Immortal Redneck is, unfortunately, not going to get the attention it deserves. It’s neither a fantastic game nor a bad game, nor is it original in any sense, but it does combine elements from several other games into one package and does it fairly well.
You play as, what else, an immortal redneck mummy with a wooden pistol, shotgun, and dynamite. At least those are your starter weapons. The game is set in Egypt and the idea is to defeat all the enemies on each “floor” to make it to the top of a pyramid. The game is a mix between Serious Sam, Rogue Legacy, and Dark Souls. Like Serious Sam, the game is set in Egypt and features fast-paced first-person shooting action with strange monsters. The game almost looks like Serious Sam as well. Like Rogue Legacy, when you die, you actually get stronger by using the gold you collected to unlock various upgrades and buy new weapons.
Like Dark Souls, the game is extremely hard, gets repetitive, and isn’t for people wanting a linear FPS experience. Your first hour you will spend just dying a lot and obtaining upgrades until you can unlock the weapons shop and that’s where things pick up. However, the constant repetition of going floor to floor, despite it being randomly generated, can be annoying and get boring after a while. Redneck doesn’t have much going for it style-wise that other games haven’t tried. It looks good, on a technical base, and the shooting feels just fine.
The issue would be just the difficulty alone and the grinding to achieve better weapons and upgrades until you can beat the pyramid. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s also fun enough to make you stick around to the end, but only if you like any of the above-aforementioned games. The game is just average all around honestly, but still worth a weekend purchase. On a second note, it’s nice that the game supports modern systems such as 4K and Ultra Widescreen monitors.
The Weakest Link brings back memories from my childhood. I remember the show being the next Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. I remember the sound bites, that sassy British host, and the fast-paced and addictive play style. Surprisingly, the video game is an exact copy of the game show but is held back by set content.
There are about 2 dozen contestants you can choose from, who are all poorly voiced and have canned sayings which get old quick during the games. The Weakest Link is an elimination-style game that is made up of 6 rounds. The first round starts out 2 minutes and 30 seconds with each round taking 15 seconds off the clock. The host goes around in a randomly chosen order asking trivia questions and you can either bank the amount of cash totaled up so far or answer the question. If you’re wrong or pass you lose the total amount of money queued.
For the video game the answers start out with one letter and as the timer goes down more letters are revealed. This is obviously easier and faster than typing in a full answer as that wouldn’t be any fun. The trivia questions can be rather hard and range from science to sports so having multiple people in the room helps a lot. When the round is over each contestant votes off another and here’s where the game becomes a little stale. The AI will automatically vote off the weakest link for the round which is annoying if it’s you. This is the furthest from the game as the contestants don’t know who’s the strongest or weakest link for the round, but somehow the AI knows.
The game continues in this fashion with live-action clips of the host rambling on pre-scripted sayings and jokes from the show. It’s nice to see but after about an hour you start to see some repeats. Honestly, the only way to play this is with other people, and the way too smart AI kind of ruins the game show feeling of the entire experience. It nails down the feeling of The Weakest Link perfectly, but you also have awful voice acting and a limited amount of content.
I would recommend anyone play who was a fan of the show or wants a fun new trivia game to play. Even for the PS1, the graphics are quite nice and it captures the effects of the show. If you can look past the stiffness of it being a pre-set video game and awful voice acting then give it a go.
While Nintendo may have dominated the handheld market before smartphones were even aforethought, there was something about them that made them just seem…ugly. Bulky, low-end specs, battery suckers; these are just a few names that early handhelds received from the original GameBoy, the Atari Lynx, all the way to even the GameBoy Advance. Handhelds required large casings as CPUs hadn’t quite been perfected yet and were large and bulky, not to mention screen technology was the same still being used in Texas Instrument calculators. LCD was extremely expensive and not cost-effective for small devices yet. The same went for battery power. Lithium-ion batteries were extremely expensive and not ideal for handhelds. Then came the GBA SP. A sleek fold-up GameBoy with a rechargeable battery. It was the first of Nintendo’s handhelds that shed the disposable batteries and improved on-screen technology.
The first thing you will notice is the sleek form factor. The GBA SP is an awesome-looking device. The original model was bulky and didn’t quite fit in your pocket, thus having to walk around with those dorky GBA bags. The button placement was perfect and the battery lasted for an amazing 10 hours on one charge (15 if you didn’t use the backlight). There was just this perfect square in your hands and it would amaze schoolyard kids and gaming fans alike. I actually remember having one of these in junior high and original model owners were extremely jealous due to the form factor and the backlight.
Speaking of backlight it was a huge deal. Self-lit LCDs were quite available yet so Nintendo stuck a backlight in the screen to brighten it up as the original model needed an actual flashlight clipped on top. While the screen is still quite dark it made a world of difference and was so much better in the dark. Kids who stayed up late playing their GameBoys were grateful as they no longer needed a flashlight to see the screen and catch their parents’ attention. Later on, however, Nintendo releases a newer model SP with an even brighter screen. These models are harder to find and were released towards the end of the GBA’s life cycle.
One major downfall of the SP is the lack of a headphone jack. The speaker is hard to hear in noisy areas with the volume all the way up, so headphones would be ideal. An adapter was required and went to the Link Cable port as an actual output would not have fit into the casing.
Aside from those issues, the GBA SP was the portable gamers’ dream. A strong library with backward compatibility for the GBA Color and original GameBoy what more could you want?
The GBA SP also came in several colors which weren’t seen too often in the States. Flame Red, Onyx Black, Cobalt Blue, and Silver were amongst the colors available, while a pink model and a retro NES style model were released later on. However, due to the GBA SP’s age, it really shows its teeth. Let’s take a look at the actual specs of the machine.
Powering the entire system is an ARM7TDMI CPU at a whopping 16 MHz. Yeah, it’s ancient tech even for 2003, but it got the job done. It had 128 KB of VRAM and 256 KB of DRAM. Yes, that’s kilobytes. The resolution was 256×160 and displayed an astounding 512 colors. However, those dinky specs were home to some of the greatest games of all time; it just goes to show that power isn’t everything.
With that said, the GBA SP is a must-buy even today. We have smartphones that are nearly as powerful as laptops now, the 3DS, and Vita that trumps the GBA in every aspect, but it’s the games that those devices cannot bring back. While the $130 price tag was well worth it back in 2003, you will pay close to that or more for one in nearly perfect condition. Honestly, they don’t exist. They are scratched up, dinged, and chewed on. I had to buy my new one with a refurbished third-party shell. If you’re a collector go this route on eBay. $60 will get you a new-looking GBA SP. However, if you just want the games and don’t care, they run as low as $30 in pawn shops or on eBay.
I was so excited about this game because I could see the potential it could bring. Lots of gore in a 3D setting with the awesome monster design from the classic arcade and Sega Genesis games. Man, was I wrong? This game is full of so many flaws and good ideas that have gone wrong that just a little playtesting and polish could have made this game great. It tries to be a modern action/adventure with a bit of softcore porn and (a lot) of ultra-violence thrown in. The story is somewhat interesting with H.P. Lovecraft-inspired mythos and art style, but you won’t care because most won’t even finish the game.
Splatterhouse is all about combat so let’s start there. The combat is just seriously flawed. I can’t explain enough how unbalanced and frustrating the combat is. If the developers only tweaked it some it would be just right, but there are so many little nuances that drive you crazy. Firstly, you never feel powerful enough. You can acquire new moves, but you never increase in strength. These moves just add to your arsenal of weaknesses. Even the smallest enemy needs a lot of pummeling before they die. This gets really frustrating when the game throws a lot of enemies at you. You are just so overwhelmed and you rely on your Mask powers which use the poorly balanced blood meter. This meter can be increased with upgrades, but it takes three slots to activate Mask mode. In Mask mode, you can slaughter enemies easily, but it doesn’t last long. Poor use of this meter is when you do temporary Mask attacks like Splatter or Smash. They each use a blood slot. Why?! That is so frustrating because you need to use it because the regular attacks aren’t powerful enough. If you use these special attacks you will never be able to enter Mask mode when you really need it. Highly unbalanced and frustrating.
If that isn’t enough let’s talk about the weapons and 2D platforming sections. They tried to be cute and go back to Splatterhouse roots, but they just ruin your precious memories of that game. Whenever you just touch an obstacle you get hurt. The jumping is terrible with no momentum at play. The run button is flawed because you can’t interrupt it so you have to remember how far you run because Rick just stops and it takes forever for the animation to end. This leads to cheap deaths which lead to horrendously long load times that can take up to a minute. You will die a lot in this game so expect to endure long load times after each death. If that isn’t enough the weapons break just after a few hits, and instead of creating more interesting enemies the last four levels of the game are just ridiculously difficult because tons of sub-bosses are thrown at you to compensate for lazy enemies design. There are only about 6 different enemies in the whole game and they are not any fun to even kill. The Splatter Kills are fun during the first level, but there are only about 4 different animations! This game just wants you to hate it.
So if that isn’t enough to keep you away I don’t know what will. A few of the bosses are pretty fun but towards the end that kind of stops. There are some interesting combat puzzles that are flawed due to poor hit detection. Even if you beat the game why would you want to come back for combat arenas? The combat system is just slow, unresponsive, full of uninterruptible animations, and just not fun at all. If you really want to play you can pick up the nude Jenny photos along the way, but it isn’t even worth it for that. Splatterhouse has a lot of potentials but ultimately fails due to lazy game design and unbalanced everything. The story and art are nice with a lot of gore, but even the graphics are lacking due to using the outdated Unreal Engine 3. I honestly can’t even recommend a rental. Stick with the three Sega Genesis games and forget this even exist. Maybe next time? We will have to see.