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Posts with tag RetroReview

Retro Review: Crash Bandicoot 2

Crash Bandicoot 2
Original Release Date:
October 31, 1997

Crash's second outing on PS1 has hit the PS Store. While the original romp was an enjoyable experience (that we recommended), it's clear that the sequel is an improvement in every single way possible.

From the get-go, one can tell that the visuals are filled with far more detail and animation than the original. Although the story gives little reason for Crash to continue his adventure, it creates a far more manageable means of navigating from level to level. Crash can warp to any level he chooses, and will be able to tackle the challenges in any order he chooses. However, the best addition to the game is the ability to save any time you want. The original featured an archaic system that allowed players to save a limited number of times. With the ability to save in between each level, Crash Bandicoot 2 is far more suitable for handheld play.

Continue reading Retro Review: Crash Bandicoot 2

Retro Review: Warhawk

Original Release Date:
November 10, 1995

Not Recommended.
It seems unfair to capitalize on the popularity of the PS3 multiplayer game, Warhawk. Although largely heralded when it first arrived on PS1 more than a decade ago, it's clear that this PS1 legend hasn't aged well. Every aspect of the game feels antiquated, from the dated visuals, painful cinemas, and frustrating controls that simply don't translate well on the PSP (the PS3 controller works far better).

An ominous feeling sinks in when you experience the game's introductory sequence. Real actors are rarely used in modern game cinemas -- for good reason! While there is a certain charm in the camp on display, the cinematics do little do actually further the paper-thin story that's being told. The PS1 original has as much narrative as the PS3 sequel (that is, none at all).

Continue reading Retro Review: Warhawk

Retro Review: Wild Arms

Wild Arms
Original Release Date:
April 30, 1997

Is there any better deal on the PS Store at the moment? Probably not. Wild Arms is an excellent RPG that was overlooked by many, mostly due to the monstrous release of Final Fantasy VII on the original PS1. With fans eager anticipating Squaresoft's legendary RPG, many never took a chance with Wild Arms. Now, you can correct that mistake and download it to your PS3/PSP.

Unsurprisingly, the game is filled with genre conventions, archetypes and stereotypes. That's expected of a game that's as old as this one. But, color us surprised at how wonderfully the storyline is executed, with its multiple narratives following different characters. You play through three paths: one of a child "dreamer" (that triggers the game's focal adventure), an Indiana Jones-like adventurer, and a magician that hears the voices of spirits. All three stories feel completely different from each other, and feature different challenges to get through. The way the story ultimately merges is well-executed -- modern games can learn a lot from Wild Arms!

The battle mechanics have a surprising amount of depth to them as well. Enemy encounters are typical turn-based affairs, but a surprisingly deep magic and "force" system make things far more involving. Battles may be fun, but the dungeons themselves are even more so, with devilish puzzles challenging players every step of the way. The use of "tools" for each character in the game field is nice. We also love the "Auto Equip" feature that's rare to find in RPGs as aged as this one.

The 2D graphics really shine on the PSP's small screen. Although the 3D sequences haven't aged well, the game still manages to look sharp, while maintaining a smooth framerate. A lengthy adventure awaits those that invest in Wild Arms, and at $6, it's a terrific value. Save points may not be as frequent as we'd like (this is a console game, after all). But, we have to bestow upon Wild Arms our highest recommendation. Buy it.
Retro Review: 8.0

Retro Review: Twisted Metal 2

Twisted Metal 2
Original Release Date:
October 31, 1996

Once again, another stellar retro classic hits the PS Store, for play on both PSP and PS3. Twisted Metal 2 is an improved sequel of the most definitive car combat game of all time. There's a reason why Twisted Metal was so beloved: it had a lot of personality, with its apocalyptic levels and crazed vehicle designs. The relentless difficulty of the game and simplistic presentation take a lot away from this re-release, but at $6, it's still a fairly solid retread to invest in, especially for portable gamers.

Once again, the simple controls work well on the PSP (using control type 2). The cars are incredibly responsive, and can make unrealistically sharp turns at a moment's notice. It felt weird using Square to accelerate (instead of X), but there are very few surprises in the controls. Weapons are easy to switch between, and they're easy to use as well. It can become problematic to find enemies in the game's relatively large levels, but when competition is near, it's fast and furious.

Overall, what hurts this retro game is how difficult it is. There's multiple choices, but it's not easy to take down a racer, and health upgrades are few and far apart. It'll take a lot of luck and skill to survive the game's championship mode. Thankfully, the ability to play individual tracks will help you discover the locations of secrets, giving you a much-needed edge in a rather unfair fight.
Retro Review: 6.0

Retro Review: Spyro the Dragon

Spyro the Dragon
Original Release Date:
September 10, 1998

Of all the retro re-releases on the PS Store so far, this is the most ideally suited for the PSP. With frequent save points, fast load times, and generally solid gameplay, Insomniac's early platformer still manages to impress. The gameplay is admittedly on the simplistic side, but there is no doubt that nearly a decade ago, Insomniac was pushing some truly impressive tech. The graphics are silky smooth, and the Sypro character lives with animation akin to that of the Ratchet series. The game looks as good as an average PSP game (albeit running in 4:3).

Make sure you switch to control type 4 on the PSP. You'll be surprised at how well Spyro can be controlled. Platforming is a breeze, and the camera (controlled by the D-Pad) works surprisingly well (provided you switch to the Active camera system). Gliding and shooting flames comes with such ease that navigating the expansive colorful worlds is quite charming. Don't expect the game to get difficult, though. This is clearly a children's game, and the platforming (and especially combat) rarely test the player's mettle.

Save points do come every five minutes making it the ideal PSP game to download. At $6, this is a fantastic value for a classic. Fans of Insomniac's other games will do well in picking up this piece of PlayStation history.
Retro Review: 7.5

Retro Review: Wipeout

Price: $5.99
Original Release Date: November 21, 1995

There's very little reason to pick up Wipeout from the PS Store, especially with Wipeout Pure already available on the console (at a budget price as well!). Regardless, the original PlayStation Wipeout still manages to entertain, withstanding the test of time. The presentation is certainly not as sleek as that found in Pure, but the easy-to-navigate menus and brisk load times (when disc acceleration is used) are quite appreciated. The game has aged well visually: the framerate is smooth and the art style does a lot to compensate for the lack of polygons. The draw distance might not be what players expect from a modern game, and in a game that moves this quickly, that can be a problem. On both the PSP and PS3, the game still looks quite nice, with the PS3's upscaling doing a miraculous job.

The controls are a bit too loose in this first iteration of the franchise, and hitting walls is unforgiving. However, with a pretty undemanding AI to compete against, the only racer you should really consider is yourself. That's a shame, considering it makes the plethora of weapons rather useless.

Ultimately, the game's true shortcoming is well ... how short it is. With so few tracks and ships to choose from, one can't help but think that $6 is the absolute most you should pay for this trip down memory lane. A solid game -- but there's far better options (at least for PSP owners).
Retro Review: 6.5

Retro Review: Castlevania Symphony of the Night

File Size: 356 MB
Price: $9.99
Developed By: Konami
Published By: Konami
Original Release Date: October 2, 1997

Short Review

One of the most frequently requested PS1 titles finally hits the PlayStation Store, with Konami releasing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The title holds its age remarkably well and clearly shows why it is considered one of the finest titles of the original PlayStation era. The graphics look surprisingly sharp and colorful on the PSP and hold up nicely even when displayed on a 52" HD TV via the PS3. The gameplay is the real selling point here though, as you romp through a fairly non-linear castle, with a full RPG-like leveling system, magic, special moves and colorful monsters, the lengthy campaign is well worth paying the higher-than-normal cost of this retro title. Overall, Castlevania: SotN is a fantastic addition to the PlayStation Store's lineup and should not be miss by any Castlevania or 2D platformer fans.

Continue reading Retro Review: Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Retro Review: Destruction Derby

File Size: 65MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Reflections Interactive
Published By: Psygnosis
Original Release Date: November 1, 1995

Short Review
Destruction Derby is easily one of the finest PS1 games for play on the PSP. The graphics aren't too advanced, and the controls aren't very tight. And although there aren't too many tracks to race on, it's undeniable that the game is fun. The crash-heavy gameplay of Destruction Derby makes for an intense racing experience, and the ability to quickly jump into a single race and save at any time in a circuit makes Destruction Derby a truly ideal portable game. With such a small memory requirement, anyone that has the ability to play PS1 games on their PSP should make this a permanent part of their collection.

Continue reading Retro Review: Destruction Derby

Retro Review: 2 Xtreme

File Size: 407MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: October 31, 1996

Short Review
Not Recommended.
"Good" is not a word you'd want to use anywhere near this game. 2 Xtreme is easily one of the worst games that I've ever played in my life--you wouldn't even inflict this upon your mortal enemies. Grinding your testicles through a cheese grater might prove to be more fun. (If you're a girl, growing some for the sole purpose of self-mutilation will sure to be more entertaining than this disaster of a game.) No matter how hard you try, it will be nearly impossible to find 2 Xtreme enjoyable.

Continue reading Retro Review: 2 Xtreme

Retro Review: Jet Moto

File Size: 73MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: SingleTrac
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: October 31, 1996

Short Review
Not Recommended. What is wrong with Sony's PlayStation Store? The platform should be used as a vehicle to drive fans to the incredible array of classics that defined the 32-bit generation. (Notice the incredible number of puns here?) Instead, the current selection of games would make one believe that the PS1 only had racing games ... and these games have certainly aged quite poorly. Jet Moto might be fun for a little while, but age has ravaged it quite horribly. Heck, it wasn't even that good when it first came out--paling in the likes of Wave Race 64. Don't waste your $6 on a game like this: it simply isn't worth it.

Continue reading Retro Review: Jet Moto

Retro Review: Rally Cross

File Size: 101MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: January 31, 1997

Short Review
Not Recommended.
Rally Cross may emulate the feel of being in a real rally car better than any modern racing game. Why? Because it makes you want to puke. Expect to be flipped over and over again, as your car tumbles through pixelated worlds dictated by horrifyingly weightless physics. The touchy controls, the poor presentation, and the vomit after-taste should be reasons enough to avoid this racer. It's not like the PSP doesn't have far better racing games.

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Retro Review: Jumping Flash!

File Size: 269MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Exact
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: November 1995

Short Review
Recommended. Although the original Jumping Flash! came out over a decade ago, it manages to feel innovative and fresh. The grainy, antiquated graphics do no harm to the fun, vibrant atmosphere of the game, filled with great music and fun character. The game is simply a blast, and one can only hope that a modern-day sequel will be made. The limited save system is annoying for gamers on the go, but those with time to kill will easily find Jumping Flash! to be the best downloadable PSone game so far.

Continue reading Retro Review: Jumping Flash!

Retro Review: Medievil

File Size: 330MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Millenium Interact
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: October 1, 1998

Short Review
Not Recommended. Bringing Medievil to the PlayStation Store was a questionable decision at best. The original PSone game didn't bring anything new to the table, and it's PSP remake didn't fare any better. The gameplay has aged quite poorly over the past eight years, making Medievil a game that you'd like to like ... but can't. Don't let the endearing characters and setting fool you: Medievil is bad.

Continue reading Retro Review: Medievil

Retro Review: Tekken 2

File Size: 534MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Namco
Published By: Namco
Original Release Date: September 15, 1996

Short Review
Not Recommended.
Tekken 2 unfortunately shows its age. There's a great deal of gameplay to be discovered in this treasured arcade classic, but the advances made by Tekken: Dark Resurrection are so significant that it's difficult to appreciate the technical shortcomings of Tekken 2. Gamers will have to choose if they'd rather spend $6 for a great classic game, or $40 for an even better modern one.

PSP Fanboy Retro Review: 5.5 out of 10
See all Retro Reviews.

Retro Review: Syphon Filter

File Size: 384MB
Price: $5.99
Developed By: Eidetic
Published By: 989 Studios
Original Release Date: January 31, 1999

Short Review
Not Recommended. Syphon Filter's impressive PSP outing, Dark Mirror, deserves all the accolades it has been earning over the past few months. Gamers should not expect the original Syphon Filter to match the Dark Mirror's quality: the game suffers from lackluster graphics, horrendous controls, and presentation values that simply don't work well on the modern palette. Avoid this one.

Continue reading Retro Review: Syphon Filter

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