The Designer’s Drugs: The Gaming Rampage Rorschach

No Fuckin' Around.

Medium: Game – Portable Systems

Stimulus: The Gaming Rampage Rorschach

Anno: Various

 

Following my recent return to the world of disposable income, I went on a small spending spree and collected a few new games for my PSP and Nintendo DS.  As there’s not really much in the way of music or books that I feel like talking about this week, I decided to get a little mileage out of my video game consumption.  Presented here are my takes on my recent acquisitions.

WWE All Stars is a horrible game, at least for the PSP.  It may be better on consoles.  I had a lot of fun actually playing the street fighting/wrestling hybrid, once the game finally got around to being a game.  To get there, however, one had to sit through literally minutes of crap, every single time: loading screen, match introduction, loading screen, first wrestler’s introduction, second wrestler’s introduction, loading screen, and finally the game!  No way.

Tenchu: Shadow Assassins is another bad PSP port that may have played better in its original form on the Wii.  In any event, it completely eliminated all the traditional Tenchu fun of running around on rooftops and leaping down to ninja-slaughter one’s prey.  Instead, this game’s assassins sulk around in whatever shadows there are, attempting to manipulate one’s way into the kills.  Not as fun.  Not even close.

The 3rd Birthday is a serviceable, action-oriented sequel to the classic horror RPG, Parasite Eve.  I generally think that the PSP sucks at action games, but this was a nice challenge against that prejudice.  Here, a sexy blonde goes back in time on missions designed to soften a Cthulu Apocalypse, and one possesses soldiers, Agent Smith style, in the conflict against the tentacle beasts.  Neat.  I do wish that what little coherent plot that existed wasn’t written by a fifteen year old with a boner, however.

My two favorite games of the recent times were on the Nintendo DS, both of the old school 2D variety.  Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is one more awesome DS game in the series, this one a heavily magic-based expedition in the vein of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.  Instead of simply bumming around Dracula’s stately abode, one gets to travel the countryside and interact with villagers while getting in all that trademark Metroidvania exploration.  It’s a lot of fun.

But the best game of my recent rampage had no pretense at all.  Contra 4 is simple, aggressive, wonderful action.  You run around.  You get weapons.  You shoot aliens.  You die – a lot.  And you have a blast doing all of this.

Sometimes all a game needs to be great is to simply be a game.

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