BloodRayne 2

Something to sink your teeth into

The Game
Rayne, the half human, half vampire is back to battle the dark forces in her never ending quest for revenge on the vampire that created her. While continuing her quest to kill off all the remaining offspring of the original vampire that created her, Rayne stumbles upon a new plot by the vampires to overtake mankind’s slot at the top of the food chain, and now it’s up to her to put a stop to it!
The original game was set in Nazi war-time Germany. This time around, Rayne is in modern times and looking just as good as she shoots and slashes her way through the hordes of the night.

Rayne’s move set has expanded since the first game. She now can slash, kick and shoot, as well as pick up new special abilities along the way. Combos can be pulled off with the pressing the right combination of buttons, but most of the time you’ll probably just be mashing one button combos as the enemies really don’t give you much space to be technical.
The levels can be big and confusing at times. You follow a fixed path, but often times you’ll come to dead ends and need to figure out ways to get across obstacles, like tossing a certain number of enemies into a wall to break it open. You can switch Rayne’s vision to see where your supposed to be heading if you get lost though, but the challenge of how to get there still remains at times.

She also has a host of athletic abilities like climbing poles, and sliding down them upside down and shot at the same time! Learning these abilities are a must to get further into the game and luckilly there is a tutorial to show you the ropes as well as when to use them.
The camera angles could use some work though. You can control the camera, but it’s a pain when most of the time the enemies like to attack you from behind, so you have to keep moving and find an opening to swing around for an attack.

Graphics & Sound

Needless to say that Rayne looks great, and the same could be said for the backdrop of the game, with its dark, gritty city-scaping. It’s actually reminiscent of the Max Payne games, even down to the sneaking up to walls to listening to the funny conversations of enemies! May not be original, but looks good anyways.
The audio goes from silent to heavy metal to some goth. The voice acting is passable, with Rayne having the best voice acting compared to the other characters in the game. Her one-liners could use some help though.

This game can be REALLY difficult at times, especially the boss battles. Even some of the normal enemies can be really annoying cause they attack from all sides and you can’t damage them until you disarm them.

The camera can be a problem too cause the enemies like to attack from behind and you have a hard time adjusting the camera to get them in view that you need to run away to get some space between you. Bit of a hassle, but that’s probably the strategy of the game the developers were looking for.

BloodRayne 2 might not be the best or most original game to come out, and it even has been said to have a few bugs in the game. But it should appeal to fans of the original, and hardcore action gamer who were fans of Max Payne and Dead to Rights.
Here’s hoping they do a better job with BloodRayne 3 if they decide to make it.

Game Ratings:
Graphics – 8
Sound – 7
Gameplay – 7
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 7


Katamari Damacy sequel announced!

A sequel to the bizarre but addictive Namco title Katamari Damacy has been officially announced! Tentatively titled Minna Daisuki Katamari Damacy, it's expected to be released around Spring 2005, and will feature the same ball rolling gameplay and controls that made the original a cult classic! And four new areas have already been announced: Snacks (house of biscuits etc), Race (Race track), Classroom and Zoo. This is definately one of the games to look out for in 2005!

More information at Gamespot.com

Godzilla - Save The Earth

City stompin’ time!

The Game
The big nuclear powered lizard that has been terrorizing Japan for about fifty years now is said to be going into retirement with the release of his latest movie, Godzilla: Final Wars. So somebody saw it fit to make a big ol’ beat ‘em game based on the big guy with a host of other city stomping monsters that he’s done battle with throughout his career. That’s right, this is more or less a one-on-one beat ‘em up as you pit giant monsters in a city type backdrop and let them literally tear the town apart as they battle for dominance.
The best way to describe the game is (insert name of 3D fighter here) but with giant monsters instead. You have a handful to select from at the start, but more become unlockable as you play through the game.

Your controls are fairly simple: punch, kick, swing of a tail (if any), grab/throw, block, jump and special attack. You could pull off some combos by chaining different button combinations together, but it really plays more like a bash all the buttons kinda game with no real strategy to it. At least that’s what it feels like to me.
Nice touch being if you shoot a beam attack, you can control the direction and aim with the right analog stick. So you can try to shoot around to cause as much damage to the city as possible, or try to hit air-born targets out of the sky.
One problem is that it’s not a free roaming environment. There are limits to how far you can move around the screen. More freedom to roam would have been nice, and I bet Godzilla wouldn’t be such a problem if they actually developed the laser barriers like the one in the game that stops you from leaving the area your fighting in.

Graphics & Sound
The cities are nice and detailed, and everything in the background can be destroyed by stomping them, picking up buildings as weapons, tossing your opponents on or through them, or just blasting them with you beam attack if you have one.
The monsters themselves look rather cartoony, even the more serious ones from later in the series. They all look OK, but rather small on screen due to the destroyable environment.
Audio is classic Godzilla-orchestra fare with the actual monster growls and screams added to the game.

The points you earn as you play the game can be used to purchase extras and bonus stuff like hidden monsters, concept art and screen shots from the making of the latest movie. Personally, I would have preferred movie clips or trailers or something instead of just still shots.

Add this to the list of other Godzilla games that bombed. It was a good idea, but this is really forgettable, you might even stop playing it after the first game since it’s so repeatative! Maybe only kids or a true hardcore Godzilla fan or collector might look into this.

Game Ratings:
Graphics – 7
Sound – 7
Gameplay – 5
Lifespan – 4
Overall – 4


Holiday Season Gaming

I just bought a bunch of new games yesterday. May not be able to play them or review them in time before the new year, but here are some short previews.

- A new entry into the survival horror genre, but said to be more action based. But hey, anytime you use a Japanese horror theme (think Fatal Frame 2), you can't really go wrong and will definately be in for a frightfull time!

Viewtiful Joe 2
- I haven't even played part 1! Should also be another fun beat 'em up that I have high expectations for. Maybe Capcom will put Joe in a future fighting game?

James Bond 007: Rogue Agent
A highly acclaimed first person shooter game where you play as the heel agent instead! TenzanTeam2K recommended this to me awhile back, and it should be good.

Miami Vice
Honestly, how many of you played GTA:Vice City and thought it would have been perfect for this 80's TV show? I'm not expecting this to be a classic, but should be good after the dissapointing GTA:San Andreas.

Pool Shark 2
- I normally play alot of snooker and pool online using Real Arcade. This game gets my interest a bit since it's not a regular pool game. Here you have characters with attitude to play as, and should be interesting to see how it stands out.


Capcom Fighting Evolution

Some of Capcom's best come together to duke it out one more time. Emphasis on some...

The Game
Capcom’s latest foray into the dying 2D fighting games market sees them once again making a compilation game grabbing characters from other fighting games in their catalogue and throwing them into the same arena to see who is the best of the best of the best and so forth like almost any other fighter out there today.

This time around you get 16 fighters from 5 Capcom classics:
Street Fighter 2: Ryu, Guile, Zangief and M. Bison
Street Fighter 3: Chun Li, Yun, Alex and Urien
Street Fighter Alpha: Guy, Sakura, Karin and Rose
Darkstalkers: Demitri, Jedah, Felicia and Anakaris
Red Earth: Leo, Kenji, Hydron and Hauser

There is also one new original character, Ingrid, who looks like a little girl, but is actually much older. She also plays kinda like Kula from the King of Fighters games.
And also two unlock-able boss characters: Pyron from Darkstalkers and Shin Akuma from the Street Fighter series.
There isn’t an overall storyline either. Just everyone thrown into the game like I mentioned above. You do get a very nice comic book page type ending for each character when you finish the game though. SNK/Playmore should learn from that and not make the King of Fighters game endings so pointless like they are now.

You’ve got the standard Capcom six-button controller setup, and the regular special move sets for each character from their game. But the thing about it now is that you only get the super moves and abilities that each character had in their original game. Meaning the Street Fighter 2 cast only have one super move, where as the Street Fighter 3 fighters can parry attacks from other fighters. They also gave the Street Fighter 3 fighters all their super moves instead of selecting just one when you pick your character.
Another aspect of the gameplay is that you play in a tag team instead of one-on-one. So you pick two fighters at the start to play through the game with. They also borrowed the Rival Schools system where you can switch fighters between rounds. It’s not really a big deal though it does add some element of strategy as certain characters do have advantages over others, so being able to switch fighters in between rounds sort of balances things out a bit.
The last boss Pyron isn’t much of a challenge, but get to Shin Akuma, and you’ll once again see his classic cheapness as he just owns most of the fighters. They actually managed to make his attacks even cheaper and more arrogant as he will stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and no matter what you try he’ll still beat you to the punch! I hate it when programmers make bosses that read your moves like that.

Graphics & Sound
Despite touching up the characters a bit, there’s still the sense of copy and paste for most characters. The only noticeable character with improvement in his looks is probably Zangief. Everyone was resized to fit in here, but I really would have preferred some more tweaking to the fighters looks rather than just using back the sprites from the previous games. I also would have liked if the characters were made just a tad bit bigger.
The backgrounds for each level are really nothing to shout home about either. You’ll see other Capcom characters in most of the backgrounds, but most of them are motionless statues, save for maybe a swinging arm much like the first Street Fighter 2 game backgrounds.
Audio is pretty much OK also, with the usual Capcom flare background music and all the current voices for the fighters. Beating the game also unlocks the original arcade themes for the fighters in the audio options. The music is mostly nothing memorable like those classic tracks though.

One of the main complaints about the game is the lack of characters to select from. 17 characters in this day and age isn’t really a lot.
Another problem I have with the game is the lack of an in-game movelist. There isn’t even one in the training mode! This might be OK if your already familiar with the characters, as I’m sure most of you are, but not everybody knows the moves for all the characters here, like the Red Earth fighters and Ingrid.
There’s also a lack of play modes. Arcade, Versus and Practice just aren’t enough. A Survival mode would have been nice.

As the name refers, Capcom Fighting Evolution sort of shows how the games have evolved over the years, but it ends up as really being nothing all that special. I get the feeling Capcom are planning a sequel that would definitely be bigger than this and perhaps throw in more characters from other fighting games in their vast catalogue. This game is suitable only if your into collecting Capcom fighters, or are really into 2D fighters. Otherwise, it’s better to try renting or borrowing it from someone to try it out before actually buying it.
After this, Capcom still have Capcom Fighting All Stars coming out, a 3D fighter featuring characters from Street Fighter EX, Rival Schools and Final Fight. But seriously, when are they gonna stop kidding us and just put out Street Fighter 4?

Graphics – 7
Sound – 7
Gameplay – 8
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 6



What better way to kick off a new month than with a bunch of new games?

Capcom Fighting Evolution
Capcom's latest foray into the dying 2D fighting games market. Featuring sixteen fighters from five classic 2D arcade fighters (Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter 3, Street Fighter Alpha, Darkstalkers and the more obscure Red Earth), it'll be interesting to see how it measures up in this day and age when new 2D fighters are rare.

Outlaw Golf 2
The sequel to the original, with new courses, new characters, and some additional fun thrown, such as being the first ever golfing game that lets you get behind the wheel of your golf cart! I really liked the original, and can't wait to get started on this!

Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Another World War 2 first-person shooter. The market is over-saturated with them, but this could still be a good game considering the franchise it's from. And hopefully there are some good sniper elements to it too.