Saturday, October 31, 2015

The horror of the pile of shame...

A lot of gamers my age have a "pile of shame", especially if you live near a Gamestop or somewhere else where it's easy to get games on the cheap after the novelty has worn off for someone else. Sometimes the problem is that you get started on a game and get stuck for some reason, sometimes the problem is that you pick up a game when you're in the middle of some different game and it takes a while to get to it and then some really new cool game comes out and the bargain game has to wait a little longer before you even start it. Another thing that happens with the pile of shame for adults, is that there are games that you may not want to play when your kids are watching, so the combination of having both motive and opportunity may not come up often enough for you to make significant progress in the game. Since it's Halloween, I was thinking that I would try to take a stab (heh) at some of the scary games in my pile of shame.

I finally started the PS3 version of Splatterhouse (2010) months ago, and had gotten stuck when I couldn't figure out how to get health back and exit a room on an early level. It's the typical love story game, boy meets girl, boy loses girl in haunted house, boy is nearly killed by said haunted house, evil mask meets boy and tells him he's going to help him get his girlfriend back while fighting his way down to the bottom of the underworld. I picked it back up again the other day, and I think that I figured out why it was in the cheap bin. While I was able to figure out how to regain health, there are a few places where the game doesn't feel quite tuned - particularly when you're trying to impale enemies on spikes (which seems to be the most complicated way to open doors in the game so far). I was pleasantly surprised by the sidescrolling section of the game early on, creating the feel of the original arcade game, and I was just regular surprised by the collectibles in the game as they are pieces of pictures of the protagonist's girlfriend in various states of undress. The making of Splatterhouse has its own sordid tale, since Namco had to throw off the original developer and seize all of the available game assets and hand it off to another company to finish.

Once I got tired of  opening doors by impaling enemies on spikes, I gave Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z (2014) a try. While it's supposed to be in the Ninja Gaiden series, and it's made by Koei Tecmo, it seems a lot different from the other Ninja Gaiden games. The first big difference, and why it's even here in the Halloween lineup at all, is that you play as an undead ninja, and you're fighting even more undead. (I'm sure the National Association for the Advancement of Undead People didn't sanction a game where the living-challenged are committing acts of zombie-on-zombie violence.) It feels more like God of War than Ninja Gaiden. The combat is very fluid, but sometimes it's hard to grab opponents during combos, and it's hard to throw a zombie at a helicopter while the helicopter is trying to shoot missiles at you.

I still have yet to finish Resident Evil 6, partly because they changed the controls again (I just got used to 5!) and partly because with so many different character scenarios it's hard to get involved in the characters. Certainly there are many scares there to be had, but after a while the idea of a giant evil biotechnology corporation starts to become more scary than the zombies bioweapons sent to attack your characters.

What I really keep hoping is that we'll see another Evil Dead game on modern hardware, since we haven't seen once since Evil Dead:Regeneration (no, phone games don't count). Since Starz has a new Ash vs Evil Dead series going now, maybe we're going to see a game to go with it.

But, knowing how things go, I'm sure I'll pick up a few cheap games in the meantime that I won't finish all of.

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