Invalid characterset or character set not supported Year in Review: Part V

Year in Review: Part V
January 07, 2010

2009 was a wholly less productive than the year before with significantly less reviews thrown out, but it still only took two extra days to finish the Alpha-marathon challenge. Though Iíll most probably run it as long as Iím associated with the site, Iím not as confident of finishing as I have been in previous years. For several reasons, 2010 is probably going to be a year where writing, here and elsewhere, has to take a backseat to more pressing concerns.

That said, I went and made this huge time-consuming habit of writing up a summary of what Iíd written in the year, so I suppose I should make an effort to carry that on. All five of you whoíll read have my condolences.

King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga (PS2) January 4th [Hits: 591]

The first review of the year was, as always, courtesy of a game that I couldnít fog off onto the freelance crew who, by this point, were getting a little wary of the constant flood of SNK collections that the time of year had bought. Though it could have been worse: I did manage to sidestep the worse offenders late 2007.

The biggest problem here (aside from the usual grumble about playing multiple games to squeeze into one review) was that the title already had a US release and that Jason had already covered it with a decent review that more or less mirrored my views exactly. Desperate not to pen a duplicate piece, I used it as an excuse to ignore many of the things that make KoF an actual game, and talked more about the interlinking narrative. As such, as a stand-alone review, itís not much use unless youíre looking for a completely different perspective then most sane people would for their purchase.

I liked the review, despite this. I enjoyed having a legitimate excuse to write somewhat outside the box for a chance rather than doing so because Iím a pretentious hack.

Perfect Dark Zero (360) January 4th {Hits: 905]

When I let on to Boo that I kind of enjoyed my belated time with PDZ (a game I owned since I had the 360, but did not play until much, much later) I endured the usual belittling. I say usual because, while Boo is crude, heís not very imaginative and, thus, any belittling is the same old rant dressed up in various shades of blue.

I might have agreed more with him had I stopped playing after running through the solo game, but I instead slipped it into our multiplayer play list, and it was a surprise hit. Iím a big fan of the death match games that allow you the option of dropping Ďbots into the mix; it infinitely adds to the lifespan (and explains why our death match multiplayer game of choice remains 007: Nightfire on the old XBOX while Modern Warfare 2 gets sporadic use) But the real bonus was the near broken co-op which is sadistically violent and near-on impossible at even the standard levels of difficulty. A turn off in most games, but one that makes a lot of dual assaults on the game bloody-minded brilliance.

Janus is still a turnip for nuking his superior review of this game.

Trackmania DS (DS) January 5th [Hits: 1038]

For my last review of this year, Jason quite rightly pointed out that I lean on my reputation of being a miserable bastard when I stumble for more imaginative ways to open my reviews, especially when it comes to the DS titles Iíve been buried in. This may have been the first time I used the gimmick. Back when it was probably fresh and inventive. Aside from that, I donít recall much about writing this review. It was a publisher sent one that needed doing, and I did it. I do remember getting a lecture from WQ about the talk about whisky because, in her pink and fluffy world of talking ponies and never-ending end-of-term grades of A despite whining about how sheís no doubt got Fs, alcohol is bad.

Considering this, after rereading the review, I think it turned out very well. Sometimes, something like this happens and Iím able to convince myself, or just a little while, that I am actually as good as I keep telling everyone I am.

Big Bang Mini (DS) January 13th [Hits: 905]

Big Bang Mini is a game I once took to a football match I didnít intend to play in. I was recovering from a broken ankle, but the team was short on subs, so I expected to sit on the subís bench, belittle the efforts of my friends and play enough of the game to get a review from. It didnít quite work out that way. The stand-in keeper got kicked in the head, I had to play the second half on a recklessly high injection of painkillers while one of the playerís girlfriends Ďlooked afterí my DS and review game by playing it non stop for the next two days before I got the chance to steal it back. It was never going to be returned freely.

Itís reflective in just how good a game Big Bang Mini is. Though youíve probably not heard of it outside my words, itís something you should try out, if only to finally discover a competent game built around the touch screen for a change.

The review was entered in Challenge IV (Which Iíd not forgotten to do; it used to be a Xmas one, but was bumped of the last two years by a tardy Alphas. Iíll get to v5 shortly) and did OK. Complaints were centred around overbusy sentences which I agreed with and have since fixed and Masterís usual complaint that it wasnít Halo 3. You kooky Canadian!

These look-back topic always lead me into updating the incorrect game info tabs when I check back on the reviews in question. Bah.

EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey (PC) January 14th [Hits: 935]

2008 gave me one Everquest update disk that wasnít that hard to review, what with being my first venture into Everquest. Thus, I could just treat is as an Everquest review, and it was one I felt I wrote well for. This one was a pain in the arse from the offset: my PC blew up and demoted me to a laptop that didnít have half the power needed to run it and, at the time, my freelance guys were either console only or MIA. The publisher was also immediately on my case about where the review was, so this was rushed. Not just to appease the publishers but to get the bloody thing out of the way. As such, the review is nothing more than okay, and Iíve nothing more of interest to say about it.

Crazy Mini Golf (Wii) January 18th [Hits: 813]

This review is mean! That might sound odd coming from me but, after the reread, some of the things I say here are, well, mean. I say this approvingly, of course -- some games simply deserve ire. They actually made a sequel to this game, so if Iím in need of a C next year to hit my alpahmarathon target, I now a good place to vent some fury.

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (360) January 21st [Hits: 727]

At some point, a conversation much like this occurred:

DE: Watch Naruto. I do, and I want to be able to discuss it with someone.
Me: Never! I only watch obscure dubbed anime, because Iím elitist and edgy.
DE: You watch One Piece
Me: Somehow this has won you this argument. I am unsure how.

So I watched some Naruto and found it a slightly more interesting way to pass time then actually talking to DE. Then, when the game came up for insultingly cheap (about £1, if I recall correctly) I figured I had nothing to lose. I expected the usual 1-on-1 fare that the Naruto license are so fond of spitting out but I avoided stepping on Woodhouseís toes when it turned out to be a weird adventure/RPG/fighter instead. One that looked almost perfect but ran out of idea on what you should actually do before it finished so just slapped on a thin coat of paint over new ideas and hoped no one noticed.

I should really see about picking up the second in the series and see if thatís any better. To EBay!

Sam & Max: Season One (Wii) January 28th [Hits: 486]

Know what I could have done without for a while? More bloody Sam & Max reviews. I made my way through two seasons of the actual game and a few wrap-ups already; I thought it about time I was able to call in a break. Turns out, no. The review was just a rehashing of things Iíd said before; it was all I had left in my tank to wrap it up in different paper and present it as a new gift. The games are great, but itís been nice not having to review another one since.

Yes, I know what Iíve set in motion now Iíve said that.

Assassin's Creed (PS3) February 4th [Hits: 2844]

I think it was DoI who once said that I was destined to write a review that really winds people up at least once a year, be it attacks on Doom 3 or the belittling of FFt and, if that is the case, Creed was perhaps the closest I got in 2009. Iíd played the game a long time before I wrote the review, but on the 360. I only decided to pen the review after I was dragged in to help someone beat it on her PS3 as, for some reason, she found the game quite hard. Turned out she had troubles because she tried to play it like a silent assassin and not a bloody-crazed loon. She also ran in public a lot -- the twit.

I get that people liked the game, but itís tailor made for a good roasting, as Cairo proved long before I stepped up. A lot of my annoyance probably came from the fact that Iím a history nerd and Creed likes to punish you for being knowledgeable about the era itís set in by displaying the plot much in the same was a pre-teen fanficer would go about penning a lemon about Cloud and Squall. This could be overlooked if the game was more than the first five minutes repeated in ever-so-slightly different locations over and over again.

I hear the second game is a lot better and I was surprised by the evolution of Fable2, so maybe Iíll give it a go at some point.

Blacksite: Area 51 (PS3) February 14th [Hits: 481]

Blacksite was a game that caught my eye a long time before it was released. I saw it in a magazine I had bought to read over a train journey. I remember going away with the impression of a somewhat sandbox-y FPS where tower-tall alien monsters could be seen from far off to be avoided or taken on as you pleased while a group of ally troops with KotOR-like intelligence and customisation flocked around you. Itís not. Itís not even close; itís about as linear as youíd expect from an FPS (not a bad thing in and of itself) with allies who do nothing more than kick open the odd door for you and make faux-badarse comments while you shoot everything. (It wasnít until the recent release of Boarderlands did an actual game somewhat meet the mental expectations Iíd dreamt up for Blacksite)

The game was heartbreakingly normal, but my own unrealised hope kept me slogging through until endgame, racking up the kills and waiting for the game to become brilliant. It never really did. Iíve played worse games, sure, but when this is the best thing you can say about a game, then thereís problems to be had.

XCOM (PC) February 19th [Hits:1046]

If any of you care about me at all, if I ever say ďHey, I think Iíll write my SEVENTH Xcom review!Ē, shoot me right in the bloody head.

The story behind redoing the last few XCOMs was because we used to have a feature here that if you reviewed a multi-platform game that was the same on all platforms, you could Ďstretchí so that we showed a review of it on all the platforms. When I penned Enemy Unknown and Terror from the Deep, this function was there and the site benefited from the PC linked one much more, but still got significant traffic for the PSX strains. Then, one day, the feature was pulled and I felt I should replace them at some point. It wasnít hard; I could probably talk about XCOM for months on end and still barely scratch the surface.

Now, though, unless I use the back-up account or start playing the Amiga versions, Iíve finally run out of excuses to keep harping on about the games. Unless I put more hours into the games post-TftD, and I donít wanna!

Gears of War 2 (360) March 15th [Hits: 391]

Jason: Youíve not reviewed anything in a while
Me: Leave me alone! Iím burnt out!
Jason: Remember how you reviewed the last GoW and we threw you a little party?
Me: FINE! Iíll review GoW2!
Jason: Oh, never mind, Suskieís just done it. Now yours is pointless and obsolete!
Me: Then Iíll just make it overly personal and talk about the things that only matter to me!
Jason: Ha! I bet it wonít even collect 400 hits by the end of the year.
Me: Iíll show you!


Me: Crap.

Still, that B button thing was awesome.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (M/D) March 20th [Hits: 722]

True had this cool and oddball tourney where you randomly picked a colour and then you got a goofy subject matter to go alongside it. I pulled a little covered genre, when for education, and savaged a Carmen Sandeigo game because of my repressed hatred for all thing geographical!

It was all a bit last minute. Iíd had another game in mind, a date simulation one, but I lost interest trying to download it in the end, so went for something more obtainable the day before the deadline. I played around with a few freeware puzzle titles and simplistic dating ones before wondering if I could get more than 1kbís worth of words out of the Whereís Wally/Waldo Megadrive game. Then I remembered this, downloaded it shortly after and played the hell out of it for three hours straight. I donít kid about my hatred for Geography -- the subject has long been my Achilles heel. The problem I was left with was how to make a game thatís a slightly disguised learning tool read interestingly.

I played it up for laughs and replayed the first mission, writing it up as it happened and scoring cheap hits every half chance I got. I even threw in huge screen shots and set myself up as the punch line. Despite the mixed reactions of the judge panel (True:100/100. Janus: 55/100) and the light admonishing from Jason in the feedback topic, I really enjoyed writing this one which helped because it was around this tie of the year that writing so much was starting to catch up with me. Hitting something up that I not only enjoyed penning but still liked the outcome helped me drag myself on for a few more months.

Pass Your Driving Theory Test (DS) March 27th [Hits: 387]

Ö.so it probably didnít that next on the cards was another educational game, one I was doing for the publisher so couldnít really rip into and one very tightly focused on a very small nicheÖ.

SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 (PSP) March 27th [Hits: 324]

Ö.and the one right after that was another compilation title I had to play a dozen games for in order to churn out one review. To be fair to both, PYDTT was pretty straight forward to write and I didnít mind that so much, but SNK was a game Iíd been sent without asking for it, and had already been reviewed by Masters for the PSP, tasking me with duplicating an already existing review, and myself some months earlier for the PS2. The collectionís pretty solid, but I had to really drag myself through this one.

Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (Wii) April 5th [Hits: 517]

The reviewís a little clumsy and unfocused but, for a game I had no interest in, but I can still find myself able to read it without groaning tom loudly. And thatís about the only thing of interest I have to say. Aside from the fact I just noticed that Iíve not reviewed a single Wii game Iíve not been contracted to do so. What a crappy system!

Challenge Me: Maths Workout (DS) April 11th [Hits: 640]

Thereís probably a reason you shouldnít corner me into reviewing educational games in the first place, but when Iím forced into a really bad one, then I, seemingly, spew bile. Labelled by someone as a joke review (in a comment I never appreciated nor agreed with) it was just something I wanted to get out of the way but still had to be written. I wrote it in a sitting after playing as much of the Ďgameí as I could stomach then forgot it existed.

Samurai Shodown Anthology (PSP) April 11th [Hits:1041]

More SNK compilation games, but with a seriously good series to write about. I remember I played a lot of this game on the way to watch a England game at Wembley, planning to play it while travelling, but, instead, getting stuck into Ys: Ark and its endless loading screen instead. When I did finally start, we were all but there so I reserved my focus for booing Frank Lampard instead. I was behind the goal when he toe-poked on in, and I booed over all the cheers. He heard me. He looked. I hope I broke his clumsy, talentless heart.

Playing the games was a pleasant surprise. Iíd spent time previously with the first few entries and had played up until around the time the series started to spiral. Thus, when the newest Shodown in the collection turned out to actually be very good indeed (when I expected a lame effort like the two previous) I played for hours with a loony grin on my face caused either by said shock or insanity over the dragging load times.

Pass your Driving Theory Test again! (DS) April 19th
[Hits: 333]

WQ: Lewis has this tourney were we have to write a review that aims at a deeper meaning. I decided to write an essay about why some ROMs actually benefit the developers who financially lose out from by a practise that deem immoral. I picked this becauseÖ
Me: Ö

*Hours pass*

WQ: And thatís why I feel the world is basically duck shaped. What are you going to do for the tourney?
Me: I think Iíll take another stab at kicking Nintendo in the balls. That should show them IĎm still pissy about not porting FF games pre-VII..

The review did okay in the tourney (despite the big deal I made over Nintendoís Wii being great selling hardware, I made a comment about how the software sales were shit that seems to be invisible if you preside on a judging panel so the biggest and most common complaint levelled was to argue against a point I hadnít even made) and it was fun to be allowed to tangent rant for a change, even if the argument did jump all over the place. Good tangents do -- they should be spontaneous, not planned!

This review single handily resurrected the sale of original Gameboys with camera & printer accessories.

Resident Evil 5 (360) April 19th [Hits: 470]

Resident Evil 5 was a game bought more out of loyalty than desire. I, like many people, expected it to be pretty rubbish and was therefore surprised when I sunk a lot of hours in the game and genuinely enjoyed the co-op function which I assumed would be the titleís real anchor around the neck. I canít remember if mine was the last of the current batch of 5 staff reviews to be published, but it was certainly one of the last. It was only quite recently we stopped play Res 5 as our main co-op title to make room for Boarderlands, but as I have some achievements left to unlock, itíll be a safe bet Iíll return to it someday.

Blue Dragon Plus April 26th [Hits: 383]

The biggest downside to doing these recaps (aside from the huge amount of time you need to plough into them) is that sometimes you come up to a review you really have nothing to say about. This is one of them. It was sent by a publisher despite the fact that Suskie had already reviewed the game stateside, and I had nothing different to really say than he did. So I wrote, and I got in some digs I though were clever and I then I moved on.

But, hey, look! The ďWhile youíre looking!Ē window links to Ys Strategy. That was a killer review that no one else on this site will ever play or review ever-- go read that one instead.

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vol. 2: Jacky Bryant (SAT) May 3rd [Hits: 363]

It was maybe three years ago that Felix unwittingly released the VF CGI series upon HG when he asked me to add all eleven titles to the database. I agreed to do so, but only on the condition that he review all eleven. Sometime later, about half the titles have been covered by various writers. This is my second.

Itís cute that the idea kind of caught on with a few other people and itís a worthwhile boast to say that HG has the deepest coverage of this titles ON ALL OF THE INTERNET. The question is, will another wave come again this year?

Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge (PC) June 1st [Hits: 605]

Hired Guns was the first game in an age I was really stoked for. If things would have been a little different, then this would be Jagged Alliance 3, a series that took the XCOM route for strategy and does almost as good a job of pulling it off. Sadly, it becomes clear quite quickly off the bat why the developers dropped GFIís effort and allowed the original developers the chance to continue their series instead: nothing in the game works to the scale it was obviously aimed for. Itís an odd happenstance; the game feels like it could benefit from more time (right down to the babblefish translation) and could afford to do so once there was no pressure to get Jagged Alliance 3 by X time. Hired guns could have been a real slap in the face to those that tried to shelve it. Instead, its evidence that itís dismissal from its original role was appropriate.

PDC World Championship Darts 2009 (Wii) June 6th [hits: 337]

Urgh, more darts.

I kind of enjoyed writing about darts games to begin with. I liked that I was writing about something I would probably never do by choice, and I was pleased with how I could get around the seemingly boring subject matter and still manage a review I was happy with. Then I reviewed another one. And another one. And then, this one. Thereís only so many things you can say about darts! As such, the review was mostly old ground covered with new words with some lines hurled in that I quite like. Iím still a big fan if the ending line for reasons Iím still unable to explain.

Osomatsu-kun: Hachamecha Gekijou (M/D) June 13th [Hits: 343]

As is the case with all the cool tourneys we throw around on HG, I dreamt up the Month of the Obscure one in which you could received bonus points for the obscurity of your game or lose points for it popularity. Osomatsu was my cunning pick, and it came second in the individual rankings. Of course, WQ was my partner in this and was the anchor around my neck. In summery of the actual review, weird game was weird, and I got so carried around revelling in its oddness, that itís more or less all I talked about.

Mystery Stories (DS) June 20th [Hits: 651]

The gameís silly, but itís the casual fare that the DS seems hellbent towards steamrolling head first into, and itís certainly not the worst game on the system Iíve ever played. What it really boils down to is a screen full of junk that you have to find specific junk from in a set amount of time, with a thin paint of plot hurled on top. Itís not a bad title, but itís not something Iím likely to ever look at again now the review is complete.

Junior Classic Games (DS) June 20th [Hits: 1149]

I still donít know why this review has managed to pick up as much interest as it has. The hits arenít bad, and the developers even dropped in to the feedback topic with some very kind words and a deserved telling off for including a bloody sliding puzzle. I could have torn into the game because I was outside the target audience, but it was competent and, unlike the majority of brain trainers out there, actually cares about being fun. Iím going to praise it for that -- so there!

Crazy Machines 2: Complete (DS) July 1st [Hits:410]

Lewis got the last version of this game to review and didnít like it, so I wasnít expecting much for this on. That I enjoyed it despite some rather glaring flaws was a pleasant surprise, the kind of which Iím not accustomed to. Itís niche, perhaps, but I fall within that niche, so had a blast with this.

FIFA '09 (360) July 6th [Hits: 365]

Since 2008, FIFAís dominated my multiplying life whereas it used to just be an element of it. Iíll tell you how bad itís got; me and my friend keep a running tally of wins throughout the year and the loser then has to buy the winner a trophy with FIFA ::Year Here:: Champion on it. So far, I own all these trophies and Iím already so far ahead in 10ís game that only a miracle will let my friend catch up.

The review seemed to go over well, which surprised me as, though Iíd hoped it would be a good way to review the game, I didnít expect many people not into football to like it. Itís an experiment that Iím pleased went off well and one I plan to shortly revisit with FIFA Ď10. If the guy Iím currently beating into the ground doesnít murder me with a shovel to the face in the meanwhile.

Cocoto: Platform Jumper (Wii) July 13th [Hits: 255]

I really limped through this one, no thanks to the freelance guys who all, to a man, vanished around this time of year out of what I assume was spite. It was rushed as it was late; I had to jury rig my Wii online and found a library of issues with this that going into will re-invite insanity I liked the game, itís true, and maybe had fate and time been kinder to me I could have done a better review for it. By this point of the year, I was writing on reflex, not enjoying writing for the games I had something to say and enduring the ones I had to go through.

Metal Slug 7 (DS) July 15th [Hits:296]

It was TT time and long-standing judge, Jerec, and his long standing hatred of Metal Slug meant that when the yearly match pitting EmP vs. Boo came up, we had to do something about it. We always come up with some sadistic idea when we go head to head but only pull it off 50% of the time. However, despite the fact that neither of us wanted to write, we were fuelled by spite and each penned Metal Slug reviews. We got the response we were fishing for and were smug for days. Sorry, Jerec -- though you earnt a multitude of kudos points for taking it so well afterwards and even doing the BWHY pick!

Both reviews were last minute things, and, as such, came out pretty well. I got the nod ahead of Booís, which heís secretly quite bitter about, and it would prove to be the only new thing I wrote for the entire TT.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (360) September 7th [Hits: 1288]

Iíll blow off fake modesty for a second to confide to the handful of people who have read this far that I love this review. I get the feeling many people donít even know this review exists, but it was one I spent a lot of time in writing and one that I thought came out exactly as I wanted it to. IL-2 is a hell of a game that can be customised to suit anyoneís tastes and is so lovingly crafted itís very hard not to appreciate.

I needed it to be something I was happy with as this point as anything I wrote -- here or elsewhere -- was always out of necessity rather than desire. I worked on the notion that IL-2 would be rubbish and the freelance guys would scoff at it, so just bit the bullet and played it myself. The game rocks and I would recommend it to anyone, and I rode my surprise to a quickly drafted review that, after a lot had been filed down, Iíd probably count as the best thing I wrote all of 2009.

Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes (XBX) September 26th [Hits: 322]

For reasons I forget, I found myself playing a lot of Heroes despite the fact it had sat unused for years on the shelf (I think I won it in an eBay auction along with another two games, only one of which I wanted but it was somehow cheaper to buy the package. KotOR2 and Quantum Redshift, I think). I found a willing partner to co-op through the game on and we say it off in a few long sittings, secretly annoyed that we were unable to slay each time we were left to battle a screen of foes while the other stole all the piles of treasure.

Yet another game were the US boxart is pure arse compared to the PAL one!

Risen (360) October 6th [Hits: 1522]

Iím a big fan of this review. Eventually. It underwent three big rewrites, numerous power edits and constant tinkering until I got it to where I wanted it to be. After IL-2, this is probably the review Iím most proud of for the last year.

It wasnít an easy ask; the game is huge and though I got the review copy before the market release, it still meant playing it every available second I had. I didnít mind so much after Iíd gotten into the swing of things and am now well into my second play through. What helps the game so much is that, while the now obligatory moral system is in there, thereís no clear good or bad factions or ways. Thereís just people; some of whom are good and some of whom are jerks. Nothing is clear cut, and choices you make thinking your are doing the right thing, often turn out to be incorrect and you have to suffer the consequences. It makes the little island feel more realistic and alive then a lot of the other WRPGs strive for.

Raven Squad (360) October 19th [Hits: 255]

This was a bad game. Everyone seems to agree on this, but the idea behind it was actually rather good. I wrote for this review twice; I could probably pull off a third because thereís just so much wrong with the game, itís easy to pick apart. Still, it was a blessing in disguise: the review was easy to write, came out in a way I was happy with and the game could then be forgotten about, relegated to the dusty shelf.

Zeno Clash (PC) October 20th [Hits: 266]

Thereís two games Lewis got me really interested in. One was The Path (something I hope to play now my shiny new PC is up and running) and the other was Zeno Clash. This isnít a fair trade; all I got him interested in playing was Fahrenheit. Thatíll teach him.

Zeno Clash is an interesting game that ran off kook, but probably started to believe in its own hype a tad too much come the last third and instead ran off fumes. The first-person based brawling system can under real strain when you had more than one person to fight and endgame disappointed. Still, I think itíll do well when Atlus finally get the XBLA up, and Iím open to re-reviewing it come that time to give it a little bit of an extra push.

Adam's Venture (PC) October 24th [Hits: 291]

Adamís Venture: Do you believe in the one true God?
Me: Does that matter to a two hour long video game?
ME: This game will fare poorly in my newly-found sense of zero tolerance. You get a 2/10. One for each hour I suffered.
Adamís Venture: Just you wait until the rapture!

CustomPlay Golf 2010 (PC) October 30th [Hits: 148]

I barely remember even writing this one! Check out those hits -- that was well worth whatever time I invested in it. I do remember that the developer promised me a lode of games to review, sent me this one then vanished.

Broken Sword DS (DS) August 30th [Hits: 287]

I love me my Revolutions games. I remember a few years back I had a mini falling out with Gamespot regular and sadly infrequent HG poster m0zart when I sincerely said I would buy my forth version of Broken Sword should it ever hit the DS and he yelled at me for being sarcastic. I still have no idea why he thought I would lower myself to base sarcasm. Anyway, the game did indeed release for its forth version, and I did indeed buy it. It was disappointing in many ways and simply failed to stack up to the advantages many of the other platforms are able to offer. The big trump card, the extra plotline and corresponding chapters added in, was exhausted early on and never revisted

7 Wonders II (DS) November 14th [Hits: 272]

The game was put into Gold status months and months before the release, which was always a bit odd. Iíd get an e-mail every month or so telling me Iíd not been forgotten and the game would be with me when it was finally released. By the time it arrived, Iíd half forgotten about it. It was a quick review to write, and an easy puzzle game to write for.

Underwater Attack (DS) November 20th [Hits: 205]

My interest in Underwater Attack came years previous when it was known as Ocean Commander. I had been receiving press releases for the game over the DS and the Wii, and it looked pretty interesting. It festered in the back of my mind until I spotted it with a different name in a bargain bin with the exact same artwork. It was cheap, I picked it up, and was almost instantly disappointed. I can only assume that it was developed at a time when everyone making games for the DS was under the impression that the touch screen HAD TO HAVE a large function in whatever type of game they made. The foundation for a good scroller are present, but the implication of the touch screen kills it dead.

QuickSpot (DS) November 24th [Hits: 297]

Everything reported in the review is 100% true!

No, Marc, I wasnít overly drunk when I wrote this.

Lunar: Genesis (DS) December 27th [Hits: 199]

So, DoI and I had this little back and forth going for a year or so now where weíd make outlandish bets weíd never see through because the winner would have to purchase and review the DS Lunar. It was probably something weíd never see through but after seeing the game going for crazy cheap on Ebay, I figured it couldnít be that bad and Iíd do it for kicks and giggles. I got the game the early end of 2009 and only had the strength to finish the review off right at the end of the year. If I can finish this game off, DoI, you can finally do bloody Quake!

The game is, frankly, awful. It fumbles any new idea it has and mutates genre staples into unapologetic uselessness. The opening third or so of the review had been written for most of the year (the original plan was for it to be a TT entry) and the rest supplied after a few hours had been ploughed into the title coming to the end of the year after I wanted to start 2010 off with as few half-penned reviews on the hard driver as I could. Plus, I needed an L to finish off the alpahmarathon.

Yamaha Supercross (DS) December 27th [Hits: 173]

...and I needed a Y to finish the year off. I picked Yamaha Supercross up around the same time I named Underwater Attack for the same suitably low price and had started reviewing it there and then. I came back to finish the review, found I didnít like it at all, and redrafted the hell out of it. itís still nothing special, but itís a review I donít think a single other review site has and itís this yearís Y. That made all 27 letters and my second straight win. Yay!
Now, for some stat tables!


January -- 7
February -- 3
March -- 4
April -- 6
May -- 1
June -- 5
July -- 2
September -- 2
October -- 5
August -- 1
November -- 3
December -- 2


DS -- 15
360 -- 8
PC -- 7
Wii -- 5
PSP -- 2
M/D -- 2
PS2 - 1
XBX - 1
SAT - 1


Sports -- 6
Action -- 5
Strategy -- 4
Puzzle -- 4
Adventure -- 4
Educational -- 4
Fighter -- 3
Shooter -- 3
Platform -- 2
FPS -- 2
RPG -- 2
TPS -- 1
MMO - 1
Flight Sim -- 1
Gallery -- 1

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

aschultz aschultz - January 07, 2010 (12:51 PM)
On the bright side, if you'd written more reviews, this post would've been even more TLDR.

I hope you still find the time to write what you want. And that the pressing concerns are worthwhile. And that you write reviews because they'r efun and not out of a sense of guessing you better. I've been there.
honestgamer honestgamer - January 07, 2010 (05:34 PM)
I read through your list and found it generally interesting, so that's two people. Just imagine how many others must be reading it but never saying anything! If this were a book, surely it would be a bestseller!
aschultz aschultz - January 08, 2010 (08:57 AM)
It's already part of a sweeping, epic series, if the topic title is to be believed. Who knows, it may inspire me to copycat.
zippdementia zippdementia - January 08, 2010 (09:41 AM)
I read a bit of it. Mostly I'm in awe of the fact that you have time to do this.
zigfried zigfried - January 09, 2010 (12:40 PM)
I think it's awesome how every one of your "stat tables" adds up to a different total amount, and none of them are actually right.

EmP EmP - January 09, 2010 (02:53 PM)
I'd say I'd go back and fix that, but I'd be lying to you, and I can't risk the deep trust we place in each other over something so trivial.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - January 11, 2010 (11:19 AM)
I like how he has August coming after October like he forgot the order of the months.

Anyway, since I'm predisposed to talking too much, as you hilariously pointed out in one of your review comments, I'm going to point out just a few things.

1) Alcohol is only bad if you drink it excessively. I'm willing to concede even this. However, I imagine you'd feel the same negativity toward alcohol that I do if you grew up with an alocholic parent(s) and dysfunctional family. Well, you'd either hate the idea of drinking or become a hopeless alcoholic like your parents. ....oh wait. =P

2) You played football with a broken ankle... I don't remember this, so I assume you didn't tell me. Probably a good thing from your perspective because I would've just yelled at you, but lordy. XD You're stupid sometimes. =p

3) Of course, WQ was my partner in this and was the anchor around my neck.

I'll assume you're joking, even if it's true. But still. That hurts. You neglected to mention the fact that you picked my game for me, and secondly - and most importantly - I wrote my review for that tourney with the last two hours I had left in Spain, thank you very much. I'm not awesome like you and thus able to pull off awesome reviews in ridiculously short spans of time.

Suffice to say, since writing that review, I think all my reviews since then - except maybe Half Life 2 - have sucked, so there you go.

4) I hope that whatever you're going through now is just a huge case of writer's block and general worn outedness, as opposed to something more serious. I wish you'd elaborate more since I also have a tendency to worry about these sorts of things, but I also know you don't check your HG mail very often, so I guess I'll just nag you to death when I get back online in a week.

5) Risen was my favorite review of yours of 2009, so I'm glad you're happy with it. I enjoyed reading this, as I always find these things interesting. Good luck with anything else you do.
EmP EmP - January 11, 2010 (03:33 PM)
One day you'll believe me whan I say I drop in things that like to see if you're reading the entire thing. It's only been two-three years running, now.
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - January 13, 2010 (10:13 AM)
Yeah, well, I still often feel the need to explain myself, especially when the rest of the community may not know of the context.

For the record, I only took point 3 seriously; everything else pertaining to me I knew was a joke and really made me laugh a lot. Anyway, I only took that thing seriously because it's a self-esteem issue and I still feel awful about the whole thing. =/ Oh well. haha.

P.S. This is only the second time you've done this. I suppose it works, though; I mean, DE hasn't said anything about the jokes you lob at him, so he obviously doesn't read it. xP

Anyway, you still need to answer your mail. Or at the very least answer the question about possibly changing your AIM address. =P Otherwise I'll just have a stream of questions waiting for you when I get back. xP
EmP EmP - January 13, 2010 (02:31 PM)
The AIM name'll stay for now. If and when it changes, I'll let intrested parties know.
darketernal darketernal - January 14, 2010 (10:38 AM)
I didn't say anything because I am offended he mentioned my glorious existence only once in that entire rant.

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2024 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors.