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    Let's take a look back at 13 forgotten fighting games that should make a comeback!

    Fighting Games
    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Apr 20, 2018

    The fighting game genre has never been more popular, with modern takes on many of the big names from yesteryear. We're constantly graced with new installments of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, King of Fighters, Smash Bros, Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom, Guilty Gear, and so on.

    Then I get to thinking about the fighting games that haven't been so lucky. The ones that have fallen into the sands of time. When's the last time we got an Art of Fighting game? Aren't we due for a Wu-Tang Shaolin Style sequel about now? Do you think somebody could make a Tattoo Assassins game that isn't garbage just for the challenge of it? There are so many possibilities.

    Here's a list of thirteen fighting games I'd like to see make a modern-day comeback.

    13. FIGHTING MASTERS

    1991 | Almanic | Genesis

    When an idea like Street Fighter II hits it big, you're going to get something like Fighting Masters. Its heart was in the right place and it had some cool ideas (and especially cool soundtrack), but couldn't pull off a lasting impression. It takes place in a galaxy where the sun is about to go nova and a race of hyper-competent aliens stop by to say that they can save only one planet. So...fighting tournament among the best of each planet because these aliens have a strange sense of perspective. That means we get a couple humans and a lot of ridiculous alien designs, including a boxing horse man.

    Too bad the gameplay was undercooked. Rather than feeling very Street Fighter, it came off as more of a series of Double Dragon boss fights. That's unfortunate, as they almost seemed to have something.

    Forgotten Fighting Games

    12. TIME KILLERS 

    1993 | Incredible Technologies | Genesis, Arcade

    Time Killerswas one of the earlier fighting games exist thanks to Street Fighter II's success. It went the Mortal Kombat route of playing up the gore factor. While Mortal Kombat only used gore for stylistic reasons and shock value, at least the blood in Time Killers affected gameplay. Not only could you get your arms chopped off mid-fight and continue the battle with a handicap, but decapitations could happen at any time, immediately ending the match.

    The game is like the Pete Best of early fighting games, but maybe it's about time we gave these blade-swinging time-travelers a second chance. After all, Rancid from the year 2024 is a chainsaw-wielding punk with sunglasses, earrings, an X carved into his forehead, and a green Mohawk mullet with ponytail. That's the most overkill design ever and deserves a trophy.

    11. CLAYFIGHTER

    1993 | Visual Concepts | Genesis, SNES

    The ClayFightergames were never very good, but I enjoyed them for the cartoony nonsense. The character designs were pretty great, outside of the cast of ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay and the racist caricatures in ClayFighter 63 1/3. On paper, the concept of the game has tons of promise. It's a parody of fighting game tropes featuring a man made of taffy, an Elvis impersonator, Santa Claus as a sumo wrestler, a mopey clown, and a pumpkin-headed ghost.

    The series pretty much died when ClayFighter 63 1/3 got delayed into oblivion and finally came out as a crap game that felt unfinished because it totally was. A somewhat more polished version called ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut came out as a Blockbuster exclusive rental, but that didn't exactly set the world on fire. It was going to be updated for the WiiWare a few years ago, but that fell through.

    Just get some CGI that looks clay-like and we don't have to worry about all that choppy animation that plagued the old games. I'm just saying, I need my Bad Mr. Frosty fix. It's been too long.

    Forgotten Fighting Games

    10. MACE: THE DARK AGE 

    1997 | Atari Games & Midway Games | N64, Arcade

    If you're a fighting game fan who owned a Nintendo 64 but not a Playstation, then there's a 95% chance you've played Mace: The Dark Age. Developed by Atari, the fighter played like the Soul Edge games with a Mortal Kombat atmosphere. The story was incredibly similar to Soul Edge in that it was also about medieval warriors fighting over an evil weapon of ultimate power, only it was definitely more metal. Even when you remove the Fatalities (called "Executions" here), you had an executioner, a knight from the bowels of Hell, a zombie crusader, a dwarf riding a steam-powered mech, and an impressive-looking demon boss who was so massive that only his top half appears out of a portal in the ground.

    It also had a giant chicken as a hidden character, which somehow led to it having a hidden character appearance in Gauntlet Legends. Go figure.

    The game never really caught on, which is a shame, since it had a good foundation for a sequel to build on. I'm kind of tired of SoulCalibur feeling like more of the same every time, so maybe it's time we give Mordos Kull another chance.

    old fighting games

    9. LAST BLADE 

    1997 | SNK | Neo Geo

    There were only two installments of Last Blade?! Really?! Like, I realize the three games I've already mentioned are sub-par at best (and Time Killers at worst), but Last Blade was so good. After years of doing Samurai Shodown sequels, SNK let loose with a different kind of sword-slashing historical Japanese fighting game that had a more impressive look than Shodownand simply felt grander. It played great, it looked great, and was only held back by some vanilla character designs.

    The character Hibiki got to show up in Capcom vs. SNK 2, but that's not enough. It's been 16 years since the last game. Why aren't we being overwhelmed by Last Blade sequels?

    8. KING OF THE MONSTERS 

    1991 | SNK | Neo Geo, SNES, Genesis

    Okay, SNK, what the hell?! How did something as brilliant as King of the Monsters fall into obscurity so quick?! The game was about giant monsters (blatant copies of Godzilla, King Kong, and Ultraman) fighting through giant cities. That would be cool on its own, only their fighting takes the form of a giant hardcore professional wrestling match where you can use buildings as weapons! The cities have electric borders to box them in, acting like ring ropes. The creatures perform suplexes and bodyslams. You have to actually pin your opponent.

    There have been other giant monster fighters like Primal Rage, the Godzillagames, and War of the Monsters (which is the closest thing we've ever had to a King of the Monsters reboot, even if it's made by a different company), the very concept of giant monsters wrestling is a very deep well to take from. There's a reason why Kaiju Big Battel has lasted so long. Actually, while we're at it, can we get Kaiju Big Battel its own video game? I'd be good with that, too.

    Strangely, SNK did make a sequel to King of the Monsters shortly after, but the game was a side-scrolling beat 'em up instead. It just wasn't the same, man.

    Street Fighter

    7. STREET FIGHTER: THE MOVIE 

    1995 | Capcom & Incredible Technologies | PS, Saturn, Arcade

    All right, all right, all right. Before you jump down to the comments to flame me, let me explain. Everything involved with Street Fighter: The Movie is laughable, including the fact that they made a mediocre fighting game based on a movie based on a legendary fighting game. But here's the thing. Recently, DC Comics released a series called Batman '66that expands the world of the old Adam West show to not only show new adventures, but show what characters like Killer Croc and Harley Quinn would be like had they appeared on that old show. There's also a webcomic sequel to the terrible Super Mario Bros. movie from twenty years ago that retells Super Mario Bros. 2 in the first movie's setting.

    The Street Fighter: The Movie ports had that going on too, to a lesser extent. Not only did they introduce the live-action Akuma into the story, but they claimed that Gunloc from Saturday Night Slam Masters was secretly undercover as M. Bison's henchman, Blade. Also, he was Guile's brother. That's completely bonkers and I kind of want more. Bring back that goofball universe for another go. I want to see what Gill would be like. How off-base could they make Dudley? Or even Rufus? Holy hell, the possibilities are endless.

    6. ETERNAL CHAMPIONS 

    1993 | Sega Interactive | Genesis

    Eternal Champions is next to Killer Instinct in terms of games that were kind of a huge deal for a short burst after they came out, but then vanished for years, never to be heard from again. Ergo, if Killer Instinct can make a comeback, where's Eternal Champions? The game had a pretty kickass story where the Eternal Champion picked victims from across history who would have been great forces for good had they not been tragically killed. In order to help bring balance to the timeline, one of them would get the right to relive their final moments and change the course of history. How would that be decided? A horrible bloodsport tournament. Naturally.

    The game had a sequel in Challenge from the Dark Side and two completely unplayable spinoffs (Chicago Syndicate starring Larcen Tyler and X-Perts starring Shadow Yamato). They were going to have a final game to bring the story to an end, but Sega decided to axe it because they felt it hindered Virtua Fighter's popularity. God forbid two completely different games exist under the same company.

    5. KIZUNA ENCOUNTER 

    1996 | SNK | Neo Geo, Arcade

    To be fair, the first game in the series is Savage Reign, but that's a pretty forgettable one-on-one fighter that isn't really worth revisiting. It didn't really kick in until the sequel, Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle, SNK's first attempt at a tag team game. In fact, it came out just weeks after Capcom's popular X-Men vs. Street Fighter, one of the many reasons it's fallen into the sands of time. Despite that, it felt different than Capcom's tag fighters. The characters felt bigger and more grounded. It felt more like a 2D version of Tekken Tag in a way. The game was super fun.

    Also neat was that it took place in the same timeline as the Fatal Fury games, only about a hundred or so years into the future (featuring an old man wearing Terry Bogard's discarded hat and Kim Kaphwan's descendant). I love the designs because instead of making everything all futuristic, characters are mostly just either dystopian or extra gaudy. It gives us supervillain King Lion, who has the triple threat of body armor, boxing gloves, and a giant sword. We're supposed to take him seriously. Why not? It's the future! Maybe in the future looking like a cross between Dr. Doom and Strong Bad is considered threatening. The guy showed up again in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, but nobody played that either.

    Forgotten Fighting Games

    4. DARKSTALKERS 

    1994 | Capcom | PS, Arcade

    It's hard to accept that Darkstalkershas fallen to the wayside as much as it has. While it was never going to be as big as Street Fighter, it did feel popular enough to be a staple in Capcom's library. Then again, look at everything that's happened with Mega Man... Anyway, Darkstalkerswas a brilliant fighting game with monsters, and it was cartoony as all get-out. There were follow-ups and while they did change up the gameplay here and there, they were still using the same sprites again and again, making the games look less like sequels and more like upgrades. It didn't help that lead heroine Morrigan showed up in a bunch of crossover fighters (ie. Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK) and they chose never to update her graphics at all, making her stick out like a sore thumb.

    Capcom's bigwig Yoshinori Ono has wanted a new Darkstalkersgame for forever, but decided that it could only happen if people purchased Darkstalkers Resurrection, the HD re-release of the previous Darkstalkers games. I hated that. But hey, good to see that Capcom was still trying to get as much play out of those 20-year-old sprites as they could.

    We wrote much more about Darkstalkers right here.

    3. POWER STONE

    1999 | Capcom | Dreamcast, Arcade

    Man. Power Stone. What happened? Second to Smash Bros., Power Stone was such a fun party game fighter, based purely on running around the environment and beating your opponent with anything and everything you could get your hands on. This was especially chaotic in the sequel -- it was four players and the stages were increasingly ridiculous and elaborate. While on the surface, the characters mostly played the same outside of speed and strength, the real fun was being the first to grab three Power Stones and go full ham in your unstoppable, overly-cheap, super-powered identity. That's where the real variety came in. Good times.

    While the second game was a nice step up, it got a little too repetitive and could have used more stages and outlandish ways of hurting your enemies. Save up all those ideas for a third installment – maybe even toss in some iconic Capcom characters for flavor – and you could have an instant classic.

    2. FATAL FURY/GAROU: MARK OF THE WOLVES 

    1991 | SNK & Takara | Neo Geo, Genesis, SNES

    1999 | SNK | Neo Geo, Dreamcast, Arcade

    In the early days, Fatal Fury was one of SNK's answers to Street Fighter's popularity and, much like Art of Fighting, it fell into the background once King of Fighters hit the scene. They still made Fatal Fury games, but they never felt big enough to unseat King of Fighters as SNK's flagship fighting series. At first glance, it made sense that they simply stopped making the games.

    EXCEPT. Their last game was Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a practically new fighter that took place ten years later. Only one character (Terry Bogard) returned and his look was completely changed. The animation and play style were updated.

    It was wonderful. You could play as a man named Butt! Jeff Hardy was there for some reason! It's easily one of the best games SNK's ever produced and looked like an amazing first step in this new direction!

    So of course nothing ever happened to follow up on it. Several characters – especially main hero Rock Howard – got to show up in some other games, including a Mark of the Wolves-based trio in King of Fighters XI, but the most we ever got was talk years ago that they were totally in the middle of making the sequel. Unfortunately, there hasn't been word on it since 2008. Lame.

    1. SATURDAY NIGHT SLAM MASTERS 

    1993 | Capcom | SNES, Genesis, Arcade

    A handful of Capcom games are part of the same continuity, which is kind of cool. Sakura from Street Fighter pops up in Rival Schools, while major cast members of Final Fightshow up in Street Fighter Alpha.

    At one point, someone figured, "Hey, we've established that Mike Haggar from Final Fight used to be a wrestler. Why don't we do a wrestling game with him in it?" And so we got Saturday Night Slam Masters.

    The game was a total blast. A game where characters could do over-the-top moves a la Street Fighter, but in the context of a wrestling match with wrestling rules. For instance, King Rasta Mon (a hybrid of Blanka and Bruiser Brody) would grab you, jump straight up about 15 feet while backflipping a dozen times, then throw you straight down to the mat. Much of the cast was really Capcom recreations of classic wrestlers like Big Van Vader, Tinieblas, and The Great Muta.

    They did make a sequel called Ring of Destruction, but they changed the gameplay so that it was more of a Street Fighter clone with pinning. It got rid of one of the most entertaining parts of the game where you could do tag team tornado matches and the whole thing just felt a lot less special.

    I'd love to see Slam Masters brought back in some form. Considering the shared universe, they could even toss in the likes of Zangief, Hugo, Poison, El Fuerte, and just about anyone else who would fit in a wrestling ring.

    What other fighters would you like to see dug up and brought back? Sound off in the comments.

    Gavin Jasper wants to remind you that the end credits theme to the Darkstalkers animated series is top notch. Follow him on Twitter!


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  • 04/20/18--17:30: 50 Underrated Xbox Games
  • Microsoft's debut games console, the Xbox, made a big impact on gaming, but not all of its games got the attention they deserved...

    The Lists Aaron Birch
    Apr 20, 2018

    The console wars may have turned into a two-horse race in the last few years, with Nintendo playing catch up, but wind back a few years to a time when Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo were all hard at it, competing for your money and loyalty. The PlayStation 2 would go on to win the war of its generation, but Microsoft's Xbox was a tough competitor, giving the company a secure foothold, which it would later take advantage of in the next generation with the Xbox 360's dominance.

    The original Xbox had a host of great games, many of which have gone on to become successful franchises, with no better example than Halo, but not all of its good games gained the attention they deserved, even if sequels managed to appear in later years. Some games were either critical failures, often unfairly so, or simply failed to make it into the public eye in order to become a success.

    Check out the Logitech G513, the Perfect Next-Gen Keyboard for PC Gamers

    Here are our top 50 such titles. These are great games that helped to make the Xbox such a good gaming platform, but still failed to make it commercially or critically. Hopefully, you'll find some new gaming gems to seek out and try, and if you do, you won't be sorry you spent the time digging them out of second-hand stores or eBay. So, if you're looking for some older classics, read on...

    50. Syberia

    The point-and-click adventure genre has never been all that well received on consoles. This is partly due to the need for a mouse to play them properly. It doesn't help that most console gamers simply aren't into slower-paced text or dialogue-heavy adventures. At least, that's what publishers think.

    Occasionally, though, a gem arrives and gives console-owning adventure fans what they want. One example of this is Syberia. This was a great adventure for the Xbox and was a solid port of the PC version. It was an atmospheric, mature adventure that featured a deep story and some great, steampunk-themed environments.

    49. Spy Hunter

    Many classic game remakes suffer, as those rose-tinted glasses often confuse nostalgia with actual, decent gameplay. Spy Hunter, on the other hand, was an exception. It took the old-school racer and turned it into a modern 3D speed fest, complete with transforming cars and weapons galore.

    Spread over a series of missions, the game retained the original '80s game's theme, even using remixes of the famous Peter Gunn tune, and also featured impressive visuals and extra features, such as the car's bike mode. It was also very difficult. A sequel was released, but ultimately, the game didn't do all that well.

    48. Shadow of Memories

    Here we have another adventure title, this time from Konami. Shadow of Memories was a time-traveling adventure that saw protagonist, Eike Kusch, attempt to stop his murder by journeying to the past in order to change future events. The game took place in a fictional German town and utilized a clever dual clock system. Time flowed both in Eike's current time period and the current day. If the time in the current day reached that of Eike's murder, the game was over and the chapter reset. So, you had to hurry things on to prevent his eventual demise.

    Shadow of Memories was an interesting outing for Konami and featured a plot that impressed critics and players who discovered it. It's been ported to the PSP since, but still remains largely ignored.

    47. Arx Fatalis

    Although this wasn't anywhere near as good as the PC original, lacking the proper motion gesture magic casting controls, there were few first-person RPGs like this on the Xbox, other than the excellent Morrowind, which was, of course, far more successful.

    Arx Fatalis was well worth a look too, as it featured some classic D&D style play, with a cool underworld setting and coupled this with first-person melee combat and a robust magic system. The underground world was large and surprisingly varied at times, with plenty of dangerous creatures to face off against.

    46. Sniper Elite

    It's now more popular thanks to Sniper Elite V2, but back in the time of the Xbox, the original wasn’t so well known to the mainstream. As with the sequel, the game cast players as an elite sniper in enemy territory, emphasizing the use of stealth tactics to achieve objectives.

    The game's trademark bullet cam kills for well-placed sniper shots were first shown here, in all their graphic glory. At a time when WWII titles were so long in the tooth a woolly mammoth would look on in envy, this was a different take on the subject - and a welcome one at that.

    45. ObsCure

    This was an interesting survival horror that starred five teenagers who found themselves locked inside their school. This would be bad enough, but this school had more to it than boring classes, bullies, and awkward dates, it was the location of some seriously odd goings-on.

    Various infected classmates were found within the school and enemies were damaged by bright lights. It would be discovered that experiments were being performed on students and it was up to our group of young heroes to stop these events.

    It's ironic that the game would end up being exactly what it was named, but this is a shame, as it's a great horror adventure, one worth seeking out if you're a fan of the genre.

    44. Puyo Pop Fever

    Puyo Pop Fever is one of the best versions of the color-matching puzzle series, which many western players will recognize more from its Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine guise. It's a simple, yet fiendishly deep puzzle set up that's easy to play, and when up against good players, very hard to master.

    Developed by Sonic Team, Puyo Puyo has always failed to really make it big in the west (aside from the aforementioned Mean Bean Machine, which used the Sonic universe to boost appeal), and so many may not even know of the game series, let alone this excellent Xbox version. And, now that games like Candy Crush rule the roost, this won't likely change.

    43. Rogue Trooper

    When Rebellion purchased 2000AD, it immediately acquired the rights to some of the best comic book characters ever created, including the likes of Judge Dredd, Slaine,ABC Warriors, and, of course, Rogue Trooper.

    This video game outing for the blue GI was actually very good and was developed by a studio with a clear love for the comics. All of the staples of the comic series were included. The story focused on the overarching plot of the wandering soldier – to get revenge for the slaughter of all of his kind by the Souther traitor general.

    The world of Nu Earth was recreated excellently, with nods to various Rogue Trooper stories dotted around. Rogue and his abilities were incorporated brilliantly into this accomplished third-person shooter.

    42. Outrun 2

    Without a doubt a poster child for '80s arcade games, Outrun is one of the all-time classic racing titles, and this reboot did the series justice. Not wanting to compete with the increasingly sim-heavy crowd, Outrun 2instead stuck to its arcade time trial roots that introduced drifting. This sequel also had a great online multiplayer mode.

    There were various types of Ferrari for the layer to drive down the sun-drenched highways. It also looked great and ran blisteringly fast, rewarding expert drifting skills and advanced driving.

    41. Headhunter: Redemption

    Although the original Headhunter on the Sega Dreamcast will always be our favorite (it was also released on PS2), the sequel, Headhunter: Redemption, is also worth a look, and takes place years after the first game.

    Players take control of Jack Wade again, as well as newcomer Leeza X (yes, really), in a more action-oriented title than the first. Redemption ditches the open world and bike sections of the first game and focuses more on Metal Gear Solid-style stealth and cover-based combat. The setting is far more futuristic than before. In essence, the game itself is a totally different beast.

    Still, the style the game goes for is handled well, and aside from a mid-game sniper mission that's just torturous for no real reason, it's a very good stealth shooter.

    40. Doom 3

    Oh, come on! Doom 3may not have hit the unreasonable goals of many, who were expecting some form of revolution from a series that pioneered the simple art of shotgun-to-face, but it did deliver the trademark Doom gameplay, only with improved visuals and modern tech. It had great lighting, genuine scares (and admittedly, the overuse of monster closets), and was exactly what it needed to be – a modern Doom.

    Yes, the flashlight was annoying, and yes the action could get repetitive, but it's Doom. What did you expect? Skyrim? What we wanted from a new Doom was bigger guns, demons, horror, and lots of violence, and that's just what id delivered. It was great, even if it was met with a lot of ire.

    39. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge

    This is an odd one, as it was critically acclaimed when it arrived, and was widely hailed as one of the best action titles around. This praise was deserved, as Crimson Skies was a superb shooter, with fluid, simple controls, impressive visuals, and a smooth engine. It basically played as well as it looked and offered a unique, 1930s world of the future setting.

    Sadly, though, the series inexplicably went dark and hasn't been heard from since. A sequel was started after the first hit release, but Microsoft canned it soon afterward. So far, it shows no signs of returning.

    38. TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

    The last TimeSplitters game released, and although not the best (that accolade falls to TimeSplitters 2), Future Perfect gets its place here thanks to the excellent online mode that made the most of Xbox Live, the major bonus feature of the Xbox.

    With one of the most flexible and customizable online components ever seen, along with a simple map editor, Future Perfect's online mode was almost that – perfect. It was responsible for some of the best online FPS matches we've ever played, and it had a pretty good single-player component, too.

    Future Perfect didn't do all that well commercially, though, and so far, we've yet to see another title surface, despite various rumors and free-to-play claims.

    37. Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb

    Long before Lara Croft was treading the dangerous depths of crypts and tombs across the world, Indiana Jones was taking on the Nazis and evil cults, while looking for lost artifacts and doing so with a style all his own.

    When it comes to games, however, Indy hasn't always been as successful as his female rival. Aside from the excellentFate of Atlantis from Lucasarts, his adventures have almost always been middling to bad. That was until Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb.

    This was the Indy action game we'd been waiting for, and it easily took on Tomb Raider with its mix of platforming, puzzling, and combat. In fact, thanks to Indy's brawling style of fisticuffs, the game had a far better combat system than Tomb Raider (and still does), and it perfectly recreates the feel of the movies, right down to the "Raider's March" theme. For some reason, though, it didn't perform all that well. Probably as Indy lacked oversized breasts.

    36. Prisoner of War

    Hailing from Codemasters, who now deals almost exclusively in racing, Prisoner of War was a great stealth title that challenged you to escape various POW camps during WWII. The game used a variety of stealth techniques, and the need to deal with both guards and other inmates to find your way out of various camps, culminating with an escape from the infamous Colditz.

    The strength here was the unique nature of each escape and the actions the player could take, which varied. Guards wouldn't simply kill you if they saw you, but would order you to stop instead. Fail to do so and they'd shoot. You'd need to find items and currency to trade with other inmates for useful escape tools, and there was more than one homage to classic escape films.

    35. Gun

    This was the game many thought Red Dead Revolver should have been (and eventually was with Red Dead Redemption) and was an open world, GTA-style Wild West adventure. It had a large, open map, and plentiful side missions.

    As well as fully fleshed out gunplay, the game also emphasized hand-to-hand combat and featured stealth sections and a host of random attacks by bandits. It was nowhere near the size and scope of Red Dead Redemption, or even GTA III, but it was a surprisingly solid game nonetheless. Sadly, it didn't really make it big and we never saw it again.

    34. Genma Onimusha (Onimusha Warlords)

    Basically Resident Evilset in feudal Japan, the Onimusha series was fairly popular for a time, but this popularity was short-lived. Onimusha Warlords was the first entry in the series, released on Xbox as Genma Onimusha, an updated form of the initial PS2 outing. It used the same Resident Evilstyle of fixed-camera third-person gameplay and pre-rendered backgrounds, but replaced guns with swords. It also added magic and a host of enemies rooted in Japanese mythology. There were even some zombie samurai!

    The focus on melee combat made the game feel very different to Resident Evil, but the mixture of fighting, puzzles, and horror was still present, and the foes were more varied and interesting than endless waves of zombies and mutant monsters. Oddly, as good as the series was, it's since died off, and we've not seen the main thread return since 2006's Dawn of Dreams.

    33. Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly 

    One of the scariest games ever made, and also one overlooked by many gamers, Fatal Frame II was a great Xbox title. It was ported from the PS2 as a Director's Cut, and the best new addition was the inclusion of a first-person mode, which served to immerse you even more in the Japanese horror.

    Using nothing more than a magical camera, you have to explore the creepy locations in the game, finding and exorcising ghosts by taking their pictures. The use of Japanese Ringu and Ju-On aesthetics was perfect and the atmosphere is far more oppressive than most other survival horror titles.

    32. Voodoo Vince

    This was a great action platformer that focused on puzzles and Vince's range of Voodoo powers. The visual style was very reminiscent of Tim Burton's striking aesthetic, and although the actual platforming aspect of the game wasn't up to the same quality as the puzzling and presentation, this was a great one-off title and a distinctly different example of the genre.

    Sadly, Vince didn't go down all that well with the public, and the character was never revisited, even if fans of the game consider it to be one of the best platformers on the console.

    31. Roadkill

    Roadkillis best described as an open world Twisted Metal. Unlike the more famous vehicle shooter, Roadkilldidn't simply feature a series of missions but instead packed tasks onto a large map.

    Various vehicles could be used and outfitted with a variety of weapons. The world was a post-apocalyptic wasteland of combat and carnage, where there was no law, other than the various gangs that roamed the landscape. It was a pretty decent, and well-presented game with fluid combat - a great alternative to the linear Twisted Metal series, which was exclusive to Sony.

    30. Armed & Dangerous

    Although not a technical marvel, with visuals that didn't really make the most of the Xbox's capabilities, Armed & Dangerous had it where it counts. This was a totally crazy third-person shooter littered with oddball enemies and even stranger weapons. The highlight of these unique armaments has to be the Landshark gun, which fired, yes, a shark that "swam" towards your foes and gobbled them up. Nice.

    The game didn't really pretend to be anything more than a crazy, off-the-rails shooter, and so it failed to sell all that well at a time when people clearly wanted more complex and cutting-edge titles. Oh well.

    29. American McGee's Scrapland

    He may be seen by many as overrated, but American McGee does have a knack for creating striking characters and worlds. His debut title, Alice, was excellent, and this title was another of his successes, at least in terms of quality.

    Players took on the role of D-Tritus, who lived in the titular robotic world, actually called Chimera by its inhabitants. The plot revolved around the world's religion, which was a paid for service that resurrects robots who expire. There were also humans and other organic beings, and in his job as a reporter, D-Tritus investigated a murder, seemingly perpetrated by a human.

    The game was similar in some ways to GTA, although more basic, and in an eye-meltingly colorful, neon world. The player could take control of other robot types and utilize their skills. Side activities like racing added to the mix and vehicles could be customized. It was a great, if largely unknown, adventure.

    28. Brute Force

    Brute Force was one of the launch titles for the Xbox and it's a good example of a game that many overlooked. It was a squad-based shooter that starred four protagonists with varied skills and abilities. Tex was the weapons guy, tough and able to carry two weapons at once; Brutus was a humanoid lizard able to sprint and use enhanced vision; Flint was the cyborg sniper with enhanced aiming; and Hawk was the stealthy assassin.

    The team embarked on various missions on a number of planets, fighting against a collection of enemy factions, and most encounters could be approached in a number of different ways, making use of the different team abilities.

    Sure, the game didn't play as well as the launch trailers claimed, and was a more formulaic shooter, but it was a big, interesting title, and we'd have liked to see where it could have headed if it had returned for more.

    27. Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

    We're willing to bet you've never heard of this one, which is a shame, as it's a unique and interesting take on the usual 3D environment-scaling formula, with stealth and graffiti elements.

    Featuring the Mark Ecko License, the game cast you as Trane, an up and coming street artist who lived in New Radius, a city controlled by a strict police regime. Trane's goal was to become the best street artist around, but to do this he had to contend with rival gangs, as well as the authorities, who didn't look too favorably on graffiti artists defiling the streets.

    The game made extensive use of Prince of Persia-style climbing and platforming, as Trane had to get to ever-more difficult to reach places to spray his tags and artwork. There was also melee combat and stealth mechanic.

    Ultimately, it was flawed, with some iffy controls and an often annoying camera, but the core game was good. Well worth a look.

    26. Tron 2.0: Killer App

    Although it wasn't as good as the original PC version, Tron 2.0: Killer App was still a fine FPS, and far better than the more recent reboot movie's video game adaptation (and the actual movie for that matter). Developed by Monolith, the game depicted events after the original film (it was considered the film's sequel until Tron Legacy was released).

    Players took control of Alan Bradley's son, Jet. Alan is kidnapped by fCon, owned by the villainous ENCOM, and Jet has to be digitized to enter the computer world to rescue his dad.

    Many of Tron's original cast lent their vocal talents to the game, including Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan, and Syd Mead designed a new light cycle for the game. Because of this, the computer world featured was excellent, and recreated the digital environs of the '80s flick, adding a more modern take. It had a great range of weapons, original resource-focused stats, and skills. You really did feel as though you were exploring a true, computer world, something the new film just lost sight of. Give this a go, it's great.

    25. Deus Ex: Invisible War

    It may often be seen as the black sheep of the Deus Ex family, and as a sequel to the divine PC original, it was certainly lacking, but Invisible War was still a fine game in its own right. PC gamers, in particular, were livid about the game and still are to this day.

    It had a graphics engine that undeniably pushed the Xbox a little too far, but the Deus Ex staple of open-ended encounters and a rich, detailed world were kept intact. The story, which took place after both the original game and Human Revolution, was interesting, bringing back most of the original game's characters and story threads.

    Ion Storm may have made some dubious decisions, such as simplified RPG elements, inventory systems, and the uniform ammo system, but even the worst Deus Exgame is better than most others, so if you've missed it, or avoided it due to the myriad of complaints, ignore them and give it a try.

    24. X2: Wolverine's Revenge

    There really aren't many X-Men games that do the subject matter justice. Most end up as lame movie tie-ins or wasted opportunities, but this often overlooked entry actually got a lot right.

    Wolverine's Revenge focuses on the most popular X-Men mutant and delved into the canuckle head's origins, seeing him travel to the Weapon X facility to cure the Shiva virus, a condition implanted in him during his incarceration as Weapon X.

    The game was a third-person scrapper with heavy stealth elements, and this worked well for the character. As Wolverine wasn't in top form, he had to make use of his stealthy abilities and heightened senses to get the drop on foes, and this made for some truly challenging stealth play.

    The game also delivered a great video game incarnation of Wolverine. Here he was more than just a flurry of adamantium claws, but was a predatory beast, using the most of his skills to best his foes. As it should be.

    23. Blood Omen 2

    This was the actual sequel to the original Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, and wasn't part of the Soul Reaver series as such, but instead ties the two stories together. In this one, players controlled the Soul Reaver antagonist, the vampire Kain. Kain awakes after 200 years to find his army gone and the vampire-killing Sarafan in control. He has to brave the dangerous city of Meridian, home of the Sarafan Lord, to defeat his nemesis and retrieve the powerful Soul Reaver sword.

    The game was very much a Tomb Raider-style adventure, only it featured slower-paced melee combat that emphasized blocking and dodging. Kain could acquire and use a number of powers, but stealth was often his best option. 

    22. Sudeki

    Sudeki was a great little RPG that many may have missed, as it didn't do all that well. Primarily a third-person RPG,Sudeki features multiple main characters with unique skills and real-time combat. Depending on the character, combat could be either third-person (melee) or first-person (ranged). Outside of battle, puzzles had to be solved, also using character abilities.

    It was a good looking game, very similar to the likes of Fable, and it boasted an anime aesthetic, with an interesting world and plot. The varied skills of the main party of characters kept changing things up, which stopped things becoming too repetitive.

    21. Steel Battalion

    There's a big reason that this game failed to make it as big as it should have, and that's the controller. Steel Battalion made use of a massive DIY controller that cost well over $200 - not a good way to attract the masses.

    If you were lucky enough to own the game and the expensive controller, you had what was, and arguably still is, the best mech game around. The controller really made the game, with a range of levers, buttons, and lights that made controlling a mech very realistic. You really did feel like you were piloting a powerful, giant robot of death. The game was damn hard too and was designed for the true mech fan.

    Sadly, because of this niche target audience and massive price, it didn't sell very well, and so many will never get the chance to play it, which is a big shame.

    20. Fusion Frenzy

    One of the more interesting launch titles for the Xbox, Fusion Frenzy was a pure party game, designed to take advantage of the console's four-way, local multiplayer capabilities. It featured a selection of characters, admittedly rather bland ones, that could compete in a number of mini-game challenges.

    The 20 or so mini-games were varied and included great modes, such as various styles of racing games, sumo-style elimination bouts, rhythm games, and much more. This was all presented with some great sci-fi visuals.

    Party games are often overlooked by many, especially those who prefer solo or online titles, but Fusion Frenzy was an excellent value title for a post-pub blast.

    19. Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death

    As well as the earlier 2000AD Rogue Trooper title, Rebellion also released this Judge Dredd FPS. Like Rogue Trooper, this was actually pretty damn good and was another clear sign that the devs knew what they were doing with the license, possessing a true love for the comic (which is more than can be said for the awful movies so far).

    The game brilliantly reproduced the comic book creation, with a colorful, but still dark Mega City One, tons of references to the comic, even some highly obscure ones, and some decent FPS play. Most importantly, it gave fans what they wanted: to go up against Dredd's arch enemy, Judge Death and his Dark Judges.

    Although the boss fights were a little lacking and could have been much more creative, this was a good, challenging FPS, and it's certainly the best Dreddgame out there, not that there's a great deal of them.

    18. Operation Flashpoint: Elite

    This port of the PC military shooter (which became ARMA after licensing disputes) was an impressive release on the Xbox, incorporating everything that made the PC original so good. It featured the vast, wide open islands, multiple storylines, and missions that could often be tackled in any way you saw fit. It also brought with it the game's punishing difficulty, thanks to the highly realistic setting and damage system.

    You played as a number of soldiers, from an up-and-coming grunt to tank and chopper pilots. Some of the best missions featured the game's covert ops sections, where you often had to traverse enemy territory under the cover of darkness and foliage. These were incredibly tense and realistic, far more so than any of today's major military shooters. Multiplayer was also fantastic.

    17. Kung Fu Chaos

    Like Fusion Frenzy, Kung Fu Chaos was another party game, but this one focused on martial arts combat and saw players utilize the various game characters to make a fictional kung fu movie. When a level was complete, you could even watch the movie back and marvel at your sheer skill (or lack of it).

    Visually, it was cartoon thrills all the way. The game was packed with parodies of famous martial arts movies and stars. The various movie set stages all featured specific styles, with various hazards that had to be avoided while fighting your way through, such as aliens and dinosaurs.

    The game was fun when played solo, but this was all about the multiplayer. Even so early on in the Xbox's life, this was and still is one of the best multiplayer games on the platform. It even had exploding pigs!

    16. Conker: Live and Reloaded

    This was essentially a HD remake of the N64 adult platformer classic, with improved visuals, better audio, and an interesting multiplayer component thrown in to make use of Xbox Live.

    Like the N64 original, the main game was a cutesy solo platformer, but this was no kids game. As Conker the drunken squirrel, you begin the game after a particularly heavy night in the local boozer and have to get home to your shapely love interest. Unfortunately, this journey home isn't so straightforward. The Panther King needs a new leg for his coffee table so he can drink milk without spilling it. Luckily for him, red squirrels are just the right size, and so he sets his sights on Conker. Yes, that's the story. Really.

    What followed was a slick and challenging platformer that featured all sorts of adult humor, including some very literal toilet humor in the form of the Great Mighty Poo. Puzzles, violent melee combat, and plenty of parodies of famous movies like A Clockwork Orange, Terminator,The Matrix, and Saving Private Ryan were featured. T

    he multiplayer was a class-based third-person shooter that didn't get the attention it deserved, as it was actually pretty fun. A really solid game that didn't do all that well, probably due to the cute image mixed with adult content confusing parents everywhere.

    15. Thief: Deadly Shadows

    Ion Storm's sequel to Deus Ex may have been questionable to many, but its effort in the Thiefseries was far better, even if it still failed to sell all that well, a curse the whole series has suffered.

    Deadly Shadows utilized the unchained power of the modern tech of the time to bring Garrett back to our screens in a city that contained tons of detail, albeit with smaller locations and missions, and a pointless, and thankfully optional, third-person view. These missions, however, were Thief through-and-through, something the recent Thief from Eidos Montreal failed to reproduce. In fact, Deadly Shadows is a superior game to the latest outing in almost every way. It captured not only the proper feel of the city, but protagonist Garrett, and the other factions that contributed to the series' unique feel. Oh, and it had the Shalebridge Cradle mission, which is one of the single most terrifying gaming experiences ever.

    If you're looking for a true Thief game on console (can't play Thief I or II), dig Deadly Shadows out and ignore the latest release.

    14. Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

    The work of H.P. Lovecraft isn't the usual subject for a console survival horror as many simply don't know enough about them for it to be commercially viable. However, long before the likes of Amnesia and Slenderman, Call of Cthulhu was scaring the pants off people and making them run away in terror.

    Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth was a horror FPS that included stealth elements as well as various unique features for the time, such as no visible HUD, which added to the immersion. The game's main character was also a mentally unstable detective who had to investigate a strange town. On arrival, this town threw players into a fast-paced effort to escape foes by blocking pursuers with doors and finding escape routes. Eventually, weapons and combat were introduced.

    The atmosphere was great, constantly dark and foreboding, and the Lovecraftian horror fit the atmosphere perfectly, offering something a whole lot more interesting than the usual zombies or ghosts. A great FPS survival horror and one that deserved more attention than it got.

    13. Cold Fear

    The GameCube, and eventually the PS2, had a major gaming advantage over the Xbox in that they both got a copy of the excellent Resident Evil 4. The Xbox never got this, but it did have a good alternative in the form of Cold Fear.

    This mostly ignored survival horror featured the same third-person style of Resident Evil 4, along with some impressive graphics and effects, such as the constant rocking of the boat the game initially took place on. The game featured many of the tropes already laid out by Resident Evil, and although it was admittedly not as good a game as the Capcom series, it was a perfectly fine option for those without a GameCube or PS2.

    12. Shenmue II

    Initially a Dreamcast exclusive, Sega ported the second Shenmuegame to the Xbox, and included a mini-movie showing the events of the first entry. Unlike the Dreamcast original, this port featured a full English vocal track.

    Shenmue II was already a superb game and the Xbox version allowed it to reach a larger audience. It could have even given the series a platform to continue on following the demise of the Dreamcast. Alas, this wasn't to be, and despite the quality of the game, it didn't sell, and Shenmue ended up in limbo until Shenmue III was announced a few years back.

    11. Jet Set Radio Future

    Jet Set Radio (also called Jet Grind Radio) was another Dreamcast title that made the jump from Sega's machine to the Xbox, and this was a very good jump indeed. Jet Set Radio Future featured the same cel-shaded action as the Dreamcast original, along with a great soundtrack, but it was designed to be bigger and better, with a new story, new artwork, and more open levels and multiple mission objectives. It featured user-created graffiti tags too, and multiplayer, a constant theme of Xbox ports, where developers wanted to make the most of the excellent Xbox Live service.

    Many insist that this isn't as good as the Dreamcast original, and we'd agree, but it's still a great title, and one of the best and most unique Xbox games. Understand, understand, the concept of love.

    10. Phantasy Star Online: Episodes I & II

    Yes, it's yet another Dreamcast title ported to the Xbox, and it's also the first online RPG that worked on a console. Sega'sPhantasy Star Online was a fantastic online RPG. It wasn't an MMO as we know them now but instead was smaller in scale, allowing up to four people to team up in instanced dungeon crawling. Combat was in real time, instead of queued up attacks, and it featured a host of weapons, magic, and loot to collect and upgrade. It could be played solo, but to get the most out of the game, this was online all the way.

    A large and loyal community grew with the game and many Dreamcast owners purchased an Xbox just to carry on playing their beloved title. Still, it failed to do anywhere near as well as it did on Dreamcast, despite the larger user base for the Microsoft console. Sega may have killed it off in recent years with a reluctance to forgo a subscription model, but in its day, this was a brilliant, if simple MMORPG.

    9. Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath

    Surely the best outing of the Oddworldseries, Stranger's Wrath was a peculiar stealth title that featured all sorts of clever, trap-based FPS combat and third-person platforming.

    As the titular bounty hunter, the Stranger, players had to utilize all sorts of living creatures as ammo on his special crossbow. Creatures could be used to lure foes, attack them, stun them, and more, with the goal of capturing foes alive for bounties, which the Stranger could claim at the nearest township.

    Set in the Oddworlduniverse, the game was every bit as quirky as any of Abe's adventures. Sadly, it was missed by most. A HD version has since been re-released digitally, though, so if you missed it on the original Xbox, make sure to check it out.

    8. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

    This game did make it to a sequel, but its second outing was nowhere near as good as the original. This was an open-world sandbox title in the style of a militarized GTA. Players picked one of three mercenaries to play as and were sent into a fictional DMZ war zone between North and South Korea to tackle a large number of missions and side quests.

    All sorts of weapons and vehicles could be found, and using the game's black market, a wide selection of air strikes and support could be called in, with devastating results (it wasn’t called Playground of Destruction for nothing). There were a number of factions, including the Allied Nations, South Korea, and the Russian Mafia, and missions were varied and well-implemented into the large open warzone.

    The main focus of the game was to locate and either capture or kill the deck of 52, the major officers and commanders of the game's antagonist, the North Korean army, and unlike the sequel, it never devolved into QTE events or cheap tricks. It was pure action all the way, and it was brilliant.

    7. Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter

    Starring Henry Rollins as the voice of Mace Griffin, this was a sci-fi FPS that put players in the shoes of Mace, an intergalactic bounty hunter on a mission to clear his name of a crime he didn't commit. It sounds cheesy, and it was, but the gameplay more than made up for it.

    The game was split into two sections. The on-foot FPS sections were solid and very difficult in places. There was a collection of satisfying weapons and interesting locations, too. Accompanying these were the space combat sections where Mace would pilot his ship, taking down enemy fighters before docking with his intended target and proceeding on foot. All of this flowed seamlessly, with no loading between the ship and on-foot sections.

    It was one of the best FPS titles on the platform, and some would even argue it was better than Halo. You may or may not agree with this, but regardless, this is an FPS that should have been more popular.

    6. Jade Empire

    It's hard to imagine a BioWare RPG being less than a system seller, but Jade Empire was an experiment that didn't quite work out as well as other BioWare projects, despite being a great game all the same.

    Set in a fantasy far east world, the game was similar in style to the Knights of yhe Old Republic games, but ditched the point-and-click-style combat for real-time martial arts and magic attacks. You could pick from a number of different martial artists, each of whom specialized in certain styles. Along the way other combat styles could be learned, each of which granted whole new attacks and move sets.

    It was a visually beautiful RPG, with some amazing environments, and the eastern-style was unique for the genre, replacing the usual magic or mana with Chi and other eastern themes.

    5. Breakdown

    Breakdown is a game that's criminally overlooked. This Namco title was flawed, sure, but it was also an ambitious and brilliant FPS that featured a hand-to-hand combat system that actually worked and a slow-burning but interesting story, with twists and turns keeping things interesting throughout.

    Once you got used to the combat system and acquired some of protagonist Derrick Cole's superpowers, you really did feel like a superhuman able to take down whole squads of soldiers. Great stuff.

    4. Beyond Good and Evil

    Okay, regulars of the site will be all too familiar with our love for the Ubisoft classic, Beyond Good and Evil, and although we prefer to keep lists unique for platforms where possible, this is one game that deserves to be mentioned whenever relevant. While it was multi-platform, the Xbox version was every bit as good, if not better than the others.

    Jade's adventure against an invading alien force, armed only with her staff and camera, is simply unforgettable. This game ist so good we just can't understand why it flopped so badly. It's available in HD form now via Xbox Live and there's a sequel on the way!

    3. The Punisher

    The Batman: Arkham games have become known as the best comic book adaptations in gaming, and that's perfectly correct, they're brilliant. But another excellent comic book hero game that nailed the subject matter was Marvel's The Punisher from THQ and Volition.

    A third-person shooter and torture simulator, the game accurately portrayed Frank Castle's anti-hero and didn't skimp on his trademark violence and disdain of the criminal underworld. It also included plenty of Marvel cameos, including Iron Man and Nick Fury, as well as a selection of supervillains like the Kingpin and Bullseye.

    It was a rare example of a nigh-on perfect comic book adaptation. The many missions spanned a decent selection of locations, including the Ryker's Island prison and Stark Towers. Frank is even voiced by Thomas Jane, the only decent movie Punisher.

    2. Psychonauts

    Created by Tim Shafer, Psychonauts was a simply brilliant 3D platformer that took place in the minds of various disturbed individuals, as protagonist Ratz explored their psyches in order to train as a Psychonaut, a psychic spy.

    It featured the trademark humor Shafer's studio is known for, along with striking visuals and some fine platforming play. The range of psychic powers acquired opens up a host of possibilities, such as telekinesis, clairvoyance, and pyrokinesis, and these were used in both combat and to solve the game's many puzzles.

    It was a truly unique take on the overpopulated genre, and so it's so unfortunate that it failed to do well during its initial release. Like a few of the titles on this list, however, it's now available digitally, so be sure to check it out. A sequel is on the way, as well!

    1. Phantom Dust

    We're willing to bet you've probably never heard of this game, which isn't surprising as it had hardly any hype at all at release and so didn't sell. It should have, though, as it was fantastic.

    Phantom Dust mixed together third-person combat with card collecting, and it did so superbly. You could pick from over 300 different power cards and form of a deck of attacks and skills which you could use against your opponent in frantic battles. There were over 100 single-player missions and many locations featured destructible environments.

    As well as the extensive solo content, the game also boasted a great online multiplayer mode, and it supported DLC, adding even more card skills. It was all set in an anime-style postapocalyptic world with impressive visuals and addictive gameplay.

    Phantom Dust has developed quite the cult following but has so far failed to muster up a sequel, and despite both fans and the game's producer, Yukio Futatsugi, wanting another outing, Microsoft has so far demonstrated little interest. The company did release a remastered version of the game back in 2017, though.

    That's our list and you may or may not agree with some of our picks. Which games would you place in your own selection? Let us know in the comments as always.


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    Over 20 years after its would-be release, we look at the surreal Kombat clone that has Nancy Kerrigan strip a biker dude naked. It's weird.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Apr 23, 2018

    When Street Fighter II became such a success in the early 90s, many competitors tried to ride the wave. Some decided to just release what was essentially the same game without adding much in terms of innovation, such as World Heroes and Fighters’ History. Other games decided to use Street Fighter II as a foundation and make something new, such as Mortal Kombat.

    The latter series led to the same kind of behavior. Sure, you had Killer Instinct, which was different and unique enough to not be considered a Mortal Kombat ripoff, but there were so many fighting game footnotes that tried to just be Mortal Kombatand leave it at that.

    None of them are fondly remembered.

    One of the games that falls into this pit is Data East’s Tattoo Assassins, a game I’ve seen referred to as the worst fighter of all time. I don't agree. After all, it’s still better than fellow Kombatknockoffs Survival Arts and Shadow: War of Ascension.

    Tattoo Assassins is the Plan 9 From Outer Space of video games. There are worse games out there, but this one gets the attention because it’s too weird to exist...and it kind of doesn’t. At least not officially.

    Despite having early builds shown off at conventions and getting a four-page article in the pages of EGM2, Tattoo Assassins has never been released. Instead, only a few prototype arcade machines existed, which led to the game seeing the light of day as a ROM many years later. While not completely finished, the game is still very playable, and the glitches are mostly in the audio. Though there is that screwy Zamboni kill, where the vehicle never leaves the left side of the screen to actually run the guy over.

    The story of Tattoo Assassins began in the early-to-mid '90s with Bob Gale. As in Bob “Back to the Future” Gale. As in Bob “Seriously, he’s the guy who wrote the Back to the Future movies” Gale. Anyway, Bob Gale. After Data East developed a pinball machine for Back to the Future Gale continued his business relationship with them by offering them up a script he wasn’t really doing anything with. Gale figured that it might make for a cool video game plot, and the Data East bigwigs agreed.

    The plot involved magical ink that could grant certain hosts great power while the underserving would be transformed into gross mutants. A mighty warrior named Koldan got some of that ink tattooed onto him, making him really powerful, but it went to his head, and he became corrupt. Various worthy people were sought out and tattooed with the special ink to make them strong enough to defeat Koldan and his army of mutants.

    The magic tattoos are able to leave the warriors’ bodies and attack on their own in the forms of skeletons, snakes, dragons, spiders, etc. Not the worst idea. Kind of a trashy, Americanized version of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Plus, say what you will about the rest of the game, but there’s a neat kind of Who Framed Roger Rabbitdeal with the tattoo attacks, which are cartoonish and creative.

    We have our writer/director with name recognition. We have our concept. We have a foundation from Mortal Kombat. Data East put together a team of developers to finish the game. Presumably after having watched the Michael Keaton/George Wendt classic Gung-Ho, the Data East suits told the crew that if they were to have Tattoo Assassinsdone and ready within 9 months, they would each get a $25,000 bonus and other big perks, according to The Gameological Society. Company pressure over an unrealistic deadline eventually led to the plug being pulled on the game.

    That’s why I take issue when people claim that Tattoo Assassins was half-assed. It’s simply not true. They were really into the game for months. THEN half-assed it. Mathematically, it was more 3/4-assed. 2/3-assed at the very least.

    The game received just enough hype for people like myself to remember it over 20 years later. An extremely early build appeared at a convention, and flyers were released for the arcade machine along with a “Girls of Tattoo” poster featuring the three female characters together. 

    Most notable was a featured article in EGM2’s April 1995 issue. The 4-page story featured plenty of screen shots, character profiles, and the basic gist of what it was all about. Tattoo Assassins was going to out-Mortal KombatMortal Kombat! It had farts and “Nudalities” and that guy who did Back to the Future!

    Speaking of random pieces of name recognition, due to Data East putting together a Guns ‘n’ Roses pinball machine, they ended up getting Slash’s then-wife, Renee Hudson, to play the major role of...um...the select screen. You would pick your character through perusing around her naked back. Sure, why not.

    Of all the other digitized actors, they were mostly people whose careers never really took off, showing up in low-rent martial arts movies and Silk Stalkings and the like. The only big deal was former Oakland Raiders cheerleader Gretchen Stockdale, who played vengeful stripper Hannah Hart. If controversy creates cash, the game’s would-be release could have received at least a little bit of a boost considering Stockdale was a witness during the OJ Simpson trial. Yeah, the lady with the spider tattoo was one of OJ’s closest friends right around the time of the murder. Crazy.

    Even if they sidestepped that piece of headline news, they at least had Karla Keller. While it’s nothing new to see fighting games base their characters on real people, they’re usually ones with ties to fighting, such as Bruce Lee, Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, and so on. Karla – wielder of the deadly rose tattoo – was a take on Olympic figure skater and ambush victim Nancy Kerrigan, clad in ice skates. 

    Other fighters included AC Current, a cyber mercenary with a lightning bolt tattoo, on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Tak is a yakuza assassin with a double-headed dragon tattoo, on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Luke Cord is a Navy SEAL with an octopus tattoo, on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Then there’s Derek O’Toole, a skull-chested rocker who is...well...on the run for a crime he didn’t commit.

    Okay, so maybe Gale peaked with the initial tattoo gimmick.

    They aren’t all fugitives, though. The others are mostly out for revenge, including the aforementioned Hannah and Karla. Maya, a jungle warrior with a tiger tattoo, is out to stop greedy white dudes from tearing down her rainforest home. Billy Two Moons, with his phoenix tattoo, has the same thing going on, only he wants the government to stay away from his ancestors’ burial grounds. Billy Two Moons is probably the most cringe-worthy part of the game, mainly because of how his stereotype win pose – where he does a running man dance while going, “Hey-ya, hey-ya! Hey-ya, hey-ya!” – is pretty racist.

    Finally, there’s Truck Davis, also out for revenge, after his biker gang was killed by rivals. Rocking a snake theme, Truck is a bald, bearded brawler in a black vest, jeans, and celebrates his victories by drinking beer. Who knew that Data East’s failure of a game would feature the winning formula that would give pro wrestling its top character only a couple years later?

    The bosses include Rhyna, a large half-woman/half-rhinoceros, and Deke Kay, a shambling zombie and walking pun. Prizm is a morphing, crystal being with a skull inside, who is easily the coolest and most original design in the game. Last is Koldan the Conqueror, a clawed giant who appears to be unfinished due to having very little in terms of special moves. He doesn’t even have a gimmicky tattoo. 

    Rather than make the bosses naturally harder, the programmers just sped up their behaviors. It would make sense that the bosses would walk and attack faster than the player, but it also means that all of their physics are a step faster, such as their relation to gravity. Uppercut Deke Kay and he’ll be back on his feet before you can even recover. This also screws up Koldan’s otherwise badass death animation, where his flesh melts away and his skull explodes into the screen, cracking the glass upon impact. It ends up animating all too fast.

    Killing Koldan nets you the character’s ending in the form of a newspaper headline, explaining what becomes of them. You get stuff like Karla saying she’s going to Disneyland, a bad Photoshop of Billy threatening President Clinton, and Luke starring in an octopus-based sitcom called Eight Arms is Enough. If you can win the final round with a perfect, the newspaper story is a couple of sentences about how your character viciously slaughtered Koldan in a specific way. Coincidentally, the three women all have endings based on cutting his wang off. Because of course they do.

    Truck’s ending includes the line, “Truck then starts a brewery and uses his tattoo powers to make his product the #1 Beer in the World!” Not sure how having a living snake tattoo helps out in this situation, but I'm happy to see Truck succeed.

    Something I need to mention is this really bizarre thing that happens in the Tower between each match when you’re playing against the computer. You know how in the Mortal Kombat games they would show Shao Kahn or whatever final boss at the top of the Tower and then scroll down to the bottom as you gradually go up one opponent at a time? In Tattoo Assassins, Koldan appears as if you’re going to fight him after every match, but then he yells, “NOT!” and it scrolls down.

    Okay, so two things about this. First off, while that might be amusing or even clever the first time, Koldan pulls that shit every single time. Even if you’re going to actually fight Koldan!

    Second, even though Tattoo Assassins has ties to Mortal Kombat, Nancy Kerrigan, OJ Simpson, Bill Clinton, Slash, Lorena Bobbitt, and so on, having the final boss constantly go, “NOT!” is the most '90s thing imaginable in this schlocky game.

    Data East knew that they weren’t going to be making a game that played better than Mortal Kombatand, at best, all they could do was make a Xerox copy. Their strategy was to make Tattoo Assassins something that went further with everything else. Mortal Kombathad blood and punches to the balls? Tattoo Assassins had blood and punches to the balls and more! They couldn't beat them with substance, but perhaps they had a chance with style.

    For instance, every playable character has a fart attack and the ability to kill their enemy by spraying them with fiery diarrhea until they’re reduced to the world’s smelliest skeleton. Also, since Mortal Kombat flooded arcades and playgrounds with unfounded rumors about getting to see Sonya Blade’s boobs via code, Data East would make the idea of “Nudalities” a reality by giving everyone the ability to strip their opponent. Nothing graphic, mind you. Just a single frame of the actor or actress naked (with gloves and footwear at times), shivering due to the embarrassment or cold.

    The game also included Animalities, which at the time was another unfounded Mortal Kombat rumor. Mortal Kombat 3 would feature them though, in a different way. In Mortal Kombat 3, you could become an animal and maul your victim. In Tattoo Assassins, you would transform your opponent into some kind of animal. Years later, SNK vs. Capcom would include the same kind of gimmick whenever your character would lose a fight against Athena, the final boss.

    So let’s talk about the Fatalities. Giving credit where credit is due, there are some good Fatalities mixed in there, including some that are pretty gruesome, like Karla slicing her opponents in half with her ice skates, causing their guts to fall out. Everyone had a few Fatalities of their own, along with some that were based around their magic tattoos. Billy could summon his phoenix to fly over his enemy and melt them with flaming bird poop. Truck could devour his opponent with his giant snake tattoo. Tak had his two-headed dragon bite each end of his opponent and tear him/her. His tattoo also mutated into a smiling, two-headed Barney, which caused his enemies to keel over.

    Just another friendly reminder that this game was made in the '90s.

    The most notably bizarre one appears to be an already weird Fatality that got glitched into being something even weirder. The fighter bends over and poops out a turkey. Like, a cooked turkey on a plate. It then flies into the opponent and knocks him/her over. The turkey then multiplies and ricochets until you have about eight turkey dinners bouncing around, constantly hitting and juggling both fighters.

    You can also crush your opponent with a giant Burger Time burger, a nod to another Data East release. You can also run them over with a Delorean, a nod to Bob “I just want to reiterate that this man was behind one of the greatest cinematic trilogies of all time” Gale.

    All together, there are about 50-60 Fatalities, but Data East wanted to play up the whole quantity over quality angle. One version of the game claimed that the game had just over 200 Fatalities. Another claimed an exact 2196. That’s a total bullshit number, as you can probably guess. The way I see it, I’m pretty certain they were trying to count each combination of fighters as its own Fatality to beef it up. Like Truck shooting his victim with a shotgun actually counts nine times because it can be done against nine different people. Or maybe they were just straight up lying because they stopped caring.

    Even with the ginormous claim of Fatalities and everything else it swore to have going for it, Tattoo Assassins would never see the light of day. At first, even more competition rose from new fighters like Primal Rage and Killer Instinct. Hell, Primal Rage even ate their lunch by introducing fart moves and a urine-based Fatality. The brass wanted them to add some innovation, but the development team refused, wanting to just finish the game and wash their hands of the project.

    The final nail is actually the saddest part of the story to me because, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter that Tattoo Assassins was mediocre. Even if it was the second coming of Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, it was still going to be held under lock and key.

    At the end of 1994, SEGA bought out the U.S. part of Data East, mainly to attain all their pinball treasures. It was decided that they wanted to push Virtua Fighter so hard that any other SEGA-owned fighting game was only going to be seen as a distraction. Both Tattoo Assassins and the planned third installment of Eternal Champions were deep-sixed because God forbid we have more than one fighting game under the company’s roof.

    Meanwhile, Capcom and SNK shrugged and kept churning out as many fighting games as possible because they weren’t dicks.

    Only a few arcade cabinets were made and fewer survived after SEGA has most of them destroyed. Almost a decade later, someone got their hands on one of the prototypes and was able to yank out the rom and upload it to the internet. Since then, people have been playing it on MAME as a prime target of jabs as “the worst fighting game ever.”

    But does it really deserve that? Sure, it’s not all that great, but it does have its certain awkward charm. I don’t know if I’d even call it a guilty pleasure, but I do love the overwhelming absurdity built into the game. It’s just such a strange little ripple in video game history that almost was and probably shouldn’t have been to begin with. Tattoo Assassinsmay not have been original, but by God was it unique.

    Despite all of this, you know what blows my mind the most? Not the '90s references or ridiculous Fatalities or the tiny monk dressed in a diaper (I forgot to mention him, didn’t I?). No, it’s this.

    There could have been a Tattoo Assassins comic book! Sweet Jesus, that would have been amazing!

    Wait, Archie does all the SEGA comics these days, right? Somebody get them on the phone! I have a pitch about an Olympic figure skater who can crap out projectile turkey dinners!

    Gavin Jasper is very underwhelmed by the Sonic/Mega Man Worlds Unite crossover, because it won’t feature Truck Davis in any way. Cheer Gavin up by following him on Twitter.


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    There's a new Doom movie on the way from Universal and it will be shot in Bulgaria.

    News John Saavedra
    Apr 23, 2018

    Universal is making a new Doom movie. The news was first revealed by actress Nina Bergman (Assassin X) in a tweet.

    “Wow, I’m doing the next Doom movie with Universal Pictures!" wrote Bergman. "I just signed all the paperwork. I get to go back to Bulgaria again and work with some of my favorite people. This movie with a super cool director AND my new record coming out, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world."

    The movie will shoot in Bulgaria, according to Bergman. She did not hint at when the film would begin shooting or when it might be released. Variety confirmed that the movie is being handled by Universal 1440 Entertainment, a direct-to-distribution production company, which means that the new Doom could be a straight-to-DVD movie or perhaps released on a streaming service. 

    The classic '90s first-person shooter series, which was created by id Software, made its big screen debut in 2005 with a critically-panned film starring Dwayne Johnson, Karl Urban, and Rosamund Pike. That movie only made $56 million at the box office and holds a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

    Doom's 2016 video game revival fared much better. We even gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. Actually, now that it's been two years since Doom returned to consoles and PC, Bethesda might be gearing up to announce a sequel at E3... 2018 could very well be a big year for this shooter series. We'll keep you updated, of course!


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    Tim Schafer wants to dive deeper into his back catalog, but he needs Disney to give him the greenlight.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Tim Schafer, the legendary creator of adventure games like Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle, wants to bring more of those classic point-and-click adventure games back to the modern age. 

    "In some ways, it's up to Disney,"said Schafer to PC Gamer. "If they want to do that, obviously, and if the original creators want to be involved. That's what makes those remasters special, that the original creators came back and were able to say what to improve on, what to leave alone."

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    Schafer explained that, while he likes to devote most of his focus towards new games rather than the titles of the past, he does acknowledge that there is "some value in going back and looking at [classic games]." 

    For those keeping count at home, Schafer has already remastered some of his most beloved games. Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle,andGrim Fandango have all received modern-day upgrades. That really just leaves the Monkey Islandseries in terms of the "classic" Tim Schafer games awaiting a proper remaster. There was a Monkey Island Special Edition released in 2009, but that was developed by LucasArts. It's also possible that he is referring to the opportunity to help remaster some classic LucasArts adventures that he wasn't as directly involved with, such as Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

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    Schafer admits that he "lucked out" in terms of Disney giving him the greenlight to revisit those classic games under the Double Fine banner. While Schafer doesn't specifically mention Monkey Island as the series he would like to revisit, he did speak of the value of handling these remasters himself rather than letting another studio work on them. 

    "I got to make sure they were done right, and still be associated with the new versions of the game and not let someone else do that," said Schafer. "That was really important to me. So I'm glad we did that. I would like to own them someday, mostly just to make sure I can preserve them."

    Interestingly, Schafer noted that Full Throttle and Grim Fandango both sold very well. He also pointed out in the interview that the remaster of Grim Fandango outperformed the original release of the game. Perhaps Disney will listen and give Schafer the green light on more of these games. We'll keep you updated!


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    Does the acquisition of the team behind Firewatch represent a return to single-player gaming for Valve?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Valve has somewhat surprisingly acquired Firewatch developer, Campo Santo. 

    "The twelve of us at Campo Santo have agreed to join Valve, where we will maintain our jobs as video game developers and continue production on our current project, In the Valley of Gods," said Campo Santo in a blog post on their website. "In Valve we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match."

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    While a company like Valve acquiring a popular indie studio like Campo Santo wouldn't normally be that big of a deal, it's an especially big deal in this instance because Valve's recent history with single-player games is something of a running joke. The studio used to be known as one of the best single-player game developers of all-time, but it's been quite a few years since it released a high-profile single-player title. 

    However, this is absolutely the kind of move that Valve would have made in its "glory days." From Counter-Strike to Portal and Left 4 Dead, many of Valve's most notable titles originated from its decision to acquire a studio or developers with a great idea. Could this acquisition represent a return to gaming for the studio behind Steam?

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    Campo Santo certainly seems to believe that could be the case. In fact, the developer believes its on the same page with Valve. 

    "We had a series of long conversations with the people at Valve and everyone shared the satisfaction we take in working with people whose talents dwarf our own to make things we never thought possible," said Campo Santo. "Both sides spoke about our values and how, when you get right down to it, we, as human beings, are hard-limited by the time we have left when it comes to making the things we care about and believe in. They asked us if we’d all be interested in coming up to Bellevue and doing that there and we said yes."

    Campo Santo's next game, In the Valley of Gods, doesn't have a release date, but it's not expected to be available until 2019 at the earliest. 


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    The man many considered to be the face of Hearthstone is moving on to new projects.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Hearthstone game director Ben Brode has shockingly announced that he is leaving Blizzard after 15 years with the legendary studio. 

    "After 15 years at Blizzard and almost 10 years working on Hearthstone, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to embark on a new journey,"said Brode on the Blizzard forums. "I am very fortunate to be able to take a crazy risk right now in my life, and I’m excited to be scrappy and a little scared. I’m going to help start a new company. We’ll probably make games, but we haven’t figured anything else out, yet. I’m looking forward to designing, programming, and actually creating things again. I’m going to miss the on-campus Starbucks, though. Dang."

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    The Hearthstone community has taken this news to heart. Ben Brode has long been the "face" of Hearthstone. He's usually the first person to reveal a new expansion for the game, and his annual Blizzcon presentations are consistently among the most entertaining. He's famous for his contagious laughter which is usually on full display during the reveal stream for a new Hearthstone expansion. 

    Brode is certainly aware of his status in the Hearthstone community and wants fans to know that while he may be leaving, Hearthstone should remain as great as ever. 

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    "I get too much credit by virtue of being a public face, but the 80+ people on the development team are still there, and they are the ones actually making the cards, brawls, events, missions, and features," said Brode. "I am confident the game is in the best possible hands, and I’m excited to see where a new generation of leaders takes Hearthstone from here."

    This news is made all the more intriguing by Hearthstone executive producer Hamilton Chu's recent decision to also leave Blizzard. The current theory is that the two are going to work on a new CCG game. Some believe they might join an existing CCG project - such as the one a tiny company named Valve is working on - but those reports are unconfirmed at this time. 

    We recently had the opportunity to talk to Brode at PAX East about the latest Hearthstone expansion and will certainly miss being able to do so again whenever the next Hearthstone release hits. 


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    The Legend of Bum-bo may be a prequel, but it completely changes The Binding of Issac's formula. Check out its debut trailer!

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    The Legend of Bum-bo, the prequel to The Binding of Issac, finally has an official gameplay trailer.

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    While Bum-bo shares some of The Binding of Issac's visual trademarks- many items and enemies look exactly the same - this is an entirely different game. Described as a "randomly generated,turn-based puzzle rpg,"Bum-bo is a much more tactical affair than the twitch-based Binding of Issac. Basically, each battle begins with Bum-bo opening his bag of trash and forming glyphs using a "match 4 puzzle system." These glyphs allow the player to access a variety of spells. Bum-bo also seems capable of dishing out some melee damage as he sees fit. 

    The biggest thing that Bum-bo shares with Binding of Issac is the latter's randomly generated content. That should help keep thinks unpredictable as well as help creator Edmund McMillen exercise his creativity. Indeed, McMillen already stated that the variety of spells in the game include everything from a rusty fish hook to summoning your mom's legs to crush your enemies. 

    McMillen also raises some doubts regarding the game's exact relation to Binding of Issac by saying that he "like[s] to call it a prequel" but that he can't really explain the full meaning of that term without spoiling the game. However, he assures you that if you enjoyed Issac, you will find something to like in this different take on that game's universe. 

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    Bum-bo is certainly different. It's easy to look at it as the Paper Mario take on Binding of Issac, but the initial footage included in the above trailer seems to suggest that McMillen really is trying to retain some classic elements of Binding of Issac while completely altering the core gameplay. That's an ambitious goal, but things look to be progressing quite nicely. 

    McMillen plans on releasing Bum-bo later this year for iOS and PC. A Switch version of the game is expected to release later this year. 


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    Fortnite is just the latest title to join this school's growing esports program.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Ashland University of Ohio has announced that they are now offering scholarships to exceptional Fortnite players. 

    Actually, the school stated that they are forming an esports program which they believe to be the "first known collegiate esports program in the country." Fortnite just so happens to be one of the games on the school's list of collegiate esports titles. Other games in that program include League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO, and Rocket League

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    "Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience," said the school's esports head coach, Josh Buchanan. "We're excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills." 

    How serious is the school about this program? Pretty serious. They've already approved the construction of a gaming center in the school's library - where we sincerely hope they will not disturb the other students - and are building 25 gaming stations equipped with high-end PCs and all necessary peripherals. Those who think they might have a chance of snagging one of the college's $4000 scholarships can apply for one via this recruitment form. 

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    Before you start yelling at your phone/monitor/applicable viewing device about the absurdity of this announcement, consider the possibility that it might actually be a pretty savvy move. 

    Like it or not, many colleges rely on revenue generated from sports to keep the whole collegiate machine rolling. A smaller school like Ashland - which appears to focus on several sports programs - might actually do well to get in on that esports money by offering young players - who make up the majority of esports rosters - the chance to get an education while playing their favorite games. 

    So, yes, it's a little silly that you could go to college off the back of your Fortnite skills, but is it any crazier than getting to go to college because you can throw a ball really hard? 


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    This abandoned Mario Kart title would have been all about custom kart creations.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    It seems that there is a lost Mario Kart game for Nintendo DS that would have allowed players to create their own engines. Eurogamer was at the Reboot Develop Conference where Seaman creator Yoot Saito talked about his work on the abandoned Mario Kart game.

    Known as Mario Motors, the "gimmick" of this game was that it let players use the DS stylus to shape metal and ultimately create their own cars/engines. He formally pitched the idea to Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata, who both loved the concept and asked that he start work on it. 

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    Saito claims that the capabilities of the DS were used to their full advantage in Mario Motors. Along with allowing players to craft their own engines, the game would have allowed fans to blow into the DS microphone in order to give extra power to their engines. However, that idea was ultimately scrapped when someone realized that might cause children to blow into their handhelds until they literally run out of breath. 

    As for why the entire project was eventually canceled, Saito remained coy on the subject. It seems that there was a reason, but he noted that it was very confidential and that we would have to guess why Nintendo decided to cancel the project. Well, that's just what we're here to do. 

    Based on what Saito showed of Mario Motors, it seems that the final project was less of a dedicated racing game and more of an interactive series of instructions on the functionality of motors. The demos and screenshots revealed that it was surprisingly involved in terms of how players could interact with the engines and how much real-life engine knowledge they needed in order to get the cars to work properly. 

    If we had to guess, Nintendo probably wondered if the idea could work as an addition to the Mario Kart DS game and not as a separate project. After seeing how involved it was, the Big N might have decided to pass on it rather than complicate the Mario Kart formula. Saito even admitted the idea appealed to a "middle-aged guy like me."

    However, Saito has fond memories of working with Iwata and Miyamoto. He even says that it was his wish for a device that would have allowed him to covertly talk to his high school crush that helped lead to the creation of StreetPass. 


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    Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream claims that these reports are part of a smear campaign.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Quantic Dream, maker of Detroit: Become Human, is suing French newspaper Le Monde over reports on the toxic working conditions at the studio. Kotaku reports that both Le Monde and its subsidiary website, Meiapart, are included in the lawsuit over a report in which they state that five former Quantic Dream employees filed a complaint against the studio in Spring 2017 against one employee in particular.

    It seems that a Quantic Dream IT manager discovered over 600 Photoshop images of various employees that were described as sexist and homophobic. The images dated as far back as 2013 and some of them were reportedly openly displayed at the offices. 

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    At the same time, studio heads David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière claimed that they did not know about the images. However, a 2017 e-mail insinuated that de Fondaumière did know about the images and seemed to state that they were a mistake. The allegation in question went beyond those images, though, and included general instances of a toxic work environment.

    A Kotaku reporter tried to ask Cage at a recent Detroit: Become Human event whether or not there was a lawsuit going on and what the details of it were. The question was shut down by a Sony representative, but Cage reportedly stated that they were "suing the journalists." 

    William Audureau, a journalist for Le Monde, confirmed to Kotaku that he was managing paperwork related to the Quantic Dream lawsuit but was not able to elaborate on the situation due to the nature of the legal process. However, he is saying that he stands by the report they ran.

    Quantic Dream seems to believe otherwise. The basis of the company's lawsuit seems to dispute the nature of the reports and the information gathered as part of it. Quantic claims that it was a smear campaign against the studio and has reportedly sent threatening letters to outlets that also ran the initial report. However, not all of those outlets are being sued. 

    It seems that Le Monde will now have to legally prove that the information it published was handled fairly and accurately. The newspaper will need to demonstrate research thoroughness and prove that it tried to cover this story from all appropriate angles. That includes comments from Quantic Dream senior employees which were included in the original article. 


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    The first season of The Witcher might be shorter than anticipated, but the show's writer claims that's not a bad thing.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Netflix has begun production of a series based on author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher books. 

    To clarify that statement a bit more, the upcoming Netflix series will be based on the original Witcher novels and is not directly related to the CD Projekt Red video game franchise aside from the similarities that the two naturally share. 

    That fact adds a slightly humorous twist to this announcement when you consider that Sapkowski recently spoke out against the artistic merit of the Witcher game saga by calling into question the medium's ability to properly tell such a grand story. Before that, Sapkowski also admitted that he chose not to take a percentage for the adaptation rights, which he later came to regret when the series went on to gross over a billion dollars. 

    Apparently, the author has worked out a much better deal for the Netflix series, as he spoke quite fondly about the upcoming adaptation in the official press release

    "I'm thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories," said Sapkowski. "...staying true to the source material and themes that I have spent over 30 years writing. I'm excited about our efforts together as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life."

    While The Witcher games do take some liberties with the source material, this series should feature quite a few familiar faces and storylines. We should know much more once the cast is in place.

    Here's everything we know about The Witcher TV series thus far:

    The Witcher News

    Netflix's adaptation of The Witcher will reportedly start with an eight-episode first season. 

    Lauren S. Hissrich, a writer working on the adaptation, confirmed the eight-episode first season on Twitter while addressing concerns that eight episodes aren't enough. Hissrich states that the smaller season allows the team to produce "tight, action-packed" episodes that are free of lagging story moments. She also states that the decision is not representative of any lack of faith in the series or any other financial concerns. 

    The episodes will each be about an hour long - though Hissrich claims there might be a little variation in each episode's runtime - and that the show is being filmed in Eastern Europe. However, it seems that most of the episodes haven't been formally written as of yet and exist only as ideas. 

    Hissrich suggests that the show might air as soon as 2020, but that hasn't been confirmed at this time. 

    The Witcher Crew

    To run the series, Netflix has brought on Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, writer and executive producer for other successful Netflix properties Daredevil and The Defenders. Hissrich joins the previously announced producing team of Sean Daniel (The Mummy) and Jason Brown (The Expanse).

    Tomek Baginski, the man who directed the cinematics for the Witcher games, will also be involved with the project.


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    Night Trap, one of the worst and most controversial games ever, will soon be available for Nintendo Switch.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    Howard Lincoln, former chairman of Nintendo of America, once stated that the 1993 exploitation title Night Trap will never appear on a Nintendo system. Well, 25 years later, Night Trap is scheduled for release on the Nintendo Switch.

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    Limited Run Games announced on Twitter that they and developer Screaming Villains are bringing Night Trap to the Nintendo Switch sometime this summer. They even have a little fun with Lincoln's quote by stating "Never say never" in both the tweet and the game's Switch announcement trailer. 

    There's no word on what special features or enhancements the Switch version of Night Trap might feature, but if previous re-releases of the game are any indication, then you shouldn't expect much more from the game's Switch version than the opportunity to play Night Trap. Instead, this game's impending release is notable solely because Night Trap will finally appear on a Nintendo system. 

    Is this the first time you've ever heard of Night Trap, and you're suddenly wondering what the big deal is? Oh, have we got a story to share with you. 

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    Night Trap was released at the outset of the great debate regarding violence in video games that took place in the early '90s. The game itself wasn't much of a game at all. It was a series of live-action scenes that featured scantily clad women, vampires, special operatives, and some truly awful acting. What little gameplay there is in Night Trap mostly consists of activating trap doors and switching between cameras. 

    At the time of its release, Night Trap was considered to be one of the most deplorable video games ever made. While outright tame by today's standards, Night Trap's use of live-action footage made it a prime target for anyone who thought that video games inspired real-life violence. Indeed, Howard Lincoln once called the game out for promoting "violence against women" and said that the title "has no place in our society."

    Night Trap is one of the few truly awful games that you probably need to experience at some point in your life. It's an unbelievably bad game that perfectly represents the awful era of FMV gaming. 


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    In an emotional video, God of War's Cory Barlog reacts to the praise his game has received.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 23, 2018

    God of War director Cory Barlog uploaded a video in which he reacts to the overwhelmingly positive review scores that his new game has received. 

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    In the video above, we get to see Barlog experience a very genuine - and genuinely heartwarming - reaction to the news that God of War achieved an astonishing 94 Metacritic score based on the title's initial reviews. Barlog admits that the review scores "shouldn't matter," but that he's incredibly proud of the game and the work that the team put into it. 

    “A lot of people put a lot of work, and a lot of faith, and uh, I’m just so lucky to work with the people that I work with,” said Barlog shortly before he thanks much of the game's staff. 

    Barlog has a fascinating reason for uploading this video at all. He says that his son, Helo, is currently struggling to be around people when he's feeling sad or emotional. Barlog wants to teach his son that it's ok to feel emotional and cry and that there's no need to hide it from people. As such, he hopes that giving his son a chance to see him experience such a genuine moment of emotion will prove that there's nothing wrong with having such feelings. 

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    That's certainly a noble goal, but one of the great benefits of this video is the way that it shows people the human side of video games. Even high-profile creative figures like Barlog don't really get the kind of attention that film directors and musicians sometimes receive. They become these shapeless faces hidden behind a brand or logo. Videos like this show the humanity behind our favorite games and why our reactions to a title do have meaning to those who worked on them. 

    What's really impressive is that God of War's Metacritic review score has only gone up since this video was released. It currently sits at a 95 overall critic score on the review aggregate site and at a 9.2 overall user score. We heaped our own praise on God of War in our recent review by suggesting that it might just be the PlayStation 4's best game and is certainly some kind of masterpiece. 

    Long story short...you really need to play God of War as soon as possible. 


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    The cold-hearted assassin from Neo Shadaloo makes her Street Fighter debut today. Watch her stick it to the competition.

    News Gavin Jasper
    Apr 24, 2018

    Right now, Street Fighter V– recently rebranded as Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition– is knee-deep into its third season of DLC. Sakura and Blanka have been added to the game and that leaves two returning warriors and two newbies. One of those newbies hits the scene today. It’s time to get acquainted with Falke.

    Falke made a teaser of a first appearance in the final cutscene in Ed’s story mode. Ed, being a stylistic hybrid of M. Bison and Balrog, takes Bison’s mantle as the leader of a revised Shadaloo. It’s a new take on the old terrorist organization as Ed’s henchmen are revealed to be a lanky man with a hair/beard combo so outlandish that it makes his head look like a pie, a gorilla with glowing eyes, and Falke. The Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition intro movie shows her as Ed’s right-hand woman.

    According to Capcom, Falke was another Shadaloo experiment, built as a possible host body for M. Bison’s soul, much like Ed, Seth, Abel, Cammy, and all the other Dolls. Ed helped her escape her fate as one of Bison’s tools, and since then, the two have had a sibling-like bond. She too is able to wield Psycho Power and transmits it through her staff.

    Here’s some footage of her in action, coming off as somewhat similar to memorable Street Fighter villain Rolento. Much like Ed, her moves are based on mixing and matching punch and kick buttons instead of pulling off directional inputs.

    She’ll be available for $5.99 alone or $29.99 as part of the Season Three Pack. The remaining fighters left to be introduced this season include Cody, G, and Sagat. Looks like they’re saving the best for last.

    Gavin Jasper wonders if Anthony Perkins could have mastered Psycho Power. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    Strange Brigade arrives on August 28! Here's a new story trailer...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Apr 24, 2018

    Sniper Elite development team Rebellion has revealed the latest supernatural addition to the series. Strange Brigade will take players to the "remote corners of the British Empire" where they will the need to combat various supernatural forces with the help of firearms, explosives, and good ole' melee attacks. 

    Much like the Nazi Zombie Army series, Strange Brigade is a 1-4 player shooter experience that emphasizes co-op gameplay. Basically, you should be thinking of Left 4 Deadwhen imagining the kind of chaotic gameplay this title will surely offer. 

    Strange Brigade distinguishes itself from the co-op shooter pack with its serial adventure inspired universe that seems to take more cues from the Universal monster movies than George Romero. The brief reveal trailer for the game reveals what appears to be ancient Egyptian mythological monsters, cave-dwelling creatures, and other guardians of legend who look a tad bit more formidable than the average member of the walking dead.

    Here's everything else you need to know:

    Strange Brigade Release Date

    Strange Brigade will launch on August 28, 2018. The game is coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

    Strange Brigade Trailer

    Check out the new story trailer below:

    Here is the first trailer for Strange Brigade:

    And here are 14 minutes of gameplay:


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  • 04/24/18--11:44: The Swords of Ditto Review
  • Every 100 years in The Swords of Ditto, a hero rises. Should you answer the call? Here is our review...

    Release Date: April 24, 2018
    Platform: PS4, PC (Reviewed)
    Developer: onebitbeyond
    Publisher: Devolver Digital
    Genre: Action/Adventure

    In The Swords of Ditto, you play a hero of destiny who is tasked with taking down the evil sorcerer Mormo and saving the world. Then you die quickly and without honor. After that, you play a hero of destiny whose is tasked with taking down the evil sorcerer Mormo and saving the world. Then you die quickly and without honor.

    And so on, and so on, and so on...

    That may not sound like the typical tale of a mythical video game hero, but that’s because Swords of Ditto isn’t the typical adventure story. Instead, it’s a new roguelike from developer onebitbeyond and publisher Devolver Digital in which you control the lineage of heroes of destiny across untold millennia.

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    Here’s how it works: you begin the game as the latest hero in the chain, but you’re beaten rather quickly by Mormo. You then flash-forward 100 years later to the next hero in line - a randomly generated character - who must find the previous hero’s body. Once you do, you gain the previous hero's sword, equipment, knowledge, and skills. From there, you have just four in-game days to ready for the conflict against Mormo.

    There is a time manipulation element in the game in the form of an item that allows you to extend your current character’s run (each one otherwise lasts about an hour in real-time), but ultimately, every hero does get just one life. That might sound like a strange mechanic, but if you think about it, that’s pretty much how roguelikes work. This is just a more overt version of that core concept of "permadeath."

    The death and resurrection mechanic does occasionally manifest itself in interesting ways - it’s particularly great to see whether your hero was buried unceremoniously or given a grand memorial of honor - but that element of the game actually ends up being somewhat underwhelming. The problem with Swords of Ditto’s resurrection system is that every character ends up feeling basically the same.

    In Rogue Legacy - a game that utilized a similar lineage concept - every new hero you played as came with some kind of unique physical or personality trait. Some were very small, some were big, some could only see in sepia tone, some would launch into berzerk rages, etc.

    Swords of Ditto doesn’t really have anything like that as it relates to your new hero. You pretty much pick up exactly where the last hero left off, plus or minus a few consumable items. While this system couldn’t have worked if you had to start from scratch each time, it feels like a little more effort could have been made to distinguish these heroes beyond their physical appearance. Granted, it’s sad to watch your little hero fall, but mechanically speaking, this system leaves something to be desired.

    The concept of having to take down Mormo in a certain amount of time fares a bit better. Maximizing the value of each life really comes down to time management. For your first few heroes, you might want to grind some levels, bump up your stats, buy some stickers (which enable new skills and upgrades), and purchase some of the legendary toys that carry over from hero to hero. Beyond that, it’s time for quests, dungeon exploration, and other more involved tasks. 

    While not nearly as deep as Majora’s Mask, the limited time mechanic does lead to you trying to figure out how to maximize every minute of the game. It doesn’t make things “stressful,” but it does make it feel like your every action and decision matters. What stress there is in the game comes from the bond you form with your current hero and your desire to not want to go through the resurrection process again. Generally speaking, though, the system does a good job of adding the necessary levels of tension that every great roguelike experience relies on. 

    Speaking of Zelda, it should certainly be noted that Swords of Ditto unabashedly - and sometimes humorously overtly - copies the formula of old-school Zelda games (most noticeably A Link to the Past). Some items are similar (including a kazoo that lets you travel between various points) and dungeon puzzles are eerily reminiscent of those seen in classic Zelda games. Impressively, those dungeons - and the map in general - are randomized every time that you come back to life. The randomization does help each run feel a bit fresher than it would otherwise, and the design of the dungeons remains consistently amusing no matter what random layout you may encounter. Meanwhile, the game’s hack and slash gameplay will surely speak to the heart of any old-school Zelda fan.

    Well...for a time, anyway. Swords of Ditto’s combat is far from bad - it’s occasionally quite good when you manage to upgrade your character’s skills enough and must deal with a variety of enemies - but it can start to feel monotonous. The game relies a bit too much on combat for leveling your character, which tends to be an issue given how important it is to build your character up over generations. I’d often find myself hacking and slashing every enemy and patch of grass for XP and resources, which wasn’t always the most amusing way to spend my four days in the world. However, the Zelda-like dungeons, town design, and inventory systems generally manage to do their jobs quite well. In a world devoid of a new classically styled Zelda experience, Swords of Ditto’s core gameplay does fill a void.

    Yet, the game’s greatest feature isn’t its roguelike resurrections or the memories of Zelda it invokes. That honor belongs to the game’s art style.

    Swords of Ditto’s visuals borrow heavily from Adventure Time. Much like that series, everything in this game is bright, colorful, and bizarre. Human characters interact with obscure monstrosities without comment and childish concepts of how “adulting” works - such as the toy store containing legendary equipment - rule the day.

    It’s fantastic. Swords of Ditto is designed to put a smile on your face, and it rarely fails to do so. Every character feels like it was carefully considered, the random environments shockingly all work together quite well, and the game’s soundtrack is a rare combination of grand and charming that I can only describe with the term “whimsical epic.” It’s easy to compare Swords of Ditto’s style to other pieces of entertainment, but much like Cuphead, it’s more about how the developers managed to form such a cohesive and constantly enjoyable world from that slightly familiar style.

    The smile Swords of Ditto invokes is even more pronounced when you play the game in co-op. While I’d stop just short of saying that it feels like Swords of Ditto was made for local co-op, playing with a friend does help alleviate some of the repetitiveness of the combat and allows the both of you to gawk at the various visual and sound details spread throughout this adventure.

    The joy of that co-op mode makes it that much easier to realize that The Swords of Ditto isn’t an epic adventure in the tradition of Zelda, it’s just a really good time. It’s hard not to look past the ways the game could have been better - especially as it relates to the game's resurrection system - but what we ultimately end up with is an impossibly charming hack-and-slash that compels you to experience the game's world over and over again.  

    3.5/5
    ReviewMatthew Byrd
    Apr 24, 2018

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    A good headset is pivotal for the ultimate gaming experience. Here's why Logitech G's Pro Gaming Headset has what you need!

    News Den of Geek Commerce
    Apr 24, 2018

    Logitech G’s Pro series offers exceptional hardware with a competitive edge that eSports athletes crave. And now, for the first time ever, a Logitech G headset joins the professional-grade Pro series line-up. Designed and built with high-end materials and next-gen technologies, and fashioned in collaboration with the world’s top eSports pros, Logitech G’s Pro Gaming Headset not only enjoys superior audio, it’s also incredibly comfortable, lightweight, and durable.

    The Pro Gaming Headset’s crystal-clear sound is made possible by the Pro-G drivers with patent-pending hybrid mesh materials. Voice chat with your teammates comes through loud and clear, gunshots register with startling accuracy, and enemy footsteps can be heard from all around, letting you lock down your opponents’ locations with ease. Plus, in-game sounds and effects come with heart-pounding bass and razor-sharp highs, and all without the distortion that so often occurs on competitor’s headsets.

    The Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset also comes stock with compatibility for Windows 10 surround sound features, such as Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic. What’s all that translate into? Simple: unmatched directional audio that gives you honed-in awareness of everything that’s happening in your games.

    For talking to your teammates, the professional-grade condenser mic has you covered. It’s easily detachable when not in use, has a low signal-to-noise ratio with heightened sensitivity, and uses a full-size pop filter to minimize external interference with important team communications.

    As crucial as high-quality audio is, a headset needs to be comfortable as well, especially for extended gaming sessions where a distraction can mean life or death. Based on that axiom, the Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset houses a pair of premium leatherette ear-pads, as well as a pair of optional micro-suede ear pads. Constructed with soft foam padding on the inside, the ear pads not only cushion your head, but seal around your ears to provide passive noise isolation—up to 50% more sound isolation than traditional ear pads. Connecting everything together is a super lightweight yet equally stable casing, which consists of a polymer shell, a TR90 nylon headband, stainless-steel adjustable sliders, and nylon joints supported by glass fiber.

    Available for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, you can pick up Logitech G’s Pro Gaming Headset now.


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    What would happen if you put the Avengers in a Final Fantasy game? Well, if Thanos is around, nothing good...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 24, 2018

    In a world devoid of truly great modern Marvel video games, the Japanese Avengers Twitter account has given us the Final Fantasy/Avengers crossover that gamers everywhere deserve. 

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    It's strange to see such an impressive piece of custom animation come from an official Twitter account - we usually see such things from talented fans with perhaps a bit too much time on their hands - but what's truly impressive is how well this crossover works. Granted, it pretty much consists of some Avengers sprites wandering the woods and battling Thanos, but we'd absolutely play this game if given the chance to do so. 

    There's also something quite amusing about how easily Thanos deals with the pitiful heroes who dare challenge him. We don't know if that's an accurate preview of the upcoming film, but the screaming power-hungry Thanos does make for a pretty great Final Fantasy boss. He's not exactly the second coming of Sephiroth, but it's easy enough to see how the mad titan could easily slide into a Final Fantasy game and cause the appropriate amounts of epic havoc in the grand tradition of Final Fantasy foes. 

    If you're really a conspiracy nut, you could read something into the fact that Square Enix is making an Avengers game and Square Enix so happens to be the studio responsible for Final Fantasy. However, we're guessing that association is more of a cheerful coincidence than any preview of what the studio is currently working on. 

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    Still, it would be nice to get a proper Marvel RPG at some point in the future. Aside from an obscure tabletop game released in the mid-'80s - which we'd really like to find a copy of - there hasn't been a proper Marvel role-playing game of note. Titles like X-Men Legends and Ultimate Alliance featured action-RPG elements, but they didn't quite scratch the itch for an epic adventure starring some of the greatest heroes and villains in fiction. 

    Don't hold your breath for an Avengers RPG from Square Enix, but that doesn't mean that we might not see a proper Marvel RPG from some studio sometime in the future. 


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    The largest PUBG tournament to date might just be the most notable esports event of the summer.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 24, 2018

    The PUBG Global Invitational 2018 will see 20 of the top PUBG teams in the world meet in Berlin and fight for their share of a $2 million prize pool.  

    Billed as "the first major PUBG esports tournament officially hosted by PUBG Corp," this invitational tournament figures to be the largest PUBG tournament to date in terms of size, prize pool, and the quality of competition. The teams that will take part in the momentous tournament will be determined via a series of regional qualifiers that will be held in North America, Europe, and Asia in July. Every qualifier competition will utilize a four-man squad set-up and will feature separate brackets for first and third-person gameplay.  

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    As the first official tournament hosted by PUBG Corp, expectations are high for this competition. That includes the expectations of PUBG Corp themselves who described this tournament as a "landmark moment" for the company. Their goal is to ensure that the qualifiers result in the absolute best squads joining the competition. By doing so, the studio hopes the tournament itself will help showcase the absolute best PUBG gameplay. 

    The PUBG Global Invitational 2018 is expected to run from July 25-29. We should know more about how the format of the actual tournament will work once we know which teams will attend the competition. 

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    This isn't the first PUBG tournament ever, but PUBG Corp is quite right to bill it as something of a turning point for the company and for PUBG as an esport. We'd be lying if we said that PUBG is a currently a major player on the esports scene. Previous tournaments featuring the game have been exciting, but they suffered from the chaotic nature of the game itself which made it incredibly difficult to keep up with what every player and team was doing. 

    Fortunately, the PUBG team have recently made some changes to the game that should help the seemingly simple act of watching a PUBG match. Tournament commentators and producers should be able to access a free-form camera that allows them to scan the battlefield as well as a much-improved replay system that will allow viewers to see what happened to that team that was just alive minutes ago. 


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