Retro Gaming- King of Fighters ’98: (1998)

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The King of Fighters series has been around since the early 90’s and is considered to be underrated by individuals who are huge fans of the fighting genre.  When King of Fighters ’98 was released for the Neo Geo and the arcade system many people were excited about a few things the game itself had included.  One of the few things that many people enjoyed about this game included the returning characters from the previous games including Kyo Kusanagi, Terry Bogard, Joe Higashi, Ryo Sakazaki, Robert Garcia, Mai Shiranui along with others.    Along with having returning characters the team select feature for this game was fantastic because there were so many people to choose from along with the ability to choose what order they battle in.  Even though, the graphics and gameplay for King of Fighters ’98 has improved in comparison to its predecessors but some people where probably surprised that the series had remained mostly 2D.  Around the late 90’s three dimensional gaming started to get very popular but generally those type of games are featured on game consoles such as Sony PlayStation and Dreamcast.

The Neo Geo along with the Neo Geo CD generally featured high quality 2D games and if SNK wanted to develop a three dimensional KOF game they would not have been able to have been to release it for either system.  Despite, not being a three dimensional fighting game King of Fighters ’98 was a fantastic 2D title with optimal graphics and challenging gameplay.  While the multiplayer feature of King of Fighters ’98 was fun the arcade mode was also very exciting until the final boss battle against Rugal.  The boss battle with Rugal was very tough even with a team of three fighters.  However, if you were able to defeat Rugal the ending was worth the effort.  The cutscenes following Rugal’s defeat was followed by a cliffhanger ending in which he escapes.  The cliffhanger ending for the arcade mode not only added suspense but it also contributed to the anticipation that many people had for the sequel KOF 99 which was released the following year.  Generally, when it comes down to delivery the King of Fighter series has developed some of the best 2 fighting games during the 90’s.  As much as people liked King of Fighters ’98 some would argue that the game does not receive the amount recognition that it deserves.

Retro Gaming- Alundra: (1997)

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There have been many cool RPG games that have been released since the late 80’s and early 90’s that people would consider to be instant classics.  While popular RPG games such as the Final Fantasy series are the first to come to mind when it comes down to this genre there have been several titles that were memorable but does not get talked about as much.  During the late 90’s an RPG game known as Alundra was developed by Matrix Software for the Sony PlayStation.  There were a few things about Alundra that was pretty cool including the plot.   In this game the main character Alundra is a dreamwalker who has the ability to access the dreams of other people in order to vanquish their nightmares.  In the game Alundra is eventually accompanied by Meia who helps him out in his mission to defeat the main antagonist Melzas who is mainly responsible for all the chaos that occurs regarding the dreams of many people.  This RPG title does a fantastic job on capturing dark vibe involving the plot of this game with the inclusion of various soundtracks.

The soundtrack that is utilized when playing through other people’s dreams such as Giles and Elaine blends in nicely with the plot of the story which added more suspense and adventure to the game itself.    The graphics and stage design for this game was great because because since the developers decided to utilize two dimensional graphics and design which was popular for the SNES in the early 90’s.  Around the late 90’s many popular game titles started to make the transition from 2D to 3D gameplay and graphics.   If the original Alundra game had utilized 3D graphics instead of 2D some could possibly make the argument that the game would not have been as popular as it was in the late 90’s.  While the Alundra game was fun to play for some people it was very difficult for others. The boss battles in this game against the likes of Zorgia, Zazan, Reptillus Maximus and Melzas were probably difficult for many people.  However, the game itself is one where players can constantly get better through trial and error along with developing good strategies to defeat each boss.

As interesting as this game was it did not sell quite as much as people thought it would.  While Alundra was a brand new RPG title for the Sony PlayStation there were games such as Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics were released the same year for that very console.  Some may argue that the sales for Alundra had suffered due to fierce competition in relation to role playing games for the Sony PlayStation in the late 90’s.  Despite, how much Alundra had sold it does not change the fact that it was a pretty good RPG classic.    When the sequel to the original Alundra game was released in 1999 the gameplay felt very different since it was more of a three dimensional title.  While both Alundra games were unique in their ways some people would probably choose the first Alundra over the second because felt better as two dimensional game opposed to being a three dimensional title.  Also, the plot for the original Alundra game was so creative and featured high quality two dimensional gameplay on a 32-bit console.

Retro Gaming- World Driver Championship: (1999)

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There were so many cool racing games especially in arcade centers during the 1990’s that many people enjoyed.  Even though, there were many exciting arcade racing titles during the 90’s there were also some cool games for various home console including the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation.  When it comes down to racing games for the Nintendo 64 one of the titles that comes to mind is World Driver Championship which was released right before the start of the new millennium.   World Driver Championship was developed by Boss Game Studios and published by Midway as a three dimensional racing game.  One of the most exciting feature about this World Driver Championship is the various modes of gameplay featured in this game.  When it comes down to single player gameplay one of the most exciting features World Championship Driver was the Championship mode.

The Championship mode for this game was very exciting and also challenging as players start of competing for the Novice Cup and work their way throughout game to earn various other cups including Endurance, Seasons, Invitational, Orca, Spider, Ring of Fire and Ultimatum.  Another cool feature about this game is the inclusion of Rumble Pak’s because it made the game appear more realistic as player was driving.   Not only did World Driver Championship have an excellent season mode but there were also various countries where players could race which added more excitement to World Driver Championship.  In this game players can race in various places such as Rome, Hawaii, New Zealand Switzerland, Japan, Zurich and Las Vegas which was fantastic. The graphics and visual presentation for the stages and cars in this game were amazing and almost resembled a few of the racing games that you would see for the Sony PlayStation such as Gran Turismo.  Even though, World Driver Championship does not get mentioned as much as many racing titles of the 1990’s it was still a great game to play if you were a fan of the racing genre.  Even though, World Driver Championship is not as popular as other games such as the Top Gear series some people would considered this racing title an underrated classic that deserves more praise than it gets.

Retro Gaming- Star Ocean Till the End of Time: (2003)

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There were so many cool RPG classics that have been released for over the past twenty five years.  When it came down to three dimensional role playing games the early  and mid 2000’s stands out as a time period where so many great three dimensional role playing titles had emerged.  One of the great classics that emerged from the early 2000’s was Star Ocean: Till the End of time which was developed by Tri-Ace and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2.  Even though, the Japanese version of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was originally released in 2003 many people are more familiar with the Director’s Cut which was released a year later since they were aware of the glitches that existed in the first one.  This Star Ocean game has excellent gameplay along with a very interesting story.  The setting for this game takes place in the 29th century but the places you visit including Vanguard III and Elicoir II has civilization that reflects the 16th and 17th century in terms of technology.

This game mainly focuses on Fayt who travels to various worlds after Hyda IV is ambushed by the Vendeeni who ends up creating a war with the  Pangalatic Federation.   Throughout the game Fayt along with Sophia meets various other important characters including Cliff, Mirage, Peppita, Roger, Albel, Nel and others who help her out as the story progresses.  In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time players can have fun with various features aspects of this game including item creation along with the skill system included for each character.  However, some might argue that Star Ocean: Till the End of Time is more complicated than fun.  The item creation system in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was far more difficult for many people to grasp in this game in comparison to “Second Story” which was released for the PS2.  The attack system in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was pretty cool since characters could provide light & heavy offense against opponents along with being provided with a fury meter.

Each character is also provided with Health Points (HP) and Mental Points (MP) which can easily deplete if they are attacked or if they constantly use special moves, symbology or runelogy.  Players must be very careful during battle because if the run out of HP or MP they can easily lose their battles.  As far as in game battles are concerned there are various challenges that players will face throughout the game but in terms of boss battles. Some people would agree that the toughest opponents in the game include Crystal Cerberus and Robin Wind.  Although, tough if one was able to master the mechanics of the game they should be able to defeat each boss with slightly less difficulty. Along with having improved but complicated mechanics the story for Star Ocean: Till the End of Time becomes more interesting after learning that the universe was a fictional computer simulation in comparison to the 4D space that existed in the game.   While many people found the plot for Star Ocean: Till the End of Time  to be somewhat confusing at times others felt that it was an exciting fictional story with unexpected twists that adds more appeal to the game itself.

Since its release in the early 2000’s Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has sold at least 1.7 million units worldwide.  Not only did Star Ocean: Till the End of Time sell over 1 million units around the world but it also surpassed Star Ocean: Second Story which was released in the late 90’s in terms of sales which was impressive.  While some people might argue that Star Ocean: Second Story was far less complicated in terms of gameplay they might also believe that Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was more challenging and exciting considering the fact that the Director’s Cut had included multiplayer gameplay.  The early and mid 2000’s was such a glorious time to be a fan of three dimensional role playing games and many cool titles such as Star Ocean: Till the End of Time was the reason way due to the amount of innovation and creativity that went into developing the game itself.

 

Retro Gaming- Dead or Alive 4: (2005)

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The Dead or Alive series has been something that have impressed people who were fans of the fighting genre of gaming since the mid 90’s.  Dead or Alive 4 was one of the coolest games in the series due to its visual presentation and online features.  In terms of gameplay and graphics Dead or Alive 4 was fantastic but this game had featured slightly less game modes than its predecessor DOA3.  Unlike, Dead or Alive 3 this game does not feature tag mode, team battle and sparring mode.  However, Dead or Alive 4 does include arcade, versus, training and a survival mode.  The arcade mode in Dead or Alive 4 is probably one of the things that stands out about this game next to having a new online gameplay option.  Each character in Dead or Alive 4 have their own respective story that includes cinematic cutscenes along with special endings which makes the gaming experience remarkable.

The arcade mode consists of eight different stage that were all exciting but tough once players got closer to the end.   One of the cool things that the developers did in Dead or Alive 4 was include characters from previous games such as Ryu Hayabusa, LeiFang, Tina Armstrong, Jann Lee, Christie and more.  The only thing about Dead or Alive 4 was that the counters in this game were tougher to pull off than it was in DOA3.  If you were a casual game mastering the controls could take sometime if you were a fan of the series it would probably be easier to get the hang off.  As good as Dead or Alive 4 was it did not sell as much as the prequel DOA 3 which was released for the PS2 in 2001.  One of the reasons why Dead or Alive 4 did not sell as much as its prequel is probably because of competition.  Dead or Alive 4 had arrived the same year that Namco had released both SoulCalibur III and Tekken 5.  As time progressed the Dead or Alive series had continued to age nicely and the fourth installment of the game had turned out to be very impressive.

Retro Gaming- Captain Commando: (1991)

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We all remember the arcade classic of the 90’s that featured so many cool beat em up games.  Around the early’s the beat em up genre was still very popular and featured many adventurous titles including Final Fight, Streets of Rage and TMNT: Turtles in time.  While those games were considered to be memorable arcade classics by many people there were also some titles that does not get mentioned quite as much.  In the early 90’s a beat em up game known as Captain Commando was developed by Capcom and released in arcade centers worldwide.  The futuristic theme of Captain Commando was one of the many things that added its appeal along with visual presentation and overall gameplay.   Similar to games such as the Final Fight series the main plot for Captain Commando involves fighting crime but to a greater extent.  Captain Commando along with his associates Mack, Ginzu and Baby Head were protecting the Earth along with other galaxies in the year 2026.  The in game mechanics for the Captain Commando arcade game made things very exciting as players were allowed utilize weapons such as rocket launchers, machine guns, mallots, and machines to freeze their opponents.

As one progressed throughout the game more opponents began to appear at once which made the weapons provided very useful especially towards stages 6 and 7.  While its debatable on who the toughest bosses in the game are some would probably agree that Doppel  and Scumocide were among the hardest.  However, fighting Druk and Shtrom at the same time was also a bit of a challenge especially if one is playing the game by themselves.  Since its release Captain Commando had received various ports with one of them being for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995.  Many people liked the Super Nintendo port of Captain Commando because not only does it feel like the arcade game but the replay value was high.  After being ported for the SNES Captain Commando was also ported for the Sony PlayStation in the late 90’s along with being re-released for various consoles such as PS2, Xbox and the PSP during mid 2000’s.  Even though, Captain Commando was not the most popular beat em up game that Capcom has made it would be considered a great title to play if you are fan of that genre.

Retro Gaming- Scud Race: (1996)

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There were so many cool arcade games that we all remember back in the 1990’s including Daytona USA, Sega Outrun, Ridge Racer, Cruis’n USA and many others.  One of the more memorable racing games from the 1990’s that many people enjoyed included Sega Super GT also known as Scud Race.  When this game was released in arcade centers worldwide for the Sega Model 3 many players were blown away by the visual presentation of this game because it looked like it was ahead of its time.  The graphics and visual presentation for Scud Race had looked similar to Outrun 2 which was not released until the early 2000’s for the original Xbox console.  While playing Scud Race people have the ability to select which course they want to race with the difficultly ranging from beginning to expert along with the length of each track varying between short and long.  The vehicle selection options are also pretty decent because players have the choice of choosing between cars including the Porsche 911, Ferrari F40, Dodge Viper along with the Mclaren F1.

Along with having a few choices in which cars they want to drive players also have the option to choose between Beginner (automatic) and Professional (manual) transmission before starting a race.    The ability to choose race tracks, car types along with transmission type was helpful in allowing players to select settings that would reflect their skill level in this game.  The ability for players to choose their race settings was a great feature included in Scud Race because the game is tougher than it looks.  In Scud Race players have to race against 39 competitors in order to win at first place.  Is fun as Scud race was to play arcade centers some people probably wished the game had received ports for either the Sega Saturn or Dreamcast.  Despite, not receiving ports for either console Scud Race was still a very exciting arcade classic that many people enjoyed along with various other racing titles back the the 90’s.