The Bargain Bin Episode 2 with brianbloodaxe and PhilipGHarris
Capcom rarely make or produce stinkers. Their best is really something else, and often pushes genres and consoles to their limit as with Shadow of Rome or the fabulous Resident Evil 4. They do however sometimes produce content that isn’t quite there, and today we look at three of the games which got some very different reviews in the day and see if they are worth your pennies.
If there is a genre of badly translated games then Japanese fantasy must be somewhere near the top. Chaos Legion follows the story of Seig as he fights his way through hordes of demons in a world made entirely out of isometric blocks.
It’s a fairly standard genre entry, but one that you’ll surprised to learn came over a year after the exceptional Devil May Cry. It is inferior in almost every way. Yes, there is more to this than just run, jump and whack-with-sword. Soon enough you get the ability to summon demon solders of your own, the eponymous Chaos Legion, who will do the hacking and slashing for you.
The tutorial, or what the game suggests is a tutorial, gives little indication of how to use them to the best of your ability. After a bit of experimentation we figured that each member of the Chaos Legion can be given various battle instructions, and experience allows you to level up these attacks and defences. Luckily the lax tutorial caught up with what we were already learning ourselves.
Yes it doesn’t look bad, but the controls sap all the fun out of the play. Boss fights, pick ups and hordes and hordes of demon spawn to fight does not make a good game when you lurch horrendously from one dull action encounter to another. Indeed, you start to question how heroic Seig really is as he hides behind various members of the Legion.
It just ends up feeling like the Legion are having all the fun because we sure weren’t having any!
While Capcom Production Studio 4 were working on Resident Evil 3: Nemesis they were also working on Capcom’s new “Panic” rather than “Survival Horror” game, Dino Crisis. Produced and Directed by Resident Evil’s Shinji Mikami, the game returns to the high puzzle, low ammo desperation that made Capcom’s initial survival horror title so tantalising.
Set on a tropical island, you play redhead Regina sent in to investigate a research facility where things have gone wrong and dinosaurs are on the loose. There’s really no similarity to Jurassic Park. It does have a T-Rex in it though and… Hey, wait a minute.
Even two generations later Dino Crisis still oozes atmosphere. Strange events set you on edge, odd growls make you jump and the very quick realisation that guns do very little to tame the beasts on any difficulty level other than easy means that you desperately run from one location to the next, trying to avoid tooth and claw at every turn. The music adds to this with a style perfectly merging freeform jazz with the original Planet of the Apes soundtrack.
The tension rises higher as you realise that the dinosaurs can broach the doors that had kept you safe in previous Capcom encounters, settling once and for all the question of who is smarter, dinosaurs or zombies? What’s more, the security of the chests from the Resident Evil game is all but removed as boxes need “plug keys” to open them, which are sparse in the facility. Often you need keys of differing colours to open these boxes, and they often offer little support and can be in corridors with resident dinosaurs.
Dino Crisis is tough. Really tough. But if you want a challenge, Dino Crisis will remind you what made survival horror so great; the real fear of dying.
There is always a balance that needs to be made between innovation and tradition. We know what type of action a third person shooter entails in this day and age, and cover based action is not unexpected. Mixing this up with some flying and introducing vertical elements certainly adds something new.
What Airtight Games’ Dark Void does right is trying to ensure solid gaming; following the tropes of the genre before cutting loose with some alternative ideas. On foot Dark Void provides decent if unspectacular shooting gameplay. The solid controls don’t quite translate to the cliff-face vertical sections where commands and camera controls can get confused. When the action takes to the sky in jet packs though, Dark Void finally shows what it is capable of: pure dumb fun.
The basis of this is a risible plot about falling into an alternative world, but the developers, possibly not having the time and money to dedicate to many cut scenes, have established this background through journals you can read if you want. The rest of the game flows nicely thanks to the voicing of the ubiquitous Nolan North and friends.
This isn’t to say that everything in the garden is rosy. While controls generally work some of the buttons don’t flow well into the vertical sections of the game, causing death. It’s not a vast problem, and can be worked around, but it would be more engaging if they had made sure you couldn’t fall off these ledges.
Graphically there’s nothing to write home about too, but Bargain Bin is about standing the test of time and the solid nature of the game makes this an engaging enough romp.