- The eye of the storm - A mothers ADHD journey.
- Desert Magick: Dream Catcher.
- At Second Sight - Not Forgotten Book 2.
- My Dog Has DM: A Personal Journey Caring for a Dog with Degenerative Myelopathy?
- Der Landvogt von Greifensee (German Edition)?
Although nowhere near as polished or impressive as the God of War series, which would arrive around three years later, Rygar was a good action adventure, and one that flew well under the radar of many. Survival horror is one of the defining genres of the early PlayStation era, and after Resident Evil 's arrival on the PSOne thrust it into the mainstream, many clones emerged. We're all familiar with the likes of Silent Hill , but we'd wager you may have missed out on Extermination.
A full 3D survival horror, Extermination may have been plagued with some of the worst voice acting ever which was actually slowed down or sped up to fit the lip syncing, with hilarious results , but the core gameplay was great. As part of an elite military team, you were sent to investigate an Antarctic research facility that had gone dark, and arrived to find Thing -like creatures everywhere, with few survivors. The game made use of traditional Resident Evil -style combat and exploration, but featured some great additions.
The modular weapon you carried could be fully customised, and various environmental puzzles were put into play.
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Alongside this, ammo was very scarce, and so running from combat was often advisable, and Dennis, the protagonist, could be come infected with enough exposure to enemies. Far from the finely polished Capcom series, Extermination was still a great entry into the genre, and it did some things better than its bigger budget stable mates. Square Enix originally Squaresoft may be non-committal about a possible Final Fantasy VII remake, but it clearly knows that the seventh instalment of the series is popular, and has produced a number of spin-offs, including this, Dirge of Cerberus.
Wielding Vincent's Cerberus pistol, as well as a machine gun and shotgun, Vincent battles Deepground, an organization planning to revive a creature called Omega. The game mixed shooting with RPG elements to create a mash-up of the genres. It didn't please many FFVII fans, who disliked the action approach, but this is a shame as the game, although not a masterpiece, was actually pretty good, and featured some nice mechanics and enjoyable battles. And, we got to play as Vincent Valentine, which was always a bonus.
An odd one this.
Finding a Book When You've Forgotten Its Title | The New York Public Library
Gungrave is a straightforward third person shooter that featured some unique and impressive design, particularly its characters. Grave, the main character, was a reanimated gun slinger who carried a large coffin full or weapons on his back. Combat was fast and stylish, reminiscent of films like Equilibrium, and Grave's use of his pistols and special weapons made for a great bit of arcade action. Sadly, the game was both short and overly linear, but it did spawn a sequel, not to mention an anime, which isn't bad for a game most PS2 owners probably never even know existed.
Games that are controlled by motion controls or cameras are quite common now in the wake of the Wii and Kinect. Even earlier attempts like Sony's Eye Toy made the idea of controlling a game with your body into a reality. However, the PS2 also dabbled with voice control, and Lifeline was a very interesting experiment.
Tagged a 'Voice Action Adventure', Lifeline was set on a orbital hotel in the aftermath of a breakout of deadly creatures. It put players in the role of a stranded man stuck in the hotel's control room.
The only way to survive was to guide cocktail waitress, Rio, through the hotel using voice commands, handled by the PlayStation Mic. Using this communication, the two had to explore the hotel, battle monsters and ultimately escape, in a survival horror-style. Although the vocal input scheme was far from perfect, it didn't stop Lifeline gaining a cult following, and although largely ignored commercial on release, it was a precursor to many of today's titles that feature voice commands, and it was an impressively ambitious take on the horror genre.
Deus Ex is widely considered to be one of the greatest games ever made. It sold well on PC and has won masses of awards. It redefined what we thought was possible in a video game, and the FPS genre, and out of all the games out there, this is one of the elite few to come so close to sheer perfection. It went on to spawn two sequels, and is now very much back in the public eye.
So, whey then, did the PS2 port of Deus Ex fall so flat? It arrived with little fanfare, and didn't do all that well commercially, despite having some improved visuals and CG cut scenes. Only coming in low on this list due to the original's success, the PS2 version featured some changes due to the hardware's limitations, such as reworked levels and hub areas split into loading zones, but on the whole, this was a great port of a sublime PC masterpiece, and it should have performed so much better than it did.
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One of the strangest ideas for a game you'll see, Mister Mosquito placed you in the role of a cartoon mosquito who has to suck the blood of various members of a family as they went about their daily lives. Sucking blood isn't as simple as it sounds, though, and you had to find the right spot on the body that'll let you go unnoticed, and if your target started to become aware, you needed to retreat, lest you be squashed into mush.
With typically Japanese style, and some surprisingly well-handled gameplay, Mister Mosquito is a title you should check out. Possibly one of the least known Square Enix titles, Musashi: Samurai Legend was an action RPG title starring a ridiculously pointy-haired sword-slinger. It was a cartoon-themed combat title played in the third person, and it was actually very good. As Musashi you roamed around various locations fighting robotic enemies, able to cut them into various pieces with a powerful katana.
You could learn enemy attacks and use them against your foes, and side quests could be undertaken to earn more experience. A good, well presented game. Based on the animation of the same name, Gregory Horror Show was a rather surreal title starring block-head characters. It was a survival horror-style adventure set in a strange hotel run by a anthropomorphic mouse, and inhabited by guests who carry the souls of the dead.
Your goal was to collect these souls and return them to Death, but the guests didn't part with their soul bottles easily, and after you collected a soul, that guests turned hostile, roaming the hotel looking for you. More guests check in as you progressed, opening up more of the hotel, and in order to succeed later on, stealth needed to be used to avoid enemies.
It was a refreshingly different take on survival horror, and one that not enough people discovered. Like the later games, Fahrenheit is largely a glorified QTE, but it also had a little more gameplay, and the story was intriguing enough to draw you in, even if it went a bit Pete Tong toward the end. When your first moments in a game are spent hiding a dead body, apparently your own handiwork, before a police officer finds you, you know you're in for something a little special, and that's just what Fahrenheit was. It was a game with plenty of depth in its story instead of spectacle for the sake of it, and the style presentation, and interesting characters make it a definite recommendation if you missed it, especially if you're a fan of Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls.
Coming out at around the same time as Psi-Ops see later in the list , Codemasters' Second Sight , developed by TimeSplitters developer, Free Radical, was overshadowed by the more action-oriented competition, and the slower pacing put many off. In truth, however, Second Sight was a better game in many respects, with a far more interesting story and more intelligent use of mind powers.
Sadly, it just wasn't as satisfying, and the powers on offer here lacked the oomph of those seen in Psi-Ops , even those that were similar, such as telekinesis, which was slow and plodding here. Still, the amnesia-fuelled plot coupled with Free Radical's distinctive visuals and excellent presentation made this a great game, even if most begged to differ when it was released.
Originally planned as an action-oriented and multiplayer entry in the Deus Ex series, Project Snowblind became a more generic FPS, but one that managed to be a pretty good title all the same, replete with nice visuals and some decent gameplay. As the ridiculously named Nathan Frost, an augmented soldier, you fought against an enemy force using a range of powers and advanced weaponry.
All weapons featured primary and secondary modes, and Nathan could hack enemy security with his 'Icepick' gun. Many levels also allowed for multiple approaches, a holdover from Deus Ex , but for the most part, it was action shooting over stealth. This is a lesser-known FPS that was set in a spy-centric world and used a more realistic approach than most.
You could not only utilise various weapons and stealth tactics to achieve your goals, but you could also find a variety of objects in the world you could use to craft makeshift weapons and tools, such as petrol bombs and lock picks. Along with Metal Gear , the Tenchu series was one of the most important releases in the console-based stealth genre, and Wrath of Heaven is arguably the best entry in the series don't even think about trying the Wii's Tenchu: Shadow Assassin s if you value your sanity.
The games did well enough on the original PlayStation, but by the time Wrath of Heaven rolled around on the PS2, interest had waned somewhat, which was a shame as this was a superb stealth outing. It featured well-designed and challenging missions, two playable characters with their own story, effectively doubling the game's length , and had some really creepy content, all wrapped up in mystical Chinese lore.
Ninja warriors were supposedly masters of stealth and the art of remaining undetected, so Tenchu was the perfect title to utilise the increasing popularity of the gameplay style, and this was the best, and so should be checked out. Like their eventual successors, these were music games set on ever-scrolling tracks that challenged players with hitting on screen queues to play music. Unlike GH and RB , no instruments were needed, and a space-ship of sorts was moved using the joypad from track to track, with each containing a different instrument or vocal.
To do well you needed to keep every track going by hitting the corresponding buttons at the right time. It was the gestation of the following plastic guitar series, and without these two titles, we may never have been able to strum along to Foo Fighters or Queens of the Stone Age on our Fisher Price Fenders. Before High Moon Studios managed to release two good Transformers games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron , most video game adaptations of the robots in disguise were awful, save for one. Melbourne House created the Transformers title on PS2, and it was a very good game, arguably better than High Moon's, in fact.
Spread across a range of large, open levels, which actually made use of vehicle modes, you could pick from three different Autobots Optimus Prime, Red Alert and Hot Shot and embarked on some very challenging missions, with many ending in a difficult boss battle against a notable Decepticon, such as Starscream. But I miss writing here. I'm going to try to do a post a week for the rest of the summer, and I hope it will result in good energy all around.
And I'm excited about all the equally great things on the docket for the new year.
This will probably be my last post for , as I'm leaving for my belated honeymoon in India, in fact! Recently I sat down to analyze a couple of the novel manuscripts I'm working on, and as is my wont, I ran them through my Plot Checklist, which helps me ensure that I know and more importantly, the reader knows what the story is, what is at stake, what emotional ends we're working toward, that things actually happen, and all those other good things. However, the version of the Checklist I featured on my website which is also the version included in Second Sight hadn't kept pace with some of my thinking about plot -- particularly what I'm currently teaching in my Plot Master Class, So I revised the Checklist for my own use, and put the revised version up on my website here , again with a Word template for downloading.
The old checklist is still up here , at the address given in the book. If you've read Second Sight , the four biggest changes you'll notice are: The addition of "Desire" to this page. I discuss it in the character talk, but a Desire is such a useful structuring element for a plot -- giving your protagonist a defined goal -- that I wanted to include it here too. The addition of "Obstacles" -- the things that get in the way of the Desire or of the task your character must accomplish in the novel. Generally there are both Overarching Obstacles -- the major things your protagonist must overcome, like the distance to Mount Doom -- and Periodic Obstacles -- problems in each individual period of the journey.
They can be both internal and external and there probably should be both internal and external obstacles. They are often joined by Turning Points but there are usually more of them than just three or four, so they aren't quite Acts, in the screenplay-structure sense. If you use the checklist, I hope you find it useful!