Game Review: “Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier” for the PS2

As in previous installments, through the course of the game, Jak acquires weapons and abilities that bring a lot of variety to the gameplay. Instead of just retreading old territory with eco-based powers from previous games, however, this game brings a whole slew of new toys, including a weaponized ball of energy you can throw at enemies, temporary eco-crystals you can grow to change your environment at strategic locations, an ersatz jet-pack, and the ability to slow time (okay, that one was from previous games).

Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3)

arkhamasylumThe game is a little on the short side, but the richness of the world and the large number of extras make up for a briefer linear gameplay. The game’s foremost flaw is that while it provides maps of the island and its various buildings, it’s not always clear how to get from one place to another; a door that was unlocked before may be locked now, and because the buildings are so large and labyrinthine, it can be difficult to figure out how to get out.

Niche Game: Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is a parallel world story, with a twist. The game is a joint venture between Squaresoft and Disney, released in 2002 for the PS2. The main character, Sora, travels from world to world, and each of them will be very familiar, because each is the setting of a Disney movie, from the pride lands of The Lion King, Wonderland, and Neverland. Besides the worlds, there are also many cameos from Disney characters, and characters from Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy series.

Niche Game: Final Fantasy Tactics

Final Fantasy Tactics uses a completely different battle system entirely. It is still turn-based, but the real interesting part is the use of terrain. The layout of the level has as much effect on the outcome of the battle as the strengths of the enemies or the skill of the player. In particular, holding the high ground is very important if either side has ranged fighters. Archers and mages are incredibly effective if they gain a little height, as their attacks gain a great deal of range when shooting at a lower location.

Review: Tweedlioop by Stanley Schmidt

TweedlioopThe state of our economy has forced many to make hard choices when it comes to spending money on entertainment. If you are one that likes to plow through a new book in a day or two (I generally prefer to take my time), 7.95 for a paperback novel can start to get pricey after awhile. Let me introduce you to the world of the used book.

Niche Game: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

In the game, Bart is the only one who knows that space mutants have begun an invasion of Springfield. He knows this because his X-ray specs let him see through the aliens human disguises, to see the tentacle-headed monsters beneath. No one believes him so he’s on his own to stop the alien invasion.

Niche Game: Black & White

The title refers to your ability to choose your own path. You can be good or evil and you can complete the game either way. If you choose to follow the path of good, then you might help people grow their crops, save people’s lives as often as possible, and make people feel good. If you want to follow the path of evil, then intimidation is the way, human sacrifice, flying fireballs, that sort of thing. And you don’t have to strictly choose one or the other, you can make every choice however you want.

Niche Game: Deus Ex

The year is 2050. The world is in a state of chaos. The Gray Death plague runs rampant, ripping through the populace. There is a vaccine, but it is in very short supply and is primarily used for the rich and famous. Riots occur everywhere, and anti-government groups are becoming more and more prominent. To combat this, the United Nations has formed a worldwide police force called UNATCO, the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.

Game Review: Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time

RatchetLike previous installments, CIT delivers lots of weapons (though the Quickselect menu is no longer customizable), enemies, worlds, spectacular visuals, and gadgets. The series’ humor is still firmly in place. Particular favorites include Mr. Zurkon, a homicidal “synthenoid” robot who loves to taunt your enemies (and sometimes your friends), and the battery bots, who complain bitterly every time their brief rebellions against being used as power sources are thwarted. The game also introduces mini-worlds with mini-games that feature various prizes, including treasure items and weapons mods.

Niche Game: Blast Corps

Two defective nuclear missiles are being transported cross country to a controlled demolition site. In transit, they start leaking, and the autopilot of the carrier kicks in, sending it on a direct path to the destination at a steady speed to the demolition site. A DIRECT path, completely disregarding any buildings or any other obstacles If it hits any bump, no matter how small, it will detonate. So the demolition squad called Blast Corps is hired to tear down everything in the carrier’s way.