Year in Review -- Part IV
January 03, 2009

Crazy Pig (DS) 7th January:

Although I probably could have fogged this away on someone else, there was no way I was going to give up a game called 'Crazy Pig'. Alas, my dreams of an old-school Contra-style shooter featuring an insane porker were not to be. Crazy Pig is a very limited collection of mini-games and a side-order of dress-the-swine. Not much you can write about with such a game, but I gave it a go!

Everquest II: Rise of Kunark (PC) 12th January

I did not want to do this game. My poor PC can barely run solitaire and my MMO experience goes as far as Dawnspire, but I'd already flooded DoI with work, Martin buggered off to Spain as he does bi-monthly and PAJ (insolently) hates MMO's. So I bit the bullet, and I'm really glad I did.

Decided to wear my ignorance of the genre on my sleeve. I had to do some research and it's probable that I tripped up on some little details, so I'd rather not pretend to know what I'm talking about.

Got an ego boost on this recently when someone I've not spoken to for a while (and this will be forwarded to her, so she better start making more of an effort!) dropped me an AIM to say that she was thinking about picking Everquest up and was perusing some reviews from google. Mine came up as one of the ones she found the most useful, but she didn't know it was mine until she saw my name at the end. Luckily, I'm modest, so this didn't go to my head.

World Snooker Championship: Season 2007-08 (DS) 19th January

I expected this game to be good. I was very disappointed. You'd think that a snooker game on the DS would heavily ply the touch pad and stylus and, in this case, you would be wrong.

The hardest thing about this review was playing the game enough to write about it in the first place. The review does not lie: I literally wrote chunks of this while waiting for the cpu to take his bloody shots.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 (360) 21st January

Figured as the 2005 strain caught me so many hits then it would be good if I covered the second. It didnít do as well hit-wise, but it's a better review than my last attempt and I still managed to mock VM in the process. She hasn't spoken to me since. Next cricket review: Boo-mock heavy.

Ark of Time (PSX) 22nd January

Primarily, this was rewritten from one of the first reviews (I think it might have even been my first ever) because I thought A would be a difficult letter to cover for the Alphabetic Marathon. 'A' now has some four billion games under it.

I stole the opening line from MartinG's sig, and regret nothing!

Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues (PC) 28th January

This was late because Jason forgot to forward me the download info. He claims it was Telltale's fault, but I don't buy it.

Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX) 30th January

A lot of you didn't like this, and more of you still have made some pretty baseless claims about my reasoning to pen this review. I just wanted to talk about a game I'd played and why I thought it wasn't very good.

And FFt, really, is nothing special. I got a lot of hate for saying this when I'm often congratulated when I take the same tone on other games. I wonder why this could be?

It's a little less harsh than it was, mainly thanks to Shotty pointing out a few spots where I had gone overboard (I'm not attacking your favourite games on purpose, man, promise!) I'd planned to use it in the Challange, but then all the judges pulled out and I had to drop and rule over the rest of you.

Rumours that Ruder liked it are currently unfounded. It makes Jason very uncomfortable, though.

Art of Fighting Anthology (PS2) 17th February

January couldn't end soon enough. Bloody busy month pretty much drained me of my usual bubbly and enthusiastic demeanour. As such, I spent the start of the second month fogging off all the games I could on my freelance team while I tried to catch up with screens, news and the like. No one could take AoFA, so I had to do it.

This meant having to play through three games to achieve one review as well as having to strong-arm in other people to effortlessly smash at the vs. mode. It's a hard knock life being a game's reviewer sometimes. They're good games, though, and it was nice to talk about a series' evolution and actually have it be important to the review. Usually, we just babble it out to feel informed and self-important.

Sam & Max 203: Night of the Raving Dead (PC) 19th February

Just when I thought the series would never end... it doesn't. Raving Dead's a really cool chapter, though, and Jurgen, the Euro trash vampire villain, was fantastic to go against. I'm a fan of slaughtering the undead, so finding one as cocky as he made his eventual defeat even sweeter!

Just two more left....

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (Wii) 21st February

I've always liked that this tale bumps off the loud-mouth American first. "You English would be speaking German if not for ...urgh!" Haha, choke on that, Yank!

Liked this one, but some of the stuff is just far too random, as I tried to point out with the batteries in the flour example. The big problem with pre-release games is, of course, the complete lack of FAQ to cheat from then claim you never used, but, this being a PC port, I didn't have that trouble! Otherwise, I would still be stranded at the bottom of those stairs right at the start unable to progress.

I did like that it included optional/dead-end branches to explore, but these got buried in some of the more formulaic nuisances that game coughed up. Wii owners bored of their Wii Sports should track it down.

Fantasy Wars (PC) 27th February

This was all set to go to Martin until I casually mentioned a Rome-inspired civ-clone had turned up, causing him to rebel. He got that game and I, grumpily, got this. Still, it turned out well for me, it's a great game that reminded me in no small way of back when TBSs were in fashion and actually needed strategy (like X-Com, which I like very much).

It's a crazy addictive little game that will see players into it replaying mission a few times to try and do a little better than last. You will lose units in battles, and this will irk you; I remember fighting a stage three times because they kept killing my favourite siege engine and it was UNACCEPTABLE. I enjoyed playing the stage each time.

No More Hereos (WII) 22nd March

Big gap in reviews as I dared go on holiday to Spain, only to come back and find more games had been sent through for review than I can ever previously recall being sent. Sometimes I think this whole reviewing deal exists only to test my sanity.

If you have a Wii, then you should own this game. There's no excuse not to.

Making it a nice game to review; there's tons to write about. It's awesome in a dorky way.

R-Type III (GBA) 24th March

I bought this in a mind to review it after I wrote for the original R-Type back in the day and never got around to it. It came on holiday with me to Spain and got enough game time to remedy this, but I cut down on what I wanted to ultimately say to shoehorn it into a brevity contest. It didnít fit quite as well as I had hoped and I got a mid-table finish. I'm making mid-table my new grounds, it'll mean more then should I ever manage to break into a top three finish again.

I should go back to this one and finish saying what I want to say now I have more words to abuse.

Mass Effect (360) 30th March

This got written in draft on a notebook while lazing around on a beech for a few days. Now and then someone would hurl a beach ball or Frisbee at me and I'd give them a disapproving scowl. "I'm not here to wind down! I've got work to do!" It was written up a while before I subbed it, but Suskie posted his an hour before I was going to put mine up, meaning I then had to wait for his to drop off the front page so as to avoid two Mass Effect screenshots staring back at people. After I'd noted when I was going to post it on the staff board, no less. Just can't get the staff.

The hardest thing about this review was trying to decide where to start, so, frankly, I didn't and just flew around the time-line haphazardly. It makes for a bit of a jarring read thanks to this, hopefully I'll find the time to fix it up someday.

Bomberman Land Touch! 2 (DS) 30th March

One Day. Two reviews. Sign of mad skill and dedication or that I need to get out more -- I'll let you (silently) decide that one.

Fun little collection of mini-games wrapped up in a loose and silly story that's cartoonish enough to keep you ploughing on. My sister has since stolen this game off me and refuses to give it back. I guess what with her being in Australia, she has a good chance of evading my grasp.

Tom Clancy's GRAW (360) 4th April

This had been kicking around as a draft for ages and I finally decided that if I kept fiddling around with it then it would forever stay on my draft page. I posted it just in time: a few days later, Venter would wipe the site's boards and the seven or so drafts that had been quietly bubbling away on my blog's hidden pages lost forever.

Jason has robbed you of these reviews. I had one for Gain Ground, The Third Age and Grandia! Voice your disgust at his theft.

GRAW is cursed reviewing ground for me. Not long ago I beat the second game and set about writing a review up for it. Work went smoothly and I was pleased. Then my PC died and it all vanished into memory meltdown hell. I'm scared to rewrite. Please don't release a third!

Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core (WII) 5th April

I love me my Guilty Gear -- and, if you're not heartless or insane, so do you. Thus it was with slanted eyes of anger that I struggled through this awful port. It doesn't matter how good a game is if it's completely unplayable, and that's what the primary control scheme for Accent Core is. My biggest concern with the Wii was games like this: once with the gimmicky motion shenanigans tacked on for no other reason than "Because we can".

Like the review, though. DE bitches that I didn't mention a different character every week. This week: Faust.

Sam & Max 204: Chariots of the Dogs (PC) 14th April

All these Sam & Max reviews are melding into one huge rabbit-shaped blob in my head!

Bomberman Land Wii (WII) 27th April

This game was a huge chore. Itís a collection of bloody mini-games, so why is there such a focus on an awful plot that the game forces you to read. What would have really, really helped this one gain some points would be the simply ability to skip past the mind numbing cut scenes that no one wants to see.

By the time I actually got to play the sodding game, I was in such a foul mood thanks to waiting some twenty minutes with only rubbishy, clichťd lines for company, all I was thinking about was what I could have been doing with my time. I donít understand why developers refuse to let go of some of these habits -- how many times must they make the same retarded mistake?

Roogoo PREVIEW (PC) 28th April

The preview code I got was buggy as hell. The options and tutorial screen was blank and odd symbol would sometimes scroll across the screenís headers. It was still scary addictive and I hated that I had to offer the full XBLA version to someone else. PAJ did his usual solid job on the full review, but Iím still silently bitter

Utawarerumono (PC) 3rd May

Blame DoI for this one. A fair while back now, heíd bombard me with AIMs about the anime, which I finally caved and watched (he had to wait for me to finish School Rumble 2, which I will rush for no one!) I dutifully downloaded the series and found it to be great. I even started sending Lasty episodes before he vanished and have recently converted DE into watching (and DE is strictly a Sailor Moon kinda guy). I got the game around the same time, but had to struggle through the mountains of text, so gave up only a little way in until a recent translation patch started doing the rounds.

Dear Felix didnít like this one, but I wanted to try and do something new with my writing as I felt like I was recycling some ideas a lot. Maybe it wasnít the epic blockbuster I was hoping for, but Iím glad I wrote it.

The Secret Files: Tunguska (WII) 5th May

WQ specifically left feedback on this one to note that she didnít like it very much. Ouch!

To be fair, itís not the best thing Iíll ever write, but itís hard to write about a game that canít decide what it wants to be. One second, itís all super serious as you explore a genuinely creepy museum where your father vanished under mysterious circumstances, and then itís cracking inane jokes and making cringe-worthy puns. Yes, these elements can be combined, but itís a very fine line, and one Tunguska doesnít manage to walk that well. Fun game, enjoyed my time with it, but Iíve played better and more ambitious adventure games.

Hurry Up Hedgehog (DS) 6th May

I pretty much rang this one in, but there really wasnít much to be said. Itís a very simple game, so thereís not much to be said about it. I think Iíve given this one of the highest scores on the internet, and I put the reason behind this on actually playing the game and not doing what 90% of the other reviewers did; writing it off as not-a-Sonic-game. Because every game with a hedgehog in, apparently, has to be a Sonic game. By law.

Other reviewers are stupid. Thank god for me.

Sam & Max 205: Whatís New, Beelzebub? (PC) 9th May

This was written on the last day before my computer finally gave up on my and crashed. Crashed hard. I blame Max. Heís always had it in for me.

This was a fantastic wrap-up for not only Season 2, but it wraps up a lot of the loose ends from the first chapter. What I really like is how definite the conclusion is: thereís no chance in hell of that particular door being reopened without a drowning dosage of randomness. Great way to cap a series. Awful place to jump right in.

Iím so past burnt out covering these games.

Ys Strategy (DS) 26th May

Man, did I need the break in between this and Beezlebub. It would have been nice if it was a conscious break and not because my computer had melted, but Iíll take anything I can get. I picked Ys off Ebay when I saw it cheap because I figured quirky titles based around a fan-slavered license thatís unobtainable in NA would be a pretty good title to have covered. That, and Iím a fan of strat games anyway. Ys was okay, but it gave me a lot to complain about. So much that it turned into quite the long review.

Dracula: Origin (PC) 10th June

I liked how this one came out. The game itself was a baffler and I spent a lot of my time on Aim talking to Martin who foolishly decided to let slip how much he loved the book. I then bitched, endlessly, about how the game did almost everything differently to the book.

This is good and bad. Itís bad that some of the directions the Ďinspiredí plot goes in flops, but I appreciate not rereading a plot I already know inside out. Itís a fair trade off I suppose. Fans of adventure games or of the setting should certainly check it out.

Revolution X (ARC) 11th June

Dear, sweet Leroux came up with a cool challenge in which he would match every arcade game written on-site with one of his own. Itís one he ultimately failed at, but I tip my hat to him for trying.

This isnít a great review, but I wanted to get something up so he didnít claim Iíd forgotten him. Observe how I hid foggy memory in technical jargon and talk of outdatedness!

Splatterhouse (ARC) 12th June

For ages have I wanted to write a Splatterhouse review. And then I did. You can find it in the link above.

I donít think all the little stories summing up my reviews have to be epic. Sometimes you should just be happy I write these things at all.

Operation Thuinderbolt (ARC) 24th June

It was a rare chance. Spite Leroux; writing this will make him pen a new review under his tourney rules. Spite Boo; he still sobs over the Operation Wolf thing. Thunderbolt is another one of those titles Iíve always meant to cover, so, thanks to Leroux, thatís two reviews I wanted to write written. Hurrah!

Shadowgrounds: Survivor (PC) 7th July

It says a lot when it feels like a huge break from contracted reviews when I take less than a month between them and it feels like a huge break. This was a fun return, though, which has made me want to track down Crusader: No Remorse all over again. Or at least the original Shadowgrounds at a push.

Prism: Light the Way (DS) 20th July

This is one of those impulse review I sometimes kick out. For kicks. I donít really like tackling puzzle games for reviews, which is why I try and do them when I can. Thereís a lot to be said for trying to write for genres youíre not comfortable doing and far too many people shy away from it, as some of the drop-outs from the BWHY tourney showed. Puzzle reviews are never going to be the best material to work off, but I remain pleased with the finished product here.

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vo1. 1: Sarah Bryant (SAT) 20th July


Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA) 22nd August

I made the joke earlier, but I really mean it this time: I have not spoken to VM since I wrote this review. I thought about removing the digs at her from it, but sheís not been around to complain, so theyíre not doing any harm. That aside, I like this review. Itís full of ramblely goodness and takes forever to make poignant points, but it was fun to write and I like to believe it reads well, too. Masters actually read this one, or at least claims to have. Juryís still out.

Quake III: Arena (Dreamcast) 31st August

God bless Quake 3.

This is my favourite review of the year, and itís little more than nostalgic waxing, but I thought it came across really well, so expect me to copy it so heavily that all meaning is eventually lost. Everyone likes Quake 3, after all, and if you donít, youíre no more than a grass-chewing hippy. Boo was going to write a joke review based on this, and even went so far as to register for a Bitterman account where he would write how he was always picked on in an Arena and didnít know why. His plans were foiled mere seconds after the account was made by eagle-eyed WQ spotting the account and telling everyone she could find.

Dream Pinball 3D (DS) 9th September

This is he best DS Pinball review Iíve read in the last twelve minutes. I wrote this the day after my birthday with one hell of a monster hangover.

Eldar Scrolls IV: Oblivion (XBox360) 14th September

This oneís a monster. A lot of it is old blog post strung together to create several pockets of my in-game tales to describe the game as best I could, bugs and all! Thereís a forum out there somewhere thatís declared me some kind of anti-Christ because I have one of the lowest scores for the game on Gamerankings, but I still look at the review as a praise. Oblivionís buggy as hell and to go where the game wants to take you means embracing all itís biggest faults. I still sunk a crazy amount of hours into this one , and probably will again someday.

Lewis reviewed it himself recently, meaning I need to get on Morrowind sometime in the year.

Monster Madness: Grave Danger (PS3) 21st September

I had to borrow a PS3 to review this one. Iíd hoped to sneak in a decent play through of Resistance too, but they wouldnít let me borrow games, just the console. Booo! Some of the wordplay in this is good, and I wish Iíd kept the hardcore gamer joke for a review more of you would probably read. Masters definitely has not read this one.

This game is okay. Moving onÖ

Nightmare Circus (Mega Drive) 26th September

Leroux made a tourney about brawlers and I wrote for this. God help me, I wrote for this.

Believe me when I tell you that Iím not spitting out hyperbole, but Nightmare Circus is the worst game Iíve ever played. donít believe me? Try it! Not a single one of you will be able to finish even a single level -- Iíd bet internal organs on it.

Itís a great looking game, but itís simply seven shades of pointless. I could have written twice as much as I did for this already long-ish review and still not covered every flaw the title has.

It was fun to write a scathing bash that wasnít for a game the majority love and get praise for blistering sarcasm instead of the FFt-like burning crosses on my front lawn. Scored an impressive second place to Booís Final Fight review he had openly decided would score 30ís.

Jewel Quest: Expeditions (DS) 28th September

Short, to-the-point and about as well as I can write puzzle games, Iíve come to accept. I guess I was lucky the game threw in a random, goofy plot to try and keep things going along, or I couldnít be mildly snide about anything. I think if that day ever came, my head would explode.

Mah Jong Quest: Expeditions (DS) 28th September

It was hard enough to write a full review on this subject; thereís no way youíre getting a detailed breakdown of this struggle here.

Wrote it on the same day as Jewel Quest, though. Because Iím awesome.

Iím awesome.

Doom 3 (Xbox) 1st October

Lewis does not like this review. Nor do a lot of people. Iíve had some pretty heinous name-calling aimed at me from outside forums and the odd e-mail, but I care not. Doom 3 is rubbish, and now IĎve told you why.

This could have turned into a full-blown rant without a bit of discipline because -- and maybe this shows -- I really do not like Doom 3. Itís the kind of thing that happens when a developer starts to buy in to their own hype and decide they and they alone have the power to reinvent the genre theyíre credited with championing in the first place. Doom 3 is obviously meant to wow you. Instead, itís so outrageously underwhelming in everything it does that it doesnít so much border on insulting as it does drape it around its malformed shoulders like a cape. But youíre meant to overlook all this because itís a pretty game. And it is a looker -- itís just also complete shit. itís ironic that when Quake 4 hit the shelves based on the Doom engine but made by someone not iD, the game was significantly better.

Kolibri (32X) 11th October

When I first started to drum, I had a lot of trouble with off-beat, Now that I teach a little, I have just as much problems trying to put how awkward it is into words or something that can be physically demonstrated. Itís sad in a way that I nailed this thanks to a review intro.

Kolibri is probably the best shooter youíll never play. Itís drop dead gorgeous, completely unique in how it melds in puzzle elements to an already surreal shooter and itís clearly the step up from Ecco the Dolphin so many people clambered for then ignored once they got it.

Ankh: Curse of the Scarab (DS) 12th October

Talk about ballsing up a good thing. Curse of the Scarab might be one of the worst ports out there. It takes a solid adventure game, squeezes it into a tiny screen, adds dodgy touch dynamics, makes the already lacking voice acting tinny as hell then throws in game-breaking bugs and god awful camera angles for kicks and giggles. Itís a bad port of a good game. Getting that across was achieved with depressingly little effort.

Political Machine 2008 (PC) 13th October

Three days, three reviews. Political Machine was a game I tried to fog off onto anyone whoíd show even the slightest interest, but I found myself with no takers (though, to be fair, Scott did the other political game I had received at the same damn time) so battled on myself to find a surprisingly enjoyable game. The review suggests I battled through with Al Gore as my choice, but I think we all know I crafted a EmP bobblehead and ruled the colonies with that. Under an iron fist. I tried really hard to find a way to nuke Michigan.

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 (Xbox 360) 19th October

Darts! Or, if you remember the initial reviews slew of misspellings, drats!

Drat reviews arenít the easiest to writeÖ..

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 (PSP) 25th October

Öwhich is why it sucked that I had to write about them twice back-to-back. What Iím infinitely smug about is how I managed to do so with two very different reviews that still got across what I liked and disliked about each port and the game as a whole. Given the rather limited amount of subject material, this should be the feat that finally lands me that Pulitzer prize.

Boing! Docomadake (DS) 27th October

This was an odd foundation for a game to be made upon: the mascot of a Japanese telecommunications company. Docomadakes are an odd mushroom race often used to headline ďWelcome to JapanĒ videos for dirty foreigners who dare grow over three feet. Itís a little surprising at first that this game found its way out of the land of the rising sun, but then you play it, and you see why publishers would want to port it across. Itís an addictive and unique platform puzzler with acres of cuteness to spare. Odd little game, but a fun one nonetheless.

Doodle Hex (DS) 1st November

The start of November Hell wherein I probably wrote more reviews in a month that you, ignorant reader, did all year. Assuming said reader is someone like Boo or Genj, anyway.

Doodle Hex was a surprise game I was offered shortly after the PDC reviews by the same PR firm who wanted the game covered even though it had been released some months previous. It might have been the most difficult review to write: the system is overly complex in a simple kind of way, but it oozes charm and houses a very unique graphic style. As soon as I had battled through this review, I had to move on to..

SNK Arcade Classics vol. 1 (PS2) 1st November

Öthis one. SNK had been kind to us throughout 2008, sending games to both the UK and US office and quite often doubling these titles up. Insolent Lewis lacked a PS2, making him the only person in the world without that console, so Scott got about half of these while I tackled the other half. We had a review up for this from Jason on the PS2 while Masters covered the PSP release, leaving me to review the game a third time, and did so with little deviation from that already offered. Compilations are not the easiest games to cover.

1 day. 2 reviews.

Wow 2nd November

Booís a bastard and he knows it. I donít remember how exactly he talked me into covering this, but I do remember we was going to review a different .wad that weíd release on the same day. Obviously, being the incompetent swine he is, he did nothing of the sort and made me suffer through this complete joke of a Ďgameí. I like the idea of covering titles like these, though; I have a thing about getting fan-made titles some coverage because I think they deserve it. Every review site and their grandmas lavish attention on the commercial releases, so striking out to titles oft ignored is something I want to do more of in the future.

Wowís god awful, though.

X-COM: Terror from the Deep (PSX) 4th November

A few years back, Jason asked us if we should employ a system on site that would allow us to stretch reviews over several consoles when covering a multi-platform release and we agreed it would be a good idea considering how, since the 16-bit days, most games are pretty much carbon copies. Then, one day, without telling a soul, he silently nuked this.

My PC TftD review was one of the titles I had put down for multiple console coverage because itís the point blank exact game unless I bothered picking at the control scheme, which I didnít. It was also probably the most visited PSX review I had. And then it was gone leaving, to my mind, a big hole were we once had content. Now thereís something covering the gap once again. Pre-warning would have been much appreciated, though.

This makes the third time Iíve reviewed TftD.

Tom Clanceyís Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) 5th November

The cursed review. This is one that would have been completed month earlier if not for a hard drive crash. After said crash, I gave up on the review for a long while until I found a print-out I must have made underneath the printer, then typed up what I had on Google mail and worked on it slowly as hell at work, typing away a little more when I had time to kill. Eventually, a review was born and I subbed it before anything else could go wrong.

7 Sins (PS2) 6th November

The anecdote I the intro is true! Way back when, Jason sunk some money into a site that held uncountable assets for all things videogame, and we all spent a good month trying to gleam as much as we possibly could before our paid-up trial period was out. Venter tackled the PS2 and fell across 7 Sins early as he took the files on in Alphabetical order. ďthis is exactly the game the site should be covering!Ē, he enthused. I politely nodded and decided to keep an ye out for it. On a whim, Iíd done an eBay search on the title around October and nabbed the game quite cheap.

WQ was scared to read this one, bless her innocent little heart, as it may have contained mature themes. It does, I guess, but itís a game less arousing then grocery shopping.

Alisia Dragoon (Mega Drive) 12th November

This got me a joint third place in this yearís AlphaOlympics, which Iím obviously quite happy about, though losing to OD is still bitter-sweet. Alisia is a game Iíve wanted to review since 2005 when the team of Ruder-EmP-Vorty deicedd to do an all-dragoon final and I wrote for Legend of Dragoon. Ruder wrote for Drakengard (JP name: Drag-on Dragoon) which Iíve since covered and Vorty originally wrote for Alisia before switching later on. So now I have them all!

WQ hates this review too. She once told me that all my reviews post 2006 are awful.

Ninjatown (DS) 17th November

Ninjatown is a tower defence game that swims in dorky internet meme and cuteness overkill, and itís all the better for it. I was forced to take a week off work around this time as Iíd actually not taken any holiday and the annual leave was about to run out, so I went up to stop at a friendís house near London and bummed out, playing through a load of the DS games I had to review for. I soaked a lot of time into this one, so it was the first review I spat out.

Last King of Africa (DS) 22nd November

Last King is a pretty cool game made from the corpse of an PC adventure game that openly wished it was an action one. Realising the error in this, the port dropped all the clumsy action stuff and instead highlighted the titleís cooler puzzles and plot. For a DS game, this has some impressive as hell graphics and even the voice acting doesnít sound overly tinny like the DS seem to spit out. One for the fans.

Disgaea DS26th November

This one took some reviewing. Fro years now Iíve had to listen to everyone rave about how awesome Disgaea is while living in a region where it only saw a very limited release. Jason was good enough to send me over this game from the Ďstates (which reminds me that I still owe him something for that -- Iíll nudge you next time youíre on AIM) and it took over my life for a fair while. The gameís infinite, though, which makes it a hard game to judge just when youíve played enough to have a good enough grasp on what to review. Great game, average port.

I actually took this one down to a pub with me one night and spent the entire evening ignoring everyone around me while I slaughtered henchmen by the boatload. I did take occasional breaks to continue drinking though. I didnít want to be rude.

This marked the end of November Hell. I think I spent the entire month doing nothing but review.

Pony Luv (DS) 1st December

They asked me if I wanted to cover this game. They asked me, and I said yes. What the hell was I thinking?

I still see neon pink loading screens when I close my eyes. The horror. The horror.

Big Bang Mini PREVIEW (DS) 15th December

The original intro I wrote for this game was promptly frozen and stored for the eventual full review I need to write when the game is release early 2009. Instead, I wrote another from scratch then decided I preferred the one I used in this preview that no one will ever read, anyway. We really need to do something about the exposure previews get -- I bet half of you donít even know we have any at all.

Football Director DS (DS) 15th December

The game is a lie! This isnít about being a Director at all -- itís a management game! Grrrr!

Itís only an okay one, too. Itís missing out on some tweaks and touches that would make it good and things are frustrating or impossible to navigate. It did give me a chance to showcase my nerdy football knowledge and educate the world on my local(ish) football team, Aldershot.

FarhInigo Prophecy 23rd December

When I wrote this all one scraps of paper while stuck inside a security cage handing out Dell Laptops for several days with Janusí Ďfavourite genreí tourney in mind after I dropped the idea of a jokey horse-sim follow up review. Most of it was written on yellow stickers used to route label big cages of freight, meaning that inky didnít dry on the right and I had to copy down several pages of blurred and smudged notes. It did net me a solid second place finish just behind a tardy Zig -- who should be disqualified for lateness! -- but marginally above OD and Lewis. Who, had they beat me, probably would never let me live it down. Luckily, I also stomped Boo who pulled in another career best of 0.


I'll have you know that the C64 version of Zoom! was the baby Jesus' favourite game. When the game shouts "C'MON BOY!", who do you think he's shouting encouragement to?

It's the boy in the manger. With this in mind, when else should I post such a holy review?

Rumours that I wrote this just to fill in the last letter for the AlphaMarathin win are unfounded and hurtful.

Yearís Stats:


January - 7
February - 4
March - 4
April - 5
May - 5
June - 4
July - 3
August - 2
September - 6
October - 7
November - 10
December - 5


DS - 18
PC - 12
360 - 7
WII - 5
PS2 - 4
PSX - 3
M/D - 3
ARC - 3
SAT -1
D/C - 1
PS3 - 1
XBX - 1
32X - 1
PSP - 1


Adventure - 11
Strategy - 10
Sport - 6
Puzzle - 6
Casual - 4
Brawler - 4
Shooter - 3
FPS - 3
TPS - 2
RPG - 2
Light gun - 2
Action - 2
MMO - 1
Gallery - 1
Compilation - 1
Adult - 1

Phew! Iím out.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

bluberry bluberry - January 03, 2009 (04:55 PM)
If you have a Wii, then you should own this game. There's no excuse not to.

if you have a Wii, then you should FINISH this game. there's no excuse not to.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - January 03, 2009 (05:40 PM)
Haha. I like how you just ruined Boo's Quake thing for everyone by claiming I told everyone. You know you and Boo are the only people I told about that because you two are the only ones that would do something like that. Oh, well - too late now, though.

And were you drunk / high when you typed this up? I loved your ALisia Dragoon. That comment belongs under Pony Luv, not that one. Haha.

Good grief, though. I think you wrote AT LEAST twice as many reviews as me... That's insane.
Halon Halon - January 03, 2009 (11:26 PM)
you busy beaver.

My goal is to tie what I did this year, which is something like 3 reviews or so.
EmP EmP - January 06, 2009 (04:42 AM)
Perhaps the Alisia remark was put in there to see if you were paying attention!
Lewis Lewis - January 06, 2009 (01:09 PM)
I still really like your Mass Effect review.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - January 07, 2009 (10:29 AM)
Yeah, sure, EmP - that's what they all say. =P

Quake is still my favorite from you last year.

I actually like (or love) most of your reviews. Just some more than others. There reallly aren't that many that I just simply don't like.

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