user avatar



Metal Gear Solid (PlayStation)

A legend that put the Metal Gear series on the throne!

The Good
- Great graphics for the time

  • Memorable music

  • Atmosphere is perfectly crafted

  • Highly satisfying ending that makes one think about life

    The Bad
    -Sometimes the cut scenes would be a tad bit too long

-Storyline is a bit complex, but not so much as to detract from the game

-Controls are fairly easy, but sometimes you'd get stuck on a wall more often than you wanted

The Bottom Line
First of all, I finally got around to playing this game in 2012, and even with the dated graphics, even with all the other newer games I've played, I was wowed by it. I forgot I was playing PS. Pretty amazing for a 14 year-old game. This title is also leaps and bounds better than any other game on the PS that I've tried; it was basically the 'killer app' for the PS.

As special forces agent Solid Snake, you infiltrate an Alaskan nuclear storage facility taken over by terrorists, who are demanding the remains of Big Boss for some inexplicable reason. You must stop them from possibly detonating a nuclear device and save two important hostages in the process. As you adventure through the dark, frigid base, the plot thickens, with strange happenings and questionable allies. A weapon called Metal Gear is at the heart of it all (basically a giant robot mech that can launch nukes from anywhere in the world). The story does get pretty complex, and has to do with gene therapy, genetically targeted viruses, etc. Ultimately, there are enemies all around Snake with hidden agendas that even outweigh Metal Gear. Snake must do what he can to survive.

Don't miss this classic! You're doing yourself a disservice for not trying it.

By lado on August 15th, 2012

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PlayStation 2)

A great game that OD'd on storyline

The Good
- Wide selection of weapons and items; grouping option in the menu made things easier to find

  • Stellar graphics and locales

  • Controls are great, although it seemed hard to target enemies in first person mode

  • Fantastic sniper section

    The Bad
    - More reliant on shooting and killing instead of stealth; much more of an action platformer than Metal Gear Solid 1

  • Story is so complex and thick you can cut it with a knife; they're trying to make so many points it's hard to keep track of

  • Some of the cutscenes, especially the final two at the end, are WAAAYYY too long

  • Raiden looks a bit too anime for a game such as this

  • The final boss, Solidus Snake, looks like a Doctor Octopus ripoff, except with only two mechanical arms, he'd be Doctor Bipus!

The Bottom Line
Essentially, you play two characters in this Stealth/Action classic series, Solid Snake and Raiden. Snake fights through a prelude part of the game on an ocean tanker, while Raiden is used the bulk of the game on an ocean-based complex outside of New York City. Your job is to rescue the President from this complex, who has been taken hostage by terrorists. After many boss battles, challenges and plot twists, Raiden comes across Arsenal Gear; dozens of Metal Gear-type killing machines. I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty of the story, but ultimately (SPOILER!!!) your entire mission was staged by AI entities determined to see if human behavior can be controlled. If so, they'll know that they can control the multitude of 'nonsense' information on the internet, decide what's most important, and pass that story down to later generations (the AI can't trust the stupid humans to know what's important or not). At least, that's how I understood it. A lot more to it, but that's the gist of it.

The game is highly addicting and enjoyable just like the first, but I think it lost some of the original's charm. It seems like it bit off more than it can chew when it came to the movie part of it, and I think it detracted from the overall experience.

By lado on August 15th, 2012

The Godfather: The Game (Xbox)

You'll want to eat some pasta after this one!!

The Good
* Great to watch cutscenes from the original film

  • The style of the game perfectly resembles the 'New York' of the movie, from the cars and buildings to the prostitutes and gangsters

  • Gain experience ('respect' in this game) by completing missions and building your various skills

  • A plethora of ways to kill people (guns, melee weapons, your own bare hands!)

  • Plenty of save points spread throughout the game (they're in the hotels)

  • Create your own character; great to have your likeness interact with Al Pacino and Robert Duvall!

    The Bad
    * The silly part of this game is that even though you advance to become an underboss, etc., you still have to do all the killing yourself. It'd be nice to attack the base of a family with a bodyguard group under your command!!

  • You couldn't kill any of the Corleone family members; they all were protected from your attacks. I mean c'mon, everyone plays GTA-type games and goes off on a tangent every once in a while!

  • Pretty annoying to drive across town often to do a mission or buy a weapon (the game has five neighborhoods to explore; no shortcuts to get to any of them)

  • The purchasing of different clothes for your character just seemed like a waste of money and time; I didn't even bother really.

    The Bottom Line
    You take on the role of a low-level operative in the Corleone family. Your goal is to climb the ranks of the family and become the Don of New York, making all the other 4 families (Barzini, Cuneo, Stracci, Tattaglia) subservient to the Corleones. It follows the events in the movie, as well as a totally separate story of how you rise in the family to take it over. All the characters from the movie are worked in here in some manner, and you have plenty of interaction with them.

The gameplay is a Grand Theft Auto ripoff. You go around completing missions, side job assassinations, and taking over bars, nightclubs and hotels (a la Monopoly), building the strength and influence of your character in the process. You also have to take out the bases of the families, which can be extremely difficult, in order to complete the game.

Even though it's not very original, it's still an enjoyable game!! It's classic gangster style gives it an air of legitimacy over the GTA games.

By lado on April 23rd, 2009

007: From Russia with Love (Xbox)

Ahhh, Pussy Galore?! Well, who taught you judo?

The Good
* Sean Connery, 'nuff said

  • Wide variety of weapons and gadgets to utilize, as well as the ability to improve them as you go

  • Really captures the style of the original film

  • More than just a 3d shooter. Some Grand Theft Auto-type levels as well levels on gunboats and flying rocket packs!!

  • Unlock suitcases using the tester from You Only Live Twice, a neat little way to earn extra points

  • Multiplayer is fun too!!

The Bad
* Gotta love Sean Connery doing the voice acting, but he just sounds like an old man, which unfortunately he is already

  • Pretty difficult game; you'd have to be a fanatic to play the levels well enough to unlock all the secret levels. I only unlocked two of the four bonus levels and only completed one of them.

  • Can't save the game until you complete a full level; some of these are real tough to get through in one sitting. At least there are quasi-saves when you accomplish goals within a level, so when you die, you can at least start off from the last completed goal.

  • Looks like they couldn't use Specter as a name, so they used Octopus instead

    The Bottom Line
    A 3rd person shooter that follows the events of the James Bond movie From Russia With Love, but with serious liberties in terms of added plot (ie. levels that aren't in the movie). The game basically makes nemesis Red Grant a superhuman who doesn't go down the first time you battle him. Lots of heavy machine gunners that look like something out of Castle Wolfenstein. Face bazooka guys, tanks, gunboats, rocket pack flyers, helicopters, robot tanks & the final battle against Grant and his deadly spider machine!!

All in all, the game was a challenging, fun game. You'll be hard pressed not to imitate Connery's voice as you play!

By lado on October 30th, 2007

Jade Empire (Xbox)

Fun RPG that unfortunately lacks a little

The Good
- Wonderful immersion in Chinese styles of dress, architecture, etc., although who knows how accurate it is considering it's a video game

  • Stellar musical score that sounds like Basil P.'s score from Conan the Barbarian, but with an Asian twist

  • Controls are not too difficult

  • John Cleese's voice cameo! Pretty good voice acting.

  • Nice assortment of NPCs

  • The arena battles, a la Thunderdome or the Roman Empire!

    The Bad
    - Too short for an RPG

  • Linearity kicks in big time, especially at the end. Not much free ability to travel where you want, when you want

  • Even though 20+ fighting styles are available, it is more or less impossible to max them all out, let alone a few

  • Fighting develops into a simplistic hitting of one button and jumping around an enemy to gain position, hard to really fail in a battle

  • Simple character development and lack of equipment leaves you wanting.

  • Camera angle can get kind of funky during battles

  • Mini game (up-down scrolling shooter) is uninspiring and probably not needed

    The Bottom Line
    In the spirit of the KOTOR engine, Jade Empire follows the path of a martial arts student as he discovers his lost past, as well as his destiny! Your master has a mysterious use for you, but he is captured before you can find out what that use is for. Travelling to other towns and cities, you fight and charm your way to learn more about the Empire, its history, and why there are so many conspiracies within conspiracies. You must ultimately save the Water Dragon God from the clutches of the power-hungry Emperor, but who is really pulling the strings?

A pretty fun game that's worth a play, but by the time you start getting into it, the game is over. Really not a true RPG because of linearity. I was looking forward to a massive world to explore (I mean, it is called Jade EMPIRE!). But only a few locales to visit. Again, a good game, but not something I would put in my top 10.

By lado on October 11th, 2007

Enclave (Windows)

A cheap thrill with no depth!

The Good
The graphics were top notch and the system performance was excellent. Professional sounding score, although of limited variety.

Wide assortment of character classes, weaponry and items.

Replay value to try and win levels with different character classes.

The Bad
Apparently, there is a glitch in level 7 of the dark campaign where your heads-up displays do not appear; I had to fight through that level blindly.

There's a storyline, but it's so abstract and delivered so blandly that you don't really care about it.

The game looks like an RPG but is nowhere near that; it's just an action fighting game; deceptive advertising!

No characters are developed enough in the game, so you don't really care about anyone. They're all just mindless drones to hack up.

The Bottom Line
This is a fantasy 3-D hack and slash action game. Long ago, there was a battle between humans/elves and the demon lord Vatar and his orcs, which engulfed the world. A human wizard cast a spell and shattered the land in half, separating the humans/elves from the orcs in their own Enclave. But now, over time, the rift has narrowed and the orcs are threatening again. You must protect the Enclave from Vatar and his orc hordes. You can play both sides in this one. You start in the light campaign (elves, humans, etc.) Once you win that game, you can do the dark campaign where you take on the role of the orcs.

The game finishes with some cliffhangers to carry on into a second game. The game is fun, but empty-feeling. Even after winning it, you don't feel like you accomplished anything.

Final verdict, you could try it for an hour or two, but I wouldn't recommend this one.

By lado on January 5th, 2007

Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast)

Beautifully rendered sky pirate RPG! Arrrrrrrrr matey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Good
* Amazing graphics! The world is quite beautiful and all the graphic cut scenes for magic and special attacks are phenomenal!

  • Moving story! You begin to really care about the characters, with a multitude of dialogue and interaction!

  • Six different schools of magic, each representing one of the colors of the moonstones! Great variety of spells, plus an innovative way to gain magic abilities based on what color of magic you apply to your melee weapon in battle.

  • Ship-to-ship battles! Not only do you fight in standard man-to-man fights ala Final Fantasy, you can take your ship and blow away another ship (or very large creature) using a fairly simple turn-based combat system.

  • Very large enemies! It's intense to be taking on a creature the size of a skyscraper (the Gigas) in your tiny, but powerful ship.

    The Bad
    * Random encounters. It's very annoying to search an outdoor area or a dungeon when you keep getting caught in a battle. Sure, it's fun at first, but after a while it gets old and tired real fast.

  • Rough linearity. Although the world is laid out so that you theoretically could explore whatever area you want, you can't reach certain areas until you plow through the main plot points, thereby hurting the freedom that an RPG could bring. You have to obtain the moonstones in a pre-set order, rather than choosing which one you could go after.

  • Pre-set save points. You constantly worry how much farther it is to the next save point in a dungeon. At least you could save at any time while you're in your ship.

    The Bottom Line
    You take on the role of Vyse, an air pirate who is struggling against the Valuan Empire with his friend Aika, as well as his father. Vyse rescues an enigmatic girl named Fina from the clutches of the Valuans. In time, he learns that she came to Arcadia from a floating space station built by a long lost Silver Civilization. Her charge was to collect six color-coded moonstones that had the power to revitalize the Gigas, golem-like creatures left by the elitist Silvites to destroy the world if they felt that the world was too unfit to exist. A member of the Valuans, Galcian, is in league with Fina's traitor Silvite brother, Ramirez, to capture the moonstones and revive the Gigas in order to control the world. Throughout his adventures, Vyse meets a conglomerate of characters who join up with him in his battles, including LOTS of NPCs. Lots of spells and items, standard level gaining and ship-to-ship battles! At the end, the party must fight Galcian, Ramirez and the Super Giga Zelos in a battle royale!

Overall, an excellent RPG with only minor flaws; probably one of the best games on Dreamcast!

By lado on October 13th, 2006

Silver (Dreamcast)

A fun fighting game in the guise of an RPG

The Good
The 2D renderings in the background were simply superb. Very beautifully done! From winter worlds and caverns to lush countrysides and urban settings, the graphics enthrall you to keep playing.

The different worlds you travel to are all very distinct and interesting; my favorite was the 'other dimension' type world with the beholder creatures; very 'Planescape and HR Giger'-like.

The controls were a little tricky at first, but were easily absorbed as time went on. You could've used special types of melee attacks, but for the most part I just hacked and slashed with the A button.

The music was chillingly good; fit the mood of the game perfectly. Sound effects were OK.

With the exception of a few screens, once enemies are dead, they stay dead. I always hate random encounters that keep reappearing!

The NPCs were interesting, although underdeveloped. The audio for the characters' speech was top notch.

The Bad
The major issue I had with this game was that the size of your characters were so small on certain screens that it was hard to tell what you were doing.

Although this game looks like an RPG, it really isn't. You only gain levels when you kill major bosses (no such thing as experience) and you do not have control of your attributes. The only RPG aspect is that you can select different weapons, armor and magic items, as well as eating food and drinking potions for health. Essentially it's a pretty, story-based linear fighting game. And this linearity totally destroys the concept of an RPG.

There's a part of the game that mentions a crashed ship which contained a 'knight' from the sky. Obviously UFO references, but I don't believe they went any farther with it, unless I missed something.

I can't stand games with set save points; you do not have the freedom to save whenever you want.

The Bottom Line
You are a young knight named David who is trying to rescue his wife, as well as a lot of other women, from the clutches of an old wizard named Silver. He has captured them to be used as sacrifices (I think) to the ultimate secret boss, Apocalypse, who's a big ol' demon.

You must collect 8 magical orbs from across the world and use them to defeat Silver. You obtain these by either killing bosses or finding them in a labyrinth of enemies and traps. Once knocking Silver off, you travel to a hell dimension for a showdown with Apocalypse (with the help of Silver's old nemesis).

Bottom line, this is a fun game that is only moderately difficult. But, if you want a true RPG experience, look elsewhere. Although the game may look like a mouthful, it is not as in-depth as one would hope.

By lado on February 28th, 2006

Hitman: Contracts (Xbox)

Be a bald mass murderer!!!

The Good
Changing into other people's clothing for disguises was excellent. Of course, in any case, you're still bald! Being a hotel bellboy, walking into a room, and pumping some shells into the head bad guy with his prostitute is just good fun.

Gunning down a bunch of Le Chapelier Frenchies in their SWAT outfits was great as well.

The wide selection of weaponry.

Controls were a little tricky at first, but eventually got used to them.

Game is fairly challenging, but not to where you'll be banging your head against the wall. Can be won with moderate preserverance.

The Bad
Actually, pretty much nothing. If there was something wrong, I would say the lack of cohesion in the story. All of the hits you go on seem pretty unrelated, and I don't really understand the backstory that it tries to show with its flashbacks. Of course, that's probably because I never played the first two games! Best I can tell is you're some kind of cloned dude specifically designed for assassination (the first level is riddled with dead bodies of guys who look just like you).

The Bottom Line
Basically, you're a hitman (duh!) who is hired out by various clients to knock off various people around the world. You never meet these clients, however, and all the deals are done through an intermediary, a British woman who is never identified.

An extremely fun game. Has the look and feel of a Grand Theft Auto type game, but with a hint of seriousness. I played the whole game not realizing that 'Silent Assassin' was the rank to aspire to for each level, and I wound up getting the rank 'Mass Murderer' all the time. But I didn't care, it was awesome! Just machine gunning down 50+ people and dominating the entire level was the way I went. No witnesses!!

If you achieve the Silent Assassin rank on a level (ie. you meet a certain amount of stealth requirements), then you receive a bonus special weapon to use in future levels. Plus, you can go back to get secret weapons on earlier levels that you couldn't originally access (like the minigun on level 1).

I've grown tired of 3rd person shooters in recent memory, but this one was actually real good. Definitely worth picking up for $20!

By lado on November 10th, 2005

Star Wars: Obi-Wan (Xbox)

Eroooh. Destroy the droid army, you will.

The Good
Storyline - The Jin'ha race/group that was created was pretty cool, and then it goes right into the movie story. Although it does take some liberties with it, adding a level on Tatooine, where you must save the Queen from the sandpeople (actually one of the best levels). Cutscenes are kind of lame, though.

Sound - Can't complain; all the music and sound effects from the movies, which are all awesome. Although there were times when Qui-Gon and a droid may be talking at the same time and they drown each other out.

Replay value - You could replay all the levels again to win medals (time test, etc.) or to find all the secrets. Also, it's just fun to go head-to-head with any of the other Jedi in training sessions.

Fighting Darth Maul is always a plus...

You can kill friendlies without being penalized.

The jedi battle royale you unlock at the end of the game is definitely a good time.

2-player deathmatch between Jedi is always awesome, although it's usually over quickly for one or the other.

The Bad
Graphics - although this game was from 2001, the graphics for the characters were still pretty bad for the time. The polygon faces of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were too plain, with lips that didn't move when talking. A lot of the backgrounds were decently done, though.

Controls - The controls took a while to get used to. The response wasn't that hot at times, either.

No Yoda! There are rumors that you could unlock him, but I don't know...

You can't play Darth Maul in the Jedi battles, although it's also rumored that he could be unlocked...

Obi-Wan saying 'I'm not sure' got annoying after a while.

The voices are not the original actors (not surprising, though).

On some levels, Qui-Gon helps you, but no matter how many times he gets hit, he won't die. This makes things easier on you, but then it takes away the edge of trying to protect him to make sure he survives (until DM gets to him, anyway).

The Bottom Line
You play Obi-Wan, starting a few weeks before the events in TPM. You discover that a group of guys called the Jin'ha have developed curtosis armor and weapons, which they are selling to the Federation (it basically is resistant to lightsaber strikes). You go slice them up with your light saber, and then follow the events in the movie. Fighting Darth Maul was not as bad as it looks, but is still a decent challenge. And every time I heard Mace Windu talking, I was hoping he'd start swearing a la Pulp Fiction.

Overall, a decent game that I think was too harshly criticized by the gaming industry. Still, it doesn't hold a candle to the PC version of DFII: Jedi Outcast. Play that one instead.

By lado on June 17th, 2005

Warsong (Genesis)

The most enjoyable gem I've ever played. Period.

The Good
This turn-based RPG had 20 missions; all of which had different criteria to meet for victory. The delicate balance of how to attack an enemy (terrain advantages) and with which character always made things challenging and suspenseful. Plus, when your guys would level up to a new class, you'd receive a host of new spells and abilities. A wide variety of enemies and locales kept things interesting.
Extremely catchy music, and awesome sound effects (ie. death screams). I just loved it when your lord would launch a rolling fireball at an enemy boss, and watch his HP tick down to 0 in like a second; powerful! The characters, although somewhat underdeveloped, were still awesome. If you lost one of them in a battle, you'd NEVER get them back for the rest of the game, so you became quite attached to them and their performance throughout the missions. You could also save your game halfway through a mission, which was a plus.

The Bad
The fact that the sequels didn't come out in the US (although I have played ported ROMs of Langrisser II, which is just as awesome)! The music, though good, could be repetitive at times. The sprites are tiny compared to other games of the time like Shining Force, although this was probably a good thing since they looked more realistic and not like cartoon characters (of course the character pics are total anime).

The Bottom Line
This game was relatively unheard of in the Genesis community, which is a real shame. I've played Shining Force, and although I enjoyed it, it didn't hold a candle to Warsong. I know that virtually all games today are in real-time, but there was something about turn-based games that I enjoyed more. Probably since I had time to pause and strategise, I could take what was going on all in, rather than just hack and slash like a first person shooter drone. Definitely pick this game up; you won't be disappointed!

By lado on February 17th, 2005