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Tobias Küper @Renegade1250


The Mission (PlayStation)

A terrible, terrible All-Action Football/Soccer Adventure

The Good
The music is pretty cool and passable, even though it's being repeated quite alot as there are only 5 music tracks found in the whole game.

Even the song featured in the commercial does make an appearance, even though it's remixed, rearranged and resampled.

The Bad
Just everything else, as it leaves way too much to be desired:

The first level is merely unpassable, due to having to hit the fusebox a couple times before the time runs out, which will result a GAME OVER (The time limit depends on which difficulty you'll be playing the game on).

To even hit that fusebox, you must aim at it and then press and hold down O to charge up your lob and then as soon as the charge bar is halway full, you must release O and then press and hold down Down on the D-Pad.

The rest of the game is just a barebones generic Streets of Rage/Final Fight-type game, where you are stuck in one area, and must defeat enemies before you can move on to the next area and do the same thing over and over again until the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th levels in each of the 5 chapters before facing the boss in the 5th level of each chapter.

There are two ways you can defeat enemies:

A - Shoot at them with the so-called "Geo Merlin" ball B - Tackle them (Which is highly recommended at the 5th chapter, as there will be enemies (who look exactly like every other enemy, but a different color) who will constantly shoot projectiles at you, and is also the most easiest way to defeat enemies, yet they take a lot of tackles to defeat each of them. Otherwise, it's a real chore to play, as the difficuly is very high at many aspects, even on Easy.)

Which brings me to another point: the AI

The AI is AWFUL: When you're in posession of the ball, they will desperately try to take the ball away from you, and while they're in posession, your health gets drained, and to get it back, you must tackle them.

However, if you're in posession of the ball, and you highlight the 2nd player who is not in posession of the ball, they will not attack your 1st player, who is in posession of the ball. Instead, they will attack the 2nd player, who does not have the ball, if you have highlighted him.

Each chapter will open with a first level, which gives you an idea of what the next chapter will be about. In the first level of course, you have to retreive the Geo-Merlin by using Infrared goggle to view the lasers, that you must slide below, and tackle the stand which holds the ball to retreive it, which then you must deal with the fusebox and the time limit, as mentioned earlier.

Then in the 2nd chapter, you will be introduced to force fields, including a trap, that will trap and stun one of your two player if one of yours walk into, and you must shoot at the trap containing one of yours who walked into said trap, to free him.

Throughout the game, you will have to deal with various traps, such as the lasers in the 3rd level, that will stun both your players and your enemies, flames of jets in Chapter 2, in where you have to turn around statues just to make the other statue on the other side look at the statue you just turned around, a moving Force field in the 2nd and 3rd level of the 3rd chapter, which closes on you and will squish you to your death, if you do not turn around a statue at the end and break the door open at the end of the 4th level, swinging ceiling lights aswell as bottomless pits in the 4th chapter, in which will result an instant GAME OVER, if one of your players will fall in.

Thankfully in the 5th chapter, you will not encounter traps (including those you've encountered before), but waves of enemies who constantly shoot projectiles at you as mentioned earlier.

Each player does have their healthbars, which will be drained from getting hit by either enemies or the aforementioned traps. However, when both healthbars have finally reached zero, it's GAME OVER, and you will lose a continue, as you only have limited continues before it's finally GAME OVER.

At each 5th level, you will face a boss, who will look the same in every other 5th level, yet with different abilities, and different ways you defeat him.

The first time facing, you must shoot at the hands to activate the lasers, that will hurt him.

the 2nd time, you must shoot at the force field that is standing in front of it, which when you hit a force field, it will shoot a lightining bolt out of it, which you will need it to hit the boss.

the 3rd time is where you must solve a 3-button puzzle by shooting at two of the three buttons (The code is XX-) to disable the jets of flames, then you can fight him.

the 4th time is where you must try and hit him until his energy depletes, but beware of the bottomless pit in front of you.

And lastly in the 5th and final time, you must defeat two enemies and then lastly the boss himself, which takes quite a beating, as it will constantly shoot projectiles at you non-stop. The way you can defeat him, is by tackling him first, then highlight your player who has the ball, and then shoot at him and repeat the process until he is finally defeated.

But that's not over yet! Next, you have to shoot the ball into the helicopter floating at one of the three windows that you need to break first before you can shoot the ball into said helicopter, which will then result in an ending, which simply shows two guys jumping into the helicopter, which flies away from the bulding that explodes into a million pieces, and then...... THE END. Wow AWESOME ENDING!

The graphics are really poor with blocky and uninspiring character models and backgrounds, which are all bland with a bunch of gray and brown all over the place (I know the commercial had so much gray all over it, but C'mon, at least make the graphics alot more better).

The sound is also really poor. Of course I already talked about the music, which is pretty passable, but thats nothing compared to the actual sound effects, which are all very weak sounding, especially when you shoot the ball, which sounds like you are throwing something (absolute strange).

The controls are also a mess. Moving your player feels stiff, and trying to shoot at something you're aiming at, is a real chore, especially when you're shooting at enemies, that when you're charging your shot on one of them while running, you must stop and aim at your target that is highlighted with a crosshair, before the bar becomes full and you shoot, only to miss your target. This can also be a problem in the 4th level in the first chapter, which when your shot bounces off, it will reactivate one of the lasers that will stun you each time, and you must disable it over and over again, only to bounce off more to reactivate more lasers. So it's best to not use the shot, but only on the hands that shoot lasers, and tackle your enemies instead.

The game only uses passwords, which will only be given, as you defeat a boss at every 5th level, which then you will use it to start the next of the 5 chapters in the whole game, and in the case of GAME OVER, start the entire chapter all over again.

The Bottom Line
As is the case with most PAL-only games, Microids games on the PS1, games from obscure publishers such as Microids, and even licensed games in general, this game is simply a dud in many aspects.

One whould think that making a game based on a TV commercial whould be such a good idea, only to result in very poor execution.

Games that are based on TV commercials really do rarely exist, and this is one of the few games (or perhaps the ONLY game) to be ever based on a TV commerical, yet it failed, and has since fallen into obscurity.

So unless you are a completist (and a glutton for punishment), there's absolutely no reason to own it.

By Tobias Küper on December 19, 2013

X-Bladez: Inline Skater (PlayStation)

The most dullest, lifeless, boring and the most repetitive Inline Skating game ever made.

The Good
There's absolutely no redeeming qualities about it.

The Bad
The graphics are totally unappealing with extremely boxy models, dull environments and poor animations.

You have an abysmal cast of totally dull, lifeless characters who can't speak, have no story, no personality and make no relationships. Plus they use the same abilities and use the same tricks, except that each character have their own two special tricks, one grind trick performed by pressing Up, Up, Triangle, and one air trick performed by pressing Up, Up, Circle.

The game only has about 7 or 8 levels in the whole game, with the 2nd track being the same as the first, but in reverse and at night. And each of the levels are divided into two parts: Qualify, in where you have to acheive a certain number of points to advance, and RACE, in where you race against an unlockable character with obstacles. And for every other level, you will have to do the same things over and over again, which makes this game get really old very fast.

When you first start the game, you will only have 2 characters at the start. But as you collect 6 monkey tokens in every Qualifying part and 6 Wheel tokens in every Race part, you will unlock 5 more characters, also including the Robot, which is the only character, who can jump alot higher than all the other default characters in the game.

The controls in the game are also pretty bad. Grinding takes a while to do, as, before you land on a rail, you have to press a direction and then Triangle to grind, but then you have to hold down the Triangle button, because when you let go of it, you will walk off. Doing tricks is as simple as in the Tony Hawk games: Hold a direction and press either square or circle to do a trick.

The music is just crap. Most of it just consists of dull sounding rock, cheesy techno and porn music. The music in the first level is by far the worst song in the entire game, that will make you suffer in horrible pain. Trust me. If you ever going to listen to this, when you find it on YouTube, you are going to suffer into heavy grief and pain for listening to this!

The Bottom Line
This is just the worst game ever made, and it's also the worst inline skating game ever made. It's just a shame that this is the ONLY inline skating game available on the PS1, and there aren't any better ones on the PS1.

If you're going for a full PS1 library, you'll be buying this game regardless. You can find it almost anywhere for dirt cheap.

If you're not going for a full PS1 library and you simply weed out the best, then you have to toss this game out with the clippings.

But if you're not going for a full PS1 library, and you still own this, you have to destroy this game immediately!

And if you're looking for a good inline skating game, play Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast and even modern systems or Aggressive Inline for the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.

By Tobias Küper on December 31, 2012

Retro Force (PlayStation)

A really horrible PAL-Only shmup from Psygnosis which had so much potential, but totally falls flat

The Good
The most positive thing I can say about the game is the music, which is not really the best music for any game, but it's passable and quite cool, although there are some music in the game, which can be flat-out boring to listen to. The most interesting thing about the music, is that 5 of the music from the game (which also include some, which are indeed flat-out boring to listen to) are surprisingly featured in the PC version of Rollcage Stage II, which is cool but nothing really that special.

The Bad
The first major problems with the game, are not just the gameplay and the graphics (which I'll be talking about them shortly), but the story and the four main protagonists of the game (Who are the ones seen on the front-cover of the game, which make the game look very promising.). I'll discuss about the story first, which is just the most ridiculous plot ever conceived: The story involves an alien invasion fleet let by Kyati (aka. The Ridiculous looking cat creature, as KollisionBR loves to call him, when he reviewed it.), who are ruining a New Year's eve-like celebration named the "Millennial Celebrations", by making an evil prophecy become fulfilled, which is done by stealing a green crystal simply refered to as "The Artefact", which provides protection to the main protagonists' home planet in their home city, which is just refered to both in the manual and in-game as "The City". The four main protagonists of the titular fighter-squadron Retro Force, attempted to stop the cat creature from stealing the artefact, but somehow they failed and are sucked back in time, and their job is to chase the cat creature through four different time periods: The Ice Ages, the Stone Ages, The Middle Ages, and back to the present. And in these time periods, you have to retrieve the pieces of the artefact by fighting four bosses at the end of each time period. Most of the story is told through really lame text-based colored dialogue spoken by the main protagonists in their corresponding colors, that are found in loading screens for every level that needs to load up, even the boss levels. There are FMVs found in the game, but it's just only the opening (when you first fire-up the game) and the ending to the game (if you manage to defeat the cat creature in the third and final level of the fourth time period.).

Now for the four main protagonists that you play as: As they look really cool at first, if only when you look at them at the front cover of the game, you'll instantly notice, that they are static, silent and very lifeless, and they also have absolutely no personalities and backstories. However, if you look in the instruction manual, you'll notice that it has descriptions and even biographies of them, which are never showcased in-game, which is just totally pathetic. Let's take Paris Tetsuo (The female character, that I used to be in love with, until now) for instance: In the manual, she is described to be a blood-descendant of Arial and Arian Tetsuo from the original WipEout, as a she posesses the same type of abilities that the twins have, as she is also described as a sharpshooter and it's also mentioned, that she plays a demon game of cribbage. However, none of this is explained and showcased in-game, which is just a total joke really. So unless you have the instruction manual for the game, you will never know their personalities and biographies in this game. Adding more insult to injury, they even share the same weapons and abilities, which is totally inexcusable, as any good shmup, like R-Type Delta for example, have different ships with different abilities and weapon capabilities, which are sadly not found here. And another thing, is that the characters don't make relationships to each other whatsoever, which is just totally silly, unlike other good games like Space Channel 5, in which Ulala does make relationships to other characters in the game (Including her hot flame Jaguar). But here in this game, Paris doesn't fall in love with Hawtin and Hawtin doesn't fall in love with Paris either.

After you choose your character and when you first fire-up the first of the 15 levels in the game, you will instantly notice, that the visual presentation is totally lackluster, filled with dark- and dull-looking textures and projectiles, poorly modeled ships, enemies and bosses, poorly designed levels and also really really poor animations that really leaves alot to be desired. The same thing can be also said with the sound, as the sound presentation (Minus the music, which I explained before) is really poor as the sound effects aren't any satisfying to say the least.

The gameplay is your typical Vertical scrolling shmup, where your goal for every level is to shoot everything you encounter along the way and try to reach the end of the level without dying too often (As you have 4 lives at the start, which you can get more by collecting a really rare extra life pickup, or 40 gems by the end of the level) and without losing too many credits (As you do have 4 credits, and you lose all of them, it's game over.)

The controls are for the most part, quite bad: As you move your ship in any direction, it feels pretty loose, which can cause alot of frustrations to some players, but you might get used to it, if you take the time to get used to them.

You have 6 weapons, that are the same for every character that I've explained before. You have 3 standard weapons, ranging from a normal blue projectile, two red projectiles (which can shoot more, if you collect upgrades for it) and a lightning bolt (Which can come in very handy against bosses), and you have also 3 bomb weapons that are used to fire at enemies and objects that are on the ground, which differ in range and blast radius. The weapons can be selected with the R1 and R2 buttons respectively.

Speaking of upgrades, these are weapons are indeed upgradeable, if you collect an upgrade pickup, that is revealed, when you destroy a mid-boss in a level, when you're quick enough, as you only have a limited amount of time to take them down before they get away (They also reveal extra lifes, a smart bomb, a red gem and even a special weapon). Besides your standard weapons, you also have 5 special weapons, which are limited in ammo, but are alot more powerful than your standard weapons, but they can be carried only once at a time. Those weapons range from multi-bolts which hist multiple enemies around you, sideshots which shoots from both sides of your ships, homing missiles, rockets and plasma balls. Besides, you also have a smart bomb, which destroys small enemies and objects nearby, aswell as damaging your boss with some more damage, all around you, but just like with those extra lifes, they are also really hard to come by, but can be also obtained by collecting 30+ green gems by the end of a level.

The enemies themselves range from generic looking floating drones, tanks, floating turrets, bees, bird-looking things to TIE Fighter looking sentries etc. And you also have several bosses to battle in every level, which range from a bigger drone, a ladybug looking type, a floating samurai bot, a mech-rabbit etc, who of course expose useful items, but need to be taken down quickly as you only have a limited amount of time before they get away, as mentioned earlier. Some bosses however, require a force field to be disabled, to be able to destroy them. Most of the enemies and bosses only shoot small projectiles and some shoot medium size to small size lasers, which can cause frustrations to some players, as the difficulty curve can be either moderate to very punishing, as the game does get progressively harder as you get further. As you destroy a group of enemies or a special enemy such as a scorpion for example, you will also get some extra points.

You also come across really generic looking objects on the ground, which usually expose a green gem, an energy cell which recovers health but not all of your health (Most people have really complained that healthbars are not suitable for shmups, but I do have mixed feelings about them.), and also red cells, which activates a red shield, which will protect you from damage for a short amount of time.

As said earlier, there are 4 time periods in total. three of them consisting of 4 levels, and the final one with three. And in every final level of a time period, you will face a really hard boss, which three of them have two or three different forms. They range from a giant mech, a UFO, a giant two-headed spider and lastly, the ridiculous looking cat creature itself which does a really weird meow sound (Also heard in the South Park Episode "Major Boobage"), when you hurt it. Each of the four main bosses do posess a piece of the artefact, that you need to be able to save the world from the evil prophecy that the cat creature was attempting to unleash before the millennial celebrations begin, but fails due to your heroic (I would rather say clowny) efforts (because the main protagonists are real clowns.) stopping it and it's minions. After defeating one of the four bosses in the game, you do not only get a piece of the artefact, but you can also save your game progress on your Memory Card, which has never or rarely been seen in any shmup before. The game does have an autosave function, but it will only autosave your high scores.

You can also dive or climb into hard to reach places by pressing either the L1 or L2 button, but most of the time, you don't even need it, as there are a few sections in the game, which can contain some objects that are hard to reach in a standard altitude. Yet these buttons can come in very handy when you're going to battle a boss in a level, but beware, if you climb or dive during a boss battle, the boss will also climb or dive aswell. But you can only climb or dive for a short amount of time, before you go back to your original altitude, as you see a bar beneath your portrait of your chosen character, as you have to wait for the bar to be totally depleted, to be able to climb or dive again.

As for replay value goes, it's totally lackluster: When you beat the game, on either Easy or Normal, you will get a message that says "Play the game again on Hard" which is totally NOT worth it. The only unlockable item in the game is the NIGHTMARE difficulty, if you do beat the game on Hard, but even if you beat the game on NIGHTMARE (Which I doubt you would NEVER do, as you probably need a Gameshark to even do so), you would get absolutely nothing, not even the end credits of the game (even after the ending to the game on any difficulty rolled), that CAN be revealed, if you put the game-disc into your PC, use a HEX editor and look inside the game's files (Which I did and I also posted the credits of the game on the game's page on Mobygames BTW.), but you really don't want to know all this, as you would NEVER ever play this game ever again.

There is even a multiplayer mode, but that one is really poor: You can play up to 4 players, but the problem is that Co-Op play is only available for two players, and instead, you can only play up to either three or four players in two different turn-based modes: "Arcade Battle" which all players need to finish the level one-by-one, and "Relay Battle" which only one player needs to finish a level without having all players finishing it simultaneously.

The Bottom Line
Retro Force had so much potential for being one of the most coolest and most memorable Psygnosis games ever made, next to Rollcage, WipEout, G-Police, Colony Wars, Overboard etc., but it totally misses the mark by a whole lot of flaws that held it back from being one: Totally generic gameplay, flat graphics, horrible animations, a totally non-existant plot with a totally absurd storytelling method, totally static and lifeless characters who have no personalities and backstories despite the instruction manual has descriptions about them (Which are obviously never showcased in-game) and share the same abilities and weapons regardless who you choose; really weak sound and very poor replay value. I can already see and understand why many shmup enthusiasts (Including KollisionBR and JohnnyMoody, who reviewed it and totally dispised it with a burning passion) consider it as one of the worst shmups ever created. There are plenty of very good shmups out there, but Retro Force is simply NOT one of them. And as for the characters in the game, I would rather play Space Channel 5 instead, for it's much better and cooler cast of characters, including Ulala, the main female protagonist, that I'm insanely in love with (as a guy of course) and that I perfer over Paris Tetsuo, the playable female character from Retro Force, which I used to be insanely in love with, who also was the ONLY element that made me become a fan of this game, until I realized, how AWFUL this game really is.

The only people that I would recommend this game, are those, who either go for a full Psygnosis collection, a full collection of all PAL-Only games, a full shmup collection or simply a full collection.

But other than that, just stay away from it at all costs.

By Tobias Küper on October 18, 2012