-game dialogue traces the Prince’s path to adulthood, while the overarching story, a narrative told by the Prince himself, closes before booting back into the present to conclude the tale. Incredibly clever.


Prince of Persia: Warrior Within


Original Articles
Prince of Persia Mega Compendium

The Prince grows a faux bad-ass attitude, gets some tats and duels crazy dominatrix bitches with twin blades. Low culture at its finest. The platforming gameplay—arguably the series’ defining feature—is fleshed out and offers a great deal of challenge to players with a thirst.


Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones


Original Articles
Prince of Persia Mega Compendium

Two Thrones tries to back peddle, proving that Ubisoft never had it to begin with. I use to think it was Mechner’s magic which made Sands of Time so fantastic, then I realised that he’s the screen writer for the new movie. Epic fail Mech, epic fail.


Bookworm Adventures


Original Articles
The Fun of Language Development with Bookworm Adventures
Bookworm Adventures Deluxe – Linguistic Observations

As ingenious as PopCap’s other core franchises, but fleshed out in the vein of an adventure game.


Super Paper Mario


Original Articles
How Super Paper Mario Doesn’t Feel Like Work
How Super Paper Mario Feels Gamey
How Super Mario is a Great Crash Course for Games

A hybridisation of the best video games have to offer. Supporting character are surprisingly atypical for the traditionalist Paper Mario series. Superfluous dialogue works wonders here, Treehouse is incredible—I blame the original writers for the surplus chatter.


Geometry Wars


Original Article
The Torturous Taste of a Magnificent Neo-Retro Light Show (Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved)

Compared to Everyday Shooter, Geometry Wars is severely overrated, however a very competent and successful arena shooter nonetheless. On-screen busyness mars Geometry Wars‘ skill testing prowess.


Super Stardust HD


Original Article
Super Stardust HD – Fresh, Spanky and All About The Space Junk

Super Stardust HD‘s level-by-level structure somewhat diminishes play time, whereas Geometry Wars is an everlasting gobstopper of gameplay, yet contains very little content. Chunking the game out over several planets also isolates the high score boards into a series of smaller boards which to a regular player like myself feels too complicated and therefore redundant—not so with Geometry Wars. With this said, I prefer Super Stardust HD as weapons feel effective and it’s a much more fleshed out and sophisticated experience.


Punch Out!! (NES)


Original Article: None

Once I’ve fully beaten Super Punch Out!! I’ll write an article comparing the two. Otherwise, there’s nothing interesting for me to say about Punchout!! that can’t be found here, here or here.


Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz


Original Article
Super Monkey Ball – Leading into a Banana Blitz

The sillies have taken over Super Monkey Ball for good, or so it seems with the inclusion of a skill-cutting jump button and level design which under cuts the series’ roots.




Original Articles
Halo – Building the New Standard
Halo – The Issues
Visual Connection: The Best Part about Halo (Vistas)

Clever and adept. Halo genuinely changed the face of FPS gaming, still loads of fun now. The second half however leaves much to be desired.


Halo 2


Original Article
Halo 2 – Additional Commentaries

Refined with loads of cool additions, but not as important as Halo. The Arbiter represents an awareness that succeeds its audience.




Original Articles
Uncharted and the Sense of Being De-equipped
Uncharted – Follow-Up Notes

Relies on a dichotomy of decently-integrated-but-stolen platforming and gunplay mechanics and then grinds these mechanics almost down to the bone. It’s good and the context is engaging, but also unimaginative and designed only to par.


And a New Year’s Resolution


In 2010 I resolve to improve my editing, if not hire someone to editor. The more I gloss over old articles, the more I worry over this. Even bolded text is occasionally full of spelling and grammar issues!