dark        
Lord Spencer blog header photo
Lord Spencer's c-blog
Fronts 3Posts 261Blogs 276Following 0Followers 62


 
 

LONG BLOG

PS1 REVIEWS REPORT: A50-A41

   0

The PlayStation 1 had such a massive library of games that it is impossible to do it justice with a simple top 100 games list. As such, I decided to supplement my usual review of a top 100 games list (this time, I used the top 100 PS1 games list from Retro Sanctuary) with other games picked up from different lists. This parallel "Additional List" is not numbered in any ordered way, so the quality of the titles theoretically varies from top to bottom with no rhyme or reason.

This report covers 10 game series, with four of them having two games in the same generation, for a total of fourteen games. Of these games, I only fully reviewed three games, since the rest of these consist of genres that I don't usually cover in these reviews or games that I played thoroughly a long time ago. Unlike the previous supplemental list reports, I don't think any of these games deserve to be included in a top 100 PS1 games list with the exception of Harvest Moon, but it should be said that the Point-and-Click Adventure games are good, but are better controlled on the PC. Also, Pac-Man World and Bust A Groove are decent games. Ironically, all the games I reviewed weren't particularly good and should be ignored.

Here is a brief on these fourteen games, please enjoy:-

A50- Discworld and Discworld II (1995, 1997):

  • Genre: Pont-and-Click Adventure.
  • Publisher: Psygnosis; Developer: Perfect Entertainment, Teeny Weeny Games.

I decided to combine these two games in one section because they are really similar to each other. This is a comical Point-and-Click Adventure game based on Terry Pratchett's famous Discworld novels. It has a charming cartoony style with stellar dialogue and voice acting, including the voice of Eric Idle of Monty Python's fame. One issue that is common to both games is the extensive amount of dialogue, which while funny, grinds the pace of the game to a halt.

Another issue, which is common to games in the genre, is the illogical puzzles that require specific steps to count. Regardless, the game just controls better on the PC, and that's its natural home.

A49- Discworld Noir (1999):

  • Genre: Pont-and-Click Adventure.
  • Publisher: GT Interactive; Developer: Perfect Entertainment, Teeny Weeny Games.

This is another game based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, but it replaces the comic high fantasy setting with a comic Noir setting. It succeeds in creating a unique story that fits Pratchett's work and is considered better than the more faithful adaptations of his work.

It also is better balanced gameplay-wise, but it is still better on the PC than on the PlayStation.

A48- Harvest Moon: Back to Nature (1999):

  • Genre: Farming Simulation.
  • Publisher: Victor Interactive Software, Natsume; Developer: Victor Interactive Software.

This is the prime farming sim game of its era, and it managed to be so not by being the only one (although that's true) but by making farming so damn fun. It has an interesting and addictive farming loop as well a nice relationship-building system with the people in town.

I don't feel I can talk much about it, since I played it too much that I still dream of it today. Like its counterpart on the Nintendo 64, this is just a great game. Maybe I can talk about how Karen (the girl above)  is literally my first ever crush, but I won't kiss and tell.

A47- Skullmonekys (1998):

  • Genre: Platformer.
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts; Developer: The Neverhood, Inc.

The onset of 3D graphics in the 5th generation led industry leaders in animation, such as DreamWorks, to gravitate towards making videogames. Some of those games, like Skullmonkeys, were visual and graphical masterpieces that still hold up today.

However, other than its brilliant clay aesthetic and animations, the game is not a particularly engaging platformer at all. You are probably better served watching many of the brilliant claymation movies of the 90s instead.

Other than nailing the clay aesthetic in both its amazing cutscenes and in-game graphics, the clay is only half-baked when it comes to its gameplay, especially in its extremely boring and basic level design, which fails to differentiate it from the most average Platforming games in a very crowded genre.

A46- Nectaris: Miltary Madness (1998):

  • Genre: Turn-based Tactical Strategy.
  • Publisher: Hudson Soft; Developer: Hudson Soft.

This is an enhanced port of the classic Nectaris Turn-Based Tactical Strategy game that was so beloved by fans of the genre on earlier consoles such as the TurboGrafix-16. It's an absolutely complex monster of a game that is difficult to approach but is extremely rewarding once you understand how to best play it.

Personally, it's a game I admire from a distance since the absence of a story or characters keeps me from wanting to invest the time to properly learn the complexities of the game.

A45(S)- MediEvil (1998):

  • Genre: Action Adventure.
  • Publisher: Sony; Developer: SCE Cambridge Studios.

As one of the more unlikely mascot games in the PlayStation library, MediEvil has its unique mix of wacky and macabre design to distinguish it. Other than that, the game is not polished enough within its genre, and it has many issues despite its iconic status. Still, people did love Sir Daniel Fortesque, and a remake of the game was published on the PS4 in 2019.

However, the remake did little to update the gameplay. Consequently, the game was widely criticized and has honestly exposed the shortcomings of the source material. MediEvil was always a middle-tier mascot in a middle-tier game.

A45- MediEvil II (2000):

  • Genre: Action Adventure.
  • Publisher: Sony; Developer: SCE Cambridge Studios.

Of the many mascot characters that Sony attempted to craft for their PlayStation brand, none wore that particular role with less grace than Sir Daniel Fortesque of the MediEvil series. That's not to say that his games were bad, but that a suit of armor with a one-eyed skull for a face is not something that usually sells a brand.

However, the competent 3D Action gameplay of the first game did showcase the console's capabilities, and the first game had enough charm and personality to commission a second game to advance the formula. While it's undoubtedly true that the sequel does fix many of the issues of the first game, the result is still a game with an awkward pace, terrible combat, and little to recommend it other than its unique zombie charm.

A lot of people liked, and still like MediEvil and its sequel. They might be seeing something in the game that I am not seeing because all I can see is a mediocre Action-Adventure game with an interesting but poorly realized world and characters.

Then again, the poor reception of the first game's remake may just suggest that this is just people's nostalgia speaking, and not the game's hidden quality.

A44- Pac-Man World (1999):

  • Genre: 3D Platformer.
  • Publisher: Namco; Developer: Namco.

In the age of mascot characters, it makes sense that Namco would somehow try and convert their 2D Slice-Less Pizza of a character into a fully-fledged 3D creature. Enter Pac-Man World, a surprisingly competent 3D Platformer that makes little sense within the established design credentials of the series, but still provided the necessary material for a full spot on the roster of Super Smash Bros. years later.

Admittedly, I don't remember much of the game other than the fact that I played it, finished it, and enjoyed it despite some notable difficulty spikes. Unlike other 3D Platformers of the PlayStation, I don't remember it as fondly as Crash Bandicoot, but don't feel it ever went to the lows of Croc. It just was a solid platformer and the rare chance for Pac-Man to let his legs loose and run.

A43- Shadow Madness (1999):

  • Genre: JRPG.
  • Publisher: Crave Entertainment; Developer: Craveyard Studios, Lobotomy Studios.

Made by a number of ex-Squaresoft US employees, including the influential Ted Woolsey (whose localizations of Final Fantasy IV & VI were the best possible localizations given the constraints, fight me!), Shadow Madness was a Western attempt at making a JRPG like Final Fantasy VII.

In a way, the team succeeded in emulating their inspiration a tad too closely. It aims to look and feel like Cloud's adventure, but it misses the mark and ends up looking much worse while not playing as tightly despite being two years older. Unfortunately, the small team at Craveyard Studios just couldn't give justice to the interesting idea that they had.

As a freshman effort by a small team, there is much to be proud of about Shadow Madness. It has an interesting story, excellent dialogue, and good music. Yet, it shows a lack of competency (and budget) in the craft of its gameplay system and graphics.

In a way, it reminds me of the interesting experiment that was Secret of Evermore on the SNES. Except, given the generational difference, the lack of competency on the SNES didn't lead to the creation of an ugly and unpleasant game like it would have on the PS1.

Unfortunately, the graphical and gameplay shortcomings in Shadow Madness are so severe that they smother any of its better aspects.

A42- Bust A Groove and Bust A Groove 2 (1998-2000):

  • Genre: Rhythm.
  • Publisher: Enix, Sony, 989 Studios; Developer: Metro.

The Bust A Groove games came into the scene after PaRappa the Rappa launched the genre as a legitimate option earlier in the console's life cycle. However, it was a more intense take on the genre, presenting itself as a Rhythm-Fighting game. Except, all the fighting is done through Rhythm actions, so the secondary genre is just an illusion.

Anyways, this is a stylish game with surprisingly good music and solid Rhythm-gameplay (with better controls than PaRappa), and I remember nights watching my uncle play it on harder and harder difficulties, and also remember my utter failure in playing it. Thanks to the limited need for renders given the fixed frame of gameplay, the wacky characters still look decent today.

A41- Broken Sword I & II (1996-1999):

  • Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure.
  • Publisher: Sony, Crave Entertainment, THq; Developer: Revolution Software.

Like the Discworld series I discussed above, the two Broken Sword games are European Point-and-Click games that started on PCs and were ported to the PlayStation. As such, the best place to play the games was, and still is on the PC.

Unlike those games, this series is not based on an established property and is honestly a much better-designed example of the genre. It tells a solid mystery-adventure tale, and the logic threads for advancing the game are more apparent and logical. It still has some cheap timed-death scenarios, but these are overall very good titles.

It helps that they have some excellent character and background art that pops in every scene.

*********************************

This report is a consolidated review of the additional list in my PlayStation 1 REVIEWS blogging series list. It features the reviews I made for the list but also has a brief paragraph about each game on the list that I didn't review. For games without an official review, the opinions I express are purely based on some little playing time and general research about the game and its reception at the time.

Login to vote this up!

LOOK WHO CAME:


Lord Spencer   
sp testure   21
xeronio   1


 
 

  0 COMMENTS

Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.



 Login with Twitter

 Login with Dtoid

Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!

 

About Lord Spencerone of us since 5:57 PM on 01.12.2014

Hello all, I am Lord Spencer, your friendly neighborhood royalty. Yes, the ancient bloodlines are letting absolutely anyone in these days.

Being the lurker that I am, I have been following Destructoid for more than four years. Well, its 3 AM where I live now, and I just plunged in getting HUGE in the way.

Here is hoping for a fun time.

Oh yes, here is a little more info about me that is probably not as interesting as I think it is:

-I owned and played about 1000+ games.
-I owned and read about 2000+ books (I counted comic books I read as a kid so this is not as impressive as it sounds).
-I absolutely love Legos.

Out of all the games I played, I only regret playing a few. I am a big fan of gaming, and thus I really like most of what I play.

Thanks to the excellent work of community member Dango, now I have a cool infographic of my top 20 games. This list is not my final one, but what I thought off at the moment. If you notice, they are presented in chronological order:





Oh, and here is a link to my blogs:
My Blogs