New Years’ revision

I keep all my “current” games in a plastic crate under my bed, next to my laptop (burglars take note). Every now and then I drag this thing out and have a rummage through it, as I consistently forget what I’ve chucked in there over the months, usually finding something good that I’ve completely forgotten about. So, as the title alludes, I’m reneg-ing the lists in my previous post because I’ve dug out some cracking titles.

Diablo II

Classic PC fodder and, whilst I’m no longer interested in keeping up with the PC hardware rat-race, it’d be foolish of me to just dismiss games this good when my laptop is more than capable of running them. Also, I really enjoyed the original and it’s one of the few lengthy games I’ve actually completed. It’s also not too heavy on the RPG side of things as to put me off completely, and Blizzard are masterful story-tellers — especially when it comes to CGI — so I’m really looking forward to seeing the sequel through to completion.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance

I helped a friend defeat the final boss of the original Metal Gear Solid game when that was released for Sony PlayStation, and quite enjoyed that brief play of the game. I subsequently bought an original Xbox with MGS2 bundled with it a few years later, but didn’t make the effort to get into the game. (Incidentally, I quickly became disillusioned with the machine and sold it 6 months later anyway, replacing it with a GameCube. True story.) But the characters Konami produce I generally find intriguing, and I’ve really enjoyed the recent DS Castlevania titles, so I figure I need to absorb myself in a Metal Gear title properly from start to finish to see if all the fuss these games generate is justified.

Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (Gold Edition)

I once described the original Operation Flashpoint as quite possibly my perfect game. It demands so much from the player in many different ways, from careful planning to balls-out heroism, from crawling around on your belly through an enemy infested forest to commanding a tank charge on an occupied town. It’s also almost exclusively played from a first person perspective, my first love when it comes to gaming (even though I’m pretty tired of it nowadays). Sure, it’s a quirky game, with piss-poor voice acting in many parts, and the odd bug. But, for me, the game just oozes a certain character and charm that’s irresistible. Coupled with the shear breadth and diversity of the missions, it’s just fantastic… and I really need to finish it!

Psychonauts

Last but certainly not least, although I’m ashamed to have forgotten it off my original list. It’s one of those very rare games that comes along and still has people extolling its virtues ever after. It’s also a platformer, a genre I typically don’t get on all that well with. I’m about half way through and so far enjoyed the psychedelic story and menagerie of bizarre, but genuinely likable characters. I also feel like I should rightly be burned at the stake for not completing this anyway.

Updates and alterations

I’ve all but finished the main quest in Portrait of Ruin. It’s been a fantastic game up to this point, even better than the first (which was one of my top games for 2006). The improved multiplayer support is surprisingly enjoyable too, even though it’s not a co-op version of the main quest—something to hope for with the inevitable follow-up (fingers crossed). The Shop Mode multiplayer game is pretty odd though, and I doubt it’s much used at all. I’ve had a quick look a couple of times, but can’t really get my head around it being anything more than an expensive cheat for getting the weapons from later in the game, which in turn I would imagine removes a lot of the fun from the main quest.

I’ve also since made a lot of progress with Einhander, with the music in particular being really enjoyable. I’ve also gotten to the third level boss in Ikaruga. The level leading up to it is really exhilarating, weaving between a series of pillars which close in leaving just a ship’s width to fly through; it’s one of the few games I’ve played over the last couple of years that makes you whoop when it all comes together, and scream when it all suddenly goes breasts skyward.

There’s one game on my original list that’s be bothering me some though and that’s Samba de Amigo. It’s seeming a bit unrealistic to hope that I’ll be able to play the game as Sonic Team intended, without paying a small fortune to someone on eBay for an original game/maracas bundle for Dreamcast. Miffy also pointed out that the third party alternative controllers don’t seem overly reliable. Which is a shame. Instead, I’m going to replace it with another music-related game that I’ve heard a lot of people talking about over the years—PaRappa the Rapper. I’ve heard so much about this game from all sorts of people, mainly those who don’t really play games all that much, and they’ve all said how very funny the game is.

So, all in all, the revised list looks something like this:

  • Complete the following:
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin [NDS] – just Dracula to defeat
    • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth [PC]
    • Ikaruga [DC]
    • Metroid Prime: Hunters [NDS]
    • Under Defeat [DC]
  • Play the following (to completion):
  • Replay the following (making sure I finish them this time!):
    • Diablo II [PC]
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance [PC]
    • Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (Gold Edition) [PC]
    • Psychonauts [PC]

It means I’ve got quite a few more hours of gaming to get through than I had originally planned, but I think it’ll be worth it.

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