Category Archives: Retro

Final Fantasy: A Saga of Greatness

The Final Fantasy series has been around for quite a long time. In that time we’ve seen 14 main games in the series, 2 of which were MMORPGS, prequels and sequels to some of our favorite titles, multiple spinoffs across many platforms and even a few movies. In that time I’m sure everyone has had a chance to pick a favorite in the series. Whether it be one of the more commonly picked choices like Final Fantasy 7, or a more obscure one like Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest on the SNES, you really can’t make a bad choice for a favorite.

Next week marks the release of the 15th title in the series and seems to have given us a lot to be excited for. We have waited a long time for this game and I for one, can’t wait to see how much the wait paid off. With this release just around the corner it has had me thinking about the series as a whole a lot and which game is truly my favorite. The first FF i ever played was 7 and frankly, it changed the way I played, and felt, about video games from that point forward. Even though it wasn’t my first foray into the RPG world, it was the most eye opening for me. From this point on I was hungry for more vast, open world RPGs with the strong narrative that 7 had. So I played the rest of the games in the series that were out at this point (it was already up to 9 by the time I finally played 7, and sadly was never able to get my hands on a copy of 6, and have yet to play it as of the writing of this article.) The one that stuck with me from that point on, that I still think about regularly and replay more then any other FF, is Final Fantasy 8.

That may come as a surprise to many. I know that it is considered to be one of the weaker entries in the franchise by the masses but I can’t help my love for this game. From the first minute of the game I was engrossed. That opening video left me in awe. I wanted to know more about these characters! That rivalry that we got a small glimpse of… And those swords!! I couldn’t wait to dive in and what followed has stuck with me to this day. The game really had so much to offer. The weapons were some of the coolest looking in the series. I mean, yea the buster sword is awesome, but a Gunblade?! The extra flair it added by actually having a command prompt that would make it even stronger if timed right was just awesome.

ff8_chars

Characters like Rinoa, Quistis, Zell and Seifer were all so memorable in their own right. I still laugh at the chicken-wuss scene. The Guardian Forces were so cool in this game and to this day are some of my favorite versions of some of the summons. Not to mention Triple Triad!! If you played FF8 and didn’t fully love Triple Triad then maybe you didn’t do it right! I can still turn on FF8 just to play TT. I always have such a blast playing it and getting all the rare cards.

triple_triad_win

FF8 may not have been perfect. Is the draw/junction system one of the stronger in the series? No. But it did add a certain uniqueness in how you could build your characters. And yes, the last act of the game may have been a bit convoluted. But the game as a whole was just so good. The music, the summons, the characters, the locations, the AMAZING battle between the Gardens and not to mention Triple Triad!! I without a doubt found a lot to love in this game. Maybe if you go back and play it now, some 18 years after its release, maybe you will too. Maybe not. Either way I find it to be one of the most enjoyable in the series.

Whatever your favorite Final Fantasy is, the excitement for a new FF is always invigorating. That hope that this new entry may be as good as your favorite is enough to get excited in and of itself. If you’d like to share with us what your favorite Final Fantasy was or maybe just some of your favorite memories from the series as a whole, do it! Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

Queue The Nostalgia: The Dreamcast Just Had It’s 17th Anniversary

17 Years – the Dreamcast just had an anniversary so Krispy and I sat down to breathe in some nostalgia, and talk about one of the greatest consoles ever.

First released in North America on September 9, 1999 to high reviews all around. It had an original list price of $199, a bargain for a game console! It was an innovator in the field with built-in modem for multiplayer support, and would come to host a wide variety of polished games. Dreamcast consoles are still treasured by collectors.

Krispy:

Favorite Memory: There are actually quite a few of them. Bigfoot got a Dreamcast very early after its launch and I remember going over there and playing Crazy Taxi and Toy Commander. Man we had a blast doing so. Some of the multiplayer experience from the system are some of my favorite memories in gaming. Soul Caliber, Marvel Vs Capcom, Power stone, Tony Hawk and others. Gaming memories at its finest.

Favorite Game: This is a rather hard one but if I had to pick just one, Jet Set Radio. The fantastic music, great voice acting, and just super fun gameplay kept me hooked for quite some time. I loved grinding across things and tagging the town. Plus the game still holds up today due to its cell shaded look. Honorable Mentions: Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi. Seeing Sonic in full 3d the first time blew my mind, and Crazy Taxi was just too much fun

Bigfoot:

Favorite Memory: It wasn’t long after the release of the Dreamcast and we had gone out to Best Buy to pick something up, or window shop, maybe we just liked being hassled by their sales force – I don’t remember! But there it was near the entrance, a kiosk set up with a video game console and a screen. Like a moth is drawn to flame, I, as a young guy, was drawn to the dancing lights flashing on the screen. Who am I kidding with this “young guy” stuff? I’m still drawn to the test consoles. I picked up the controller, which while not as unwieldy as the original Xbox controllers, was still much heftier than it’s predecessor’s – the Genesis – controllers; Pressed the start button and was greeted by The Offspring, like a siren’s song I was drawn in, “YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!”, and that was the beginning of my love for Crazy Taxi. Oh yeah, it was time to make some crazy money. There was plenty of other good times we had, party games with my brothers, using it as an SNES emulator, but this was the memory that sticks in my head when I think of the Dreamcast. Hard to believe it’s been 17 years.

Favorite Game: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, if you could just listen then it might make sense! I’d have to pick Crazy Taxi as my favorite. I spent so many hours driving around that digital city trying to get people to their destination, rocking out to punk music, trying to get high score on the challenges! Stay tuned for a Top 10 Dreamcast games list and I’ll share some more favorites.

We still have a Dreamcast next to our TV at home, it doesn’t get a lot of play time anymore, but it will always be one of my most cherished video game consoles. Like a memory box, just glancing down at it reminds me of childhood. Take this opportunity to bring out your console, hook it up, and play a game or two with the younger generation to remember how great the Dreamcast is.

Celebrating 15 Years with the GameCube

Growing up I played video games a lot. I mean a lot. Due to some health conditions I had in my early teens I needed to be careful with physical activity so I spent a lot of time inside playing video games. They helped me through hard times, and to make many good memories that have stuck with me through the years. The Nintendo GameCube very possibly holds the record for the most fond memories from any console to date.

The GameCube just had so much to offer. Before its release I remember reading articles on Luigi’s Mansion and Star Wars Rouge Squadron 2 and just being so pumped for its release… Oh, and you can’t forget Super Smash Bros Melee! After all the hours my friends and I had spent playing Smash on the 64, these graphics and roster were mind-boggling, which it proved to be. Not to mention the controller! It was oh so comfortable! It just feels right in my hands. Which is why it’s still my favorite console controller! It’s also why it’s still compatible today even with the WiiU through the adapter! It’s just so good.
When I got my GameCube it came with Luigi’s Mansion and man, I loved that game! Though it was short, it was fun. There were so many quality single player experiences on the system: Super Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker, Star Fox Adventure, Animal Crossing, Tales of Symphonia, Pikmin, Viewtiful Joe, and you can’t forget Metroid Prime. There was a game that blew my mind and kept me engrossed through multiple playthroughs of it’s beautiful world!! This is a list I could keep going on with.
My memories for the system are seemingly endless, but the best memories come from my multiplayer experiences. The countless hours we would spend playing Melee, practicing with different characters, playing on all the sleek new levels (Fourside!!), not to mention the trophy collecting! We did so many matches it’s surprising the disc still works to this day! Then all the time I spent playing Gauntlet:Dark Legacy, Timesplitters 2, X-Men Legends and Phantasy Star Online, just to name the ones I played the most.
I could find a ton to write about on the GameCube. I have many fond memories with multiple systems throughout the years, but none more than the GameCube. Everything I’ve said plays into why I keep it hooked up to my main TV. It’s still just so playable! So thank you for 15 fantastic years GameCube. You’ll always be one of the most memorable consoles for me.

Super Metroid Retro Review (SNES)

"The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace." Super Metroid is widely considered one of Samus Aran's greatest outings. Does it still hold up? Here's our Almost Perfect retro review.

When the NES came out it revolutionized video games, with it came the action platformer. The NES may have pioneered it, but when the Super Nintendo came out is when the genre truly thrived. None more so than the Metroid series.

Super Metroid, the third game in the series, was truly a phenomenal outing. Where the first two were both great games that have proved to stand the test of time, Super Metroid has almost become better with age in just about every way.

The game starts off with a brief synopsis of the first two games and then puts you right into the game. The planet of Zebes is still as beautiful today as it was 22 years ago. The hand drawn animation truly stands up. The colors are beautiful and expressive. From the grassy terrain of Brinstar, the Fiery caves of Norfair to the haunting look of the Wrecked Ship, every area just looks so great to this day.

One of the things that truly amazes me is how well the controls hold up so well. I've played through this game countless times with the SNES control but this last time I played through the game I did so on my WiiU with a Pro Control. The layout was the same as it was on the Super Nintendo controller, just with more grip. I picked it up and was able to play it just like I had 10 years ago. Using the trigger to help with aiming just made so much sense. From jumping and morphing into a ball to lay a bomb, to the devastating screw attack, everything controls like a dream. Now for a new comer some of the less than basic moves may prove to be tricky. Like the wall jump, or using the speed booster to charge into the sky. But once you have practiced a bit, it will be like second nature.

Super Metroid's soundtrack is one that is hard to forget. Each levels song is so memorable and easy to hum either while your playing again, or attempt to sing even though there are no lyrics (cough, Norfair, cough). Does the sound of having low health get somewhat obnoxious? Sure. But the otherwise beautiful soundtrack and well placed sound effects make for an entertaining listening experience that just adds to the game.

The weapons are plentiful, the collectibles add so much to look for and, well... collect. There are boundless enemies all with their own terrific art style and memorable look. The game just has so much to offer. Not to mention the bosses. Kraid, Phantoon, Draygon, Ridley, all those mini-bosses and that AMAZINGLY memorable final battle. Each leaves a truly remarkable experience that will almost surely stay with you after you play it.

If you haven't played Super Metroid, put it on your list of must plays. It truly is that good. If you have played it, hopefully some of my sentiments reflect some of yours. Few games give you an experience with so little verbalized story telling, that yet tells so much story. So whether you've played it before or not, find some time to commemorate Samus's 25 anniversary. Put the game on, plug in some headphones, and bring peace back to the galaxy.

PROS

  • Graphics Are still Beautiful
  • The Music Is Just So Good
  • The Faster You Play, The Better The Ending

CONS

  • Some Of The More Difficult Moves May Be a Bit Hard For First Timers
  • The Music, Although Fantastic, Sometimes is a Bit Staticy

Bigfoot - So much nostalgia here. Definitely goes on list of top favorite games. I can think of little negative.