Reviews by psymantis

90

Designed for younger gamers.

psymantis | April 8, 2011 | Review of Ecco Jr.

Ecco the Dolphin was incredibly hard and frustrating but looked amazing. This game has a similar look but reduces the difficulty to a level designed for very young children. There are basic puzzles in the game but these are very simple such as finding your friends or simple word puzzles. An adult playing this will likely find the gameplay too simple but a young child can play this alone and have fun.

The bright colours and easy gameplay make this the perfect game to introduce a child to the wonders of gaming. The graphics are worse than the original Ecco but are still attractive and should keep young child's interest. I can't recommend the game to an adult to play alone as I don't believe their interest will be kept for long. It's a game designed for young children and it excels at it. My score reflects how a child would rate the game. The low difficulty would mean an adult would mark it low but, as I've said throughout the review, this is a game aimed at very young children and I believe it succeeds at this .

70

Beautiful graphics - shame about the difficulty.

psymantis | April 8, 2011 | Review of Ecco the Dolphin

This is an absolutely stunning game in which the dolphin you play moves through amazing scenery meeting beautifully created fellow sea creatures. Unfortunately the game suffers from a very sharp difficulty curve. The biggest problem being attempting to make jumps whilst timing it perfectly and having the luck to avoid random jellyfish. That's right near the start and it doesn't get any easier.

The idea behind the game is good and the setting has been created with lots of care and attention but the high difficulty makes it a frustrating game. It's a fun experience when the game first starts but once it's passed the beginning It all changes. If it was at the time I'd have given it a lower score because the cost would be too high for the frustration most people will have. At this price it's worth it to experience the amazing graphics and test yourself.

So it could be a good purchase as long as the person buying it knows this is a notoriously difficult game. If you're up for the challenge go ahead but you've been warned!

70

Hell hath no Fury as an Angel Scorned.

psymantis | April 5, 2011 | Review of Infernal

Your character was an Angel who is no longer working for Heaven and no longer has powers. The game starts with him being attacked by agents of Heaven and being involved in a huge gun fight. He escapes and agrees to join an agency of Hell and is given Infernal abilities. It's a story that might seem like nonsense but it gives a good excuse for the powers he is given throughout the game. The powers are what make this game worth playing along with the good graphics. The dialogue is cheesy and embarrassingly bad at times with your character actually called Dark Eaville but if you can get past that then the gameplay is good.

The difficulty level is mostly low which won't suit everyone with your character being nearly invincible. The boss battles are more difficult as these have to be completed a certain way but most of the time you can just plough through enemies. Your health is restored by draining life force from enemies so there's always more health available. This isn't a realistic shooter game where one bullet could be fatal but I found it fun to be this powerful.

The biggest problem I had was with teleportation. This was because It wasn't explained as well as it could have been. You don't actually teleport permanently but appear in an area for a few seconds to allow you to turn off security cameras etc. I figured this out through trial and error but it took a frustrating while to get the hang of it. If you can get past the ridiculous story and cringe worthy dialogue there's a good game here deserving of a chance. The first mission is too over the top but after that it settles into a fun game.

80

Rise from your Grave!

psymantis | April 5, 2011 | Review of Altered Beast

Violent, bloody and simple but one of the true Megadrive classics. From the moment a digitised voice tells you to "Rise from your Grave" it's pure non stop side-scrolling action. Occasionally a white bull appears and after being killed will drop an orb. Collecting this buffs the hero with three turning him into a different powerful beast depending on the level. But even without the full three the hero feels noticeable stronger each time.

The graphics for this game are very well done. The character design and imagination is at a very high level. All five levels are different and increase in difficulty at a reasonable pace. The game, if you can complete it first time, is very short but great fun while it lasts. Fortunately the short length is compensated by the low price. Personally, I could not complete it first time so it had extra replayability and I suspect other gamers will have a similar experience. I did get further each time so it's not an impossible game to complete but practice is needed to beat it.

60

Predecessor to greatness.

psymantis | April 5, 2011 | Review of Shining in the Darkness™

This game appears in the listings when bought after Shining Force 1 and 2 but is their prequel. As a result it is inferior to both but is useful to see where the series started. The gameplay is all first person and turn paced unlike it's third person hex-based offspring. The gameplay is fun but suffers from a lack of exploration.

The gameplay consists of entering a dungeon, progressing so far then leaving to heal. There isn't much variety and the story is brief. It feels very claustrophobic compared to the later games but I'd recommend playing if you want to know the history of the games series or to experience events described in Shining Force. The game itself takes place 1000 years before Shining Force so they don't directly follow on but they are linked.

The graphics in the game are good but dated, unsurprisingly since it's a Megadrive game, but they can be 'improved'. I use the quotation marks because there is an option to automatically alter the graphics which makes them look as if they are hand drawn. I find it easier on the eyes but someone else may not. Without this they are very pixellated due to the limitations of the original system. It's a very cheap game so it's worth a purchase and is still enjoyable. It's inferior to it's sequels so should be played before but I believe there's enough enjoyment to be had to justify a purchase.

70

Not a bad game.

psymantis | April 4, 2011 | Review of Swashbucklers: Blue vs. Grey

The idea behind this game is that during the American Civil War there was a resurgence of privateers. Galleons and Ironclads fought each other and blockaded ports. I wouldn't look too much into it instead it's an excuse to have pirate ships with more modern weaponry blasting the heck out each other.

Metacritic gives this game an average of 44 with some very low reviews from critics. While it's true this game doesn't do anything new I personally found it fun. The sword fights when boarding go on too long and the UI can be a little clunky but a good experience can be found if you play it with an open mind. It's quite a shallow game but when I played it I enjoyed it.

Graphically it looks rather nice with a hand drawn quality that is appealing. The ship battles pre-boarding play like a more arcadey version of Sid Meier's Pirates. Poetic license has been taken with history so having a missile fired at your ship is to be expected along with the different types of cannon balls.

The negatives are the game can feel repetitive with a long boarding sequence and the voice overs in the game are done in strange grunts similar to Sid Meier's Pirates which is annoying in both games. I believe this game is worth purchasing at a budget price with low expectations. It is heavily inspired by Sid Meier's Pirates but is faster paced so in my opinion is worth trying. The gameplay isn't original and the history is nonsense but as a fun shallow game it's worth giving it a go when it's on sale.