Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yesterday's Worlds #1 : Gauls, Gates, and Bards

Welcome to the latest installment in my recently renamed game collection playthrough, Yesterday's Worlds.

Over the years I've collected a lot of games, and I've always had a particularly soft spot for the 6th generation titles - those from the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube systems. I can't help but look back at this time as a Golden Age of gaming - systems powerful enough to create detailed, immersive experiences, within an industry full of developers and publishers still willing to take risks on new gaming concepts and having the financial means to produce them on a major scale. History proved that, financially, this was not a viable market model, one that became even riskier as more advanced consoles required even larger investments for development.

So, as the 8th generation dawns, I will chronicle some of these fading treasures...along with some that should probably have been rightfully forgotten!

(A note: Previous entries in this series were titled "Back to the Past". The information in the parenthesis are Developer/Publisher/Year of Release.)

Asterix & Obelix Kick Buttix - (Etranges Libellules/Atari/2004) Not played before, buy demoed.

The fact that this game was ever released in the US still amazes me. (As an interesting side note, the full title doesn't appear in the game, just "Asterix & Obelix".) The Asterix comics are a big deal in France (where they've made movies from them as well), but they were never anything that caught on here. The only reason I know of Asterix is my mom was a big fan of them in the 70's and I read the comic books as a child (and by "books", I mean things that would be called graphic novels today). She was no doubt attracted to the historical humor in them and I found them fun to read too. But whatever charm the comics had, this game does not. It's basically a standard 3-D platformer, like a Spyro game, with characters from the books. Granted, they did an excellent job of animating the comics, but it doesn't mean the game is fun to play. You spend all your time beating up Roman soldiers and collecting their helmets. It got old real quick.

Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance - (Snowblind Studios/Vivendi Universal/2001) Already played and finished!

When magazines make lists of the best co-op games of all-time, this one always makes the cut. I played through it with my brother and it was a truly glorious experience. It's a great D&D RPG game that's perfectly balanced and never gets repetitive. I'd play this game again in a heartbeat! It's a shame that the sequel wasn't as good.

The Bard's Tale - (InXile Entertainment/InXile Entertainment/2005) Not played before.

It's ironic to have this game immediately follow Dark Alliance, because everything it was, The Bard's Tale isn't. Yes, it's funny, when its AI creatures aren't beating the crap out of you. Yes, it's got good music (Tommy Tallarico, the man who is now behind the Videogame Live concerts worked on it), but the camera angle is terrible - nearly directly overhead. Yes, it has some serious voice talent from Cary Elwes and Tony Jay, but for a game that was 5 years into the PS2's life cycle, it looks like ass! With my umpteenth death, and the Narrator saying "Thus endth the Bard's Tale", it did.

No comments: