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(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)
(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)

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    Radical Heights creator Cliff Bleszinski has accused his former studio, Epic Games, of poaching his staff.

    News John Saavedra
    Apr 18, 2018

    Radical Heights creator Cliff Bleszinski has accused Epic Games, his former studio, of poaching his staff. Bleszinski, who worked on Unreal Tournament and Gears of War while at Epic, sent out a Tweet last Friday asking the studio to "stop trying to hire away my team."

    Bleszinski continued, "We just launched Radical Heights on [Unreal Engine 4] and are really happy with how it’s going."

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    Bleszinski parted ways with Epic Games in 2012, just a few months after the studio announced the battle royale phenomenon Fortnite, and went on to found Boss Key Productions. His new studio's first project was the online multiplayer shooter LawBreakers, which failed to gain an audience - something Bleszinski blamed the success of PUBG for

    Ironically, Boss Key's new project is Radical Heights, a battle royale game in the style of PUBG and Fortnite. The game, which is described as "a passion project" for Boss Key, is now in very early access on Steam.

    Bleszinski explained on Twitter that the studio has some unique ideas for how to make Radical Heights stand out among the competition, but that Epic is trying to stifle that by poaching his staff.

    "There's room at this genre for more than a few games," said Bleszkinski. "We have plenty of ways to make it our own but they may never see the light of day if they keep doing this."

    Boss Key co-founder Arjan Brussee recently left for Epic to work on Fortnitemobile. Just last month, another member of the Boss Key team, William McCarroll, joined Epic. McCarroll replied to Bleszinski's tweets, saying that Epic wasn't necessarily reaching out to the Boss Key staff but that Bleszinski's employees were moving on. 

    "With all due respect, assuming that Epic is the one starting contact/poaching is a bit presumptuous," said McCarroll. "We all had our own reasons for making the choice to leave BKP for Epic, and to act like we are commodities being stolen is a bit hurtful. We are people first and foremost."

    It remains to be seen whether Radical Heights will be able to compete with Fortnite or PUBG in a genre that seems to be ruled by two games with little room for a third. Other battle royale games, such as H1Z1 and The Culling, haven't really made dents in Fortnite or PUBG's audiences.

    There's still a lot of work to be done on Radical Heights, which was released to Steam early access only five months into development. What we've seen so far looks promising but far from finished. We'll just have to wait and see if Bleszinski and his team can pull the upset.

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    It's been years since Halo has officially been playable on PC, but this mod offers an alternative.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    Modders are working to make Halo Online playable for PC gamers everywhere.

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    Around the time that Halo 5 was released, 343 Industries released a PC version of Halo's multiplayer called Halo Online. Sadly, that version of the game was only available in Russia and was canceled in 2016. The original purpose of the project's limited release is not entirely clear at this time. 

    What is clear is that a version of Halo Online was leaked onto the internet via 4chan and was quickly adopted by modders who wanted to turn it into the global way for PC fans to finally be able to play some Halo multiplayer in the modern age. The project was dubbed "ElDewrito." Work on the mod was coming along nicely, but things hit a snag when some of those involved with the project jumped onto another Halo mod that ultimately failed.

    Recently, though, another group took over ElDewrito and have revealed that they've made tremendous progress. In a post on the ElDewrito blog, the team outlines some of the progress that they've made. There's quite a bit of information to digest, but the long and short of it is that the new version of the project features popular Halo 3maps Valhalla and Guardian, a host of fan-made maps, and is entirely open source (meaning that anyone can contribute to it). Best of all, it's absolutely free to download.

    What's the catch? Well, that depends on how you look at the situation. To be certain, ElDewrito isn't a professionally made PC version of Halo multiplayer for PC. It's a little rough around the edges in spots and might always be qualified as a work in progress. However, the mod makes good on its promise to allow gamers to experience Halo multiplayer on PC for the first time in years.

    There's also the questionable legality of the mod. No, it's not technically illegal to download ElDewrito, but there's always the possibility that Microsoft will shut it down at some point. That possibility grows stronger when you consider that Halo 6 is definitely on its way.

    For now, though, you can download ElDewrito here. However, the 0.6 update mentioned in the blog post won't be available until April 20. 

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    There's no running away from your choices in Insomnia's unforgiving world.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    Insomnia: The Arkis an upcoming Action/RPG title that fans of BioShock and other atmospheric adventures might want to keep an eye on. 

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    Developed by Mono Studio, Insomnia takes place in a futuristic metropolis known as Object 6. Players assume the role of an individual who has recently learned that they suffer from a rare psychological disorder. They must explore the darkest reaches of this futuristic planet in order to find a cure. 

    As you might imagine, finding a cure is a bit more complicated than a simple trip to the local pharmacy. The path between the player's start and their goal is filled with various types of enemies and other obstacles designed to prevent them from finding a cure. According to the game's Steam page, those obstacles will be complicated by various "points of no return" in the game's story. What that means is that there are certain choices you'll make in the game's story which cannot be undone. At present, it seems that players will not be notified when they have reached one of these points. You'll just need to commit to your choices.

    The good news is that you'll be able to enjoy the game's rich world no matter what choices you make. Insomnia's future is described as a noir society filled with dieselpunk influences. What civilization remains has been poorly constructed by colonists and survivors. A Jazz soundtrack provides the beat to your steps while neon signs beckon you to visit local diners. The whole thing reminds us of what might happen if you mixed Fallout and Cowboy Bebop. That is to say that it's really cool. 

    Insomnia's action remains a bit more mysterious. It looks like it will utilize a kind of third-person action system, but the complexity of the game's narrative choices leads us to believe that there is probably a lot more to the duck and cover gameplay featured in the trailer that we just haven't seen yet. Nevertheless, we're going to have to wait and see regarding just how deep this game's action is.

    For the moment, though, it's easy to recommend keeping up with this title by virtue of its world design alone. We should know much more about Insomnia as it nears its mysterious 2018 release date. 

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    Monster Hunter World next update is a large-scale raid with a lot of loot.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    The next Monster Hunter World update will add a large multi-man raid to the game. 

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    Siege of Kulve Taroth will let four groups of four hunters embark on an epic new quest to take down an elder dragon, Kulve Taroth. While it's described as a 16-man adventure, it turns out that the actual raid is much larger than that. 

    "As each hunting party collects more tracks and breaks off more parts from attacking Kulve Taroth, they’ll contribute progress to the same Siege," says Capcom in the update's official description. "The primary goal of this Siege is to repel Kulve Taroth, but its shimmering golden mantle happens to be a collection of shiny weapon relics it has gathered along its journey through the New World." 

    The idea of every player contributing to the overall progress of the raid is a fascinating one. Equally fascinating is the implication that you'll actually be able to complete this raid by yourself. However, Capcom warns potential solo adventurers that this is intended to be a multiplayer raid. As such, you might not get the full intended experience of the quest if you try to beat it by yourself. Actually, they seem to doubt that many will be able to beat it at all by themselves.

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    However you manage to beat the raid, doing so will reward you with some incredibly rare items that seem to rank comfortably amongst the best equipment in the game. In fact, it seems that the gold that this particular elder dragon is hoarding happens to contain the very rewards that you're questing for. As such, we don't imagine that beating him is going to be an easy affair. 

    It's hard not to be impressed by the work that Capcom has done with Monster Hunter World since the game's release. It's already the best-selling Capcom game ever, and the studio seems committed to ensuring its fans remained entertained. We can't wait to check out this latest addition when Siege of Kulve Taroth launches on April 19th. 

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    It's starting to look like Watch Dogs 3 will premiere at E3 2018.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    Ubisoft seems to be hinting that they're getting ready to announce Watch Dogs 3.

    Some Ubisoft fans have been following a series of clues that seemed to point towards an impending Watch Dogs 3 announcement. It began with an April Fool's joke on the Ubisoft website that allowed users to "hack" into an admin section of the website and hunt down a few pieces of information and Easter eggs. The whole thing reminded Watch Dogsfans of that series trademark hacking gameplay. 

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    That wasn't much in and of itself, but it was followed by an odd tweet from the Watch Dogs Twitter account that read "This is everything." The phrase is relevant to the popular Watch Dogs phrase "Everything is connected." That tweet quickly disappeared, but it seems that it might have marked the start of a quiet viral marketing campaign that some Watch Dogs fans have recently noticed. 

    For instance, there's this YouTube video uploaded by UbiCentral in which the channel states that Sam, Ubisoft's Siri-like app assistance, is capable of saying "Watch Dogs 3 is not finished yet, but from the last early build I tried it's very solid," the app said dutifully when asked about the state of the sequel. "The Dev team works wonders! Can't wait for you to try it!!"

    There is some dispute regarding that last tidbit. PC Gamer tried the app out themselves, and Sam responded that they haven't heard anything about a sequel despite the app's "DedSec contacts." The rest of the information, though, has been confirmed by multiple sources. 

    It's not that surprising to learn that Ubisoft might be gearing up for the next Watch Dogs, but some did express doubt regarding a possible third Watch Dogs title considering that Watch Dogs 2 apparently sold much slower than Ubisoft anticipated. However, it seems that the sequel eventually overcame its slow start and achieved the kind of sales the studio was hoping for. 

    In any case, we expect to hear more about Watch Dogs 3 at E3 2018. 

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    Will Battlefield be the next game to get in on the battle royale trend? It's starting to look that way.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    This probably won't surprise you, but DICE is reportedly working on a battle royale mode they intend to implement in the next Battlefield game. 

    An unidentified source has sold VentureBeat that the rumored Battlefield battle royale mode will share some similarities with current industry leaders PUBG and Fortnite. Namely, it will see 100 players drop into a location and try to be the last person standing. 

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    What's less certain at this time is how DICE will get the mode to work. That source claims that the studio is currently experimenting with different ways to get the basic concept of a battle royale title to work within the Battlefield systems. As that's the case, it doesn't seem to be a guarantee at this time that Battlefield will actually receive a battle royale mode at all. The plan seems to be to first develop the system and then add it to the game after the fact as a free download. However, the finer points of that plan are up in the air at this time. 

    To be fair, there's also no official word that Battlefield V is coming out this year. However, recent reports have suggested that the next Battlefield title is called Battlefield V, that it will release this year, and that the game will take place sometime during World War II.

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    That last bit is what makes this battle royale rumor particularly interesting. A modern-day Battlefield title with a battle royale mode might suffer somewhat from the presence of advanced weaponry. However, a WWII-era battle royale title featuring era-appropriate weapons might offer a more balanced playing field that would require players to get a little closer to each other and utilize greater mechanical accuracy. 

    Of course, this is all speculative. We wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that Battlefield will get a battle royale mode, but if this source is to be believed, then DICE still has quite a bit of work to do in terms of figuring out exactly how such a mode will work in the final game. 

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    World of Demons is beautiful, intense, and...a free-to-play mobile title?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 18, 2018

    Brace yourself, because we're about to put you on an emotional rollercoaster.

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    Platinum Games, makers of classic action titles like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, are working on a heavily-stylized samurai action game called World of Demons. It's designed to resemble the cult classic Capcom title, Okami (a game that the founders of Platinum Games worked on), and features a variety of mythical demons for players to slash their way through. It's also a free-to-play mobile title. 

    See...we got you there at the end. Before you dismiss World of Demons over its format and price point, though, consider that Platinum Games were also hesitant to make a mobile game. However, they ultimately found decided that it was up to them to avoid the taint that people associate with mobile titles. 

    "Nothing's behind a paywall - that's something that was very important for us,"said Andrew Szymanski of DeNA, publisher of World of Demons. "We also wanted to give people different ways to interact with the game - not only in playing it, but also in terms of the payment model. We have the summons - those are done using in-game currency, and that can be earned."

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    However, it's worth noting that there are microtransactions in the game. Fortunately, they are only there for those players who don't want to play the entire game to see some of the high-level content. Some people will view this as paying for cheats, but given that this is a single-player game, you could argue it's really just a "Time vs. Money" argument. 

    The very good news is that the rest of the game seems to be up to Platinum's usual standards for more traditional action games. That means it features a ton of intense action that Platinum has supposedly done a brilliant job of translating to a touchscreen. Granted, this isn't the format we wished for when we dreamed of the old Okami team making a spiritual successor to that title, but it sounds like this might just be one mobile game that is worth a look from even hardcore gamers. We'll know more when it launches for iOS this summer. 

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    Before Tomb Raider and even Metroid, these videogaming characters blazed a small trail in the 1980s...

    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Apr 19, 2018

    It’s one of the great surprise endings in '80s gaming. Having battled all the way to the end of Metroid and defeated the Mother Brain in five hours or less, the player’s treated to one of several cut-scenes, which reveal that the armoured character they’ve been controlling is - gasp - a woman.

    When Metroid was released by Nintendo in 1986, this was a bold new concept. Characters like Street Fighter IIs Chun-Li and Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft were still years away, and if females were in games at all in the 1980s, they were usually hapless figures in need of rescue - the closest anyone had previously come to a proper female lead was Ms. Pac-Man, the hungry yellow sphere with a little red bow on her head, or maybe the protagonist of Girl's Garden, a Japanese-only Sega game about collecting flowers to attract a boyfriend.

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    Metroid’s Samus Aran, on the other hand, was a tough bounty hunter in a high-tech battle suit - quite a contrast to, say, Super Mario Bros Princess Peach.

    Reportedly taking inspiration from Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien, the developers of Metroid decided to give their game a female protagonist midway through development. “Hey, wouldn’t it be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?” a member of the team asked. And thus, what is commonly thought of as the first video game heroine was born.

    But this isn’t strictly true.

    In July 1985, a full year before the release of Metroid, Namco released a largely forgotten arcade machine called Baraduke. A free-scrolling shooter, it actually has quite a few elements in common with Metroid: it’s set in a network of caverns overrun by floating, globular aliens, which look quite a bit like the energy-sucking Metroids in Nintendo’s game. The central character’s an armoured space warrior bristling with weaponry. And in a congratulatory screen at the end of the game, the protagonist, named Kissy, is revealed to be an auburn-haired woman.

    If Baraduke was a success for Namco at all, it seemed to be restricted to Japan; a sequel appeared in Japanese arcades in 1988, and the original game was ported to one solitary home computer - the Japan-only Sharp X68000. 

    Baradukes protagonist, however, lived on in other games Namco games, where she was given a charmingly convoluted backstory. Kissy’s full name is actually Toby “Kissy” Masuyo. She married the main character out of arcade hit Dig Dug, had a child who would become the central character in Mr. Driller, and then got a divorce. Kissy’s cameos have included Namco X Capcom, an RPG, as well as her son’s Mr. Drillerseries.

    Curiously, that very same month - July 1985 - another Japanese arcade company came up with a video game heroine of their own. City Connection was a quirky yet endearing mix of platformer and driving game, in which the player, strapped into a tiny Honda City car, hurtles around each level painting the roads white. In practice, City Connection is a little bit like Q*Bert, in that it involves coloring platforms the same colour to complete a stage, but with its constantly-scrolling screen and relentless turn of speed, its pace is more akin to Namco's cat-and-mouse cult item, Mappy.

    What separated City Connection from all the other simplistic, quick-fix arcade games of the era was its presentation and backstory; behind the wheel of the player's car is a blue-haired heroine named Clarice, a speed-obsessed thrill-seeker who's relentlessly pursued by the cops as she travels from one capital city to another.

    The game was popular enough to get some decent home ports, including the NES and ZX Spectrum, though some of western versions rather unfairly chopped all trace of Clarice and made the driver male instead. The Japanese version on the NES (or Famicom) gave Clarice a prominent showing in its TV commercials, though. Just look at the '80s anime in evidence here:

    City Connection doesn't show up all that often on modern consoles in the 21st century, but vestiges of it still linger; an updated version of Jaleco's cartoon shooter Game Tengoku, released in 2017, featured Clarice as a downloadable player character.

    Between them, Clarice and Toby “Kissy” Masuyo seems poised, to steal Samus Aran’s crown as the first fearless heroines of gaming. But there’s a problem: Sega got there a few months earlier.

    In March 1985 - around four months before the launch of Baraduke - Sega released an arcade machine called Ninja Princess. An effervescent and very tough up-the-screen shooter, it featured a princess who swapped royal robes for a warrior’s garb and went off on a run-and-gun adventure across the Japanese countryside. Princess Kurumi was handy in a fight, too, thanks to her powers of invisibility and ninja star-throwing abilities - though she did have the disarming tendency to burst into tears when struck by the enemies crowding onto the screen.

    Ninja Princess was designed by Rieko Kodama, one of a small number of female figures working in the Japanese games industry in the 1980s. She later found wider fame as the creative force behind dozens of classic Sega games, such as Altered Beast, Phantasy Star, andSonic The Hedgehog. She was still a new, 21-year-old employee when she designed the characters for Ninja Princess, and it’s likely that she created Princess Kurumi as a protagonist other female gamers could identify with.

    The notion of a game led by a heroine seemed to make some sectors of Sega nervous. Outside Japan, Ninja Princess was renamed Sega Ninja - seemingly because Sega thought that the original title might put off a male-dominated arcade scene. 

    Ninja Princess was later ported to the SG-1000, Sega’s first foray into the console market, which remained a faithful port of the original. But by the time Ninja Princess had made its way to the Sega Master System console in the west, Ninja Princess had undergone a major series of changes. Now simply called The Ninja, the game had lost all traces of Princess Kurumi.

    The vivacious cover art of the Japanese version, with its leaping, crimson-clad heroine, was gone, and an image of an anonymous (and distinctly masculine) shuriken-throwing ninja was put in its place.
    Within the game itself, Princess Kurumi was transformed into a male character, named in its lengthy opening story as Kazamaru. Just to rub salt in the wound, Kazamaru’s objective was - you’ve probably guessed it - to rescue a princess from an evil warlord.

    Princess Kurumi is, therefore, one of videogame history’s great lost heroines. She was tough, but unlike the armoured warriors of Baraduke and Metroid, she was also relatably human. And at a time when most games were about defeating alien armadas or rescuing damsels in distress, Ninja Princess had a beguilingly forward-thinking, girl-power plot: the princess’s castle was seized by the evil Gyokuro Zaemon, so Kurumi set off to claim it back by herself.

    Nintendo may have created the first truly celebrated heroine in gaming with Samus Aran, but Rieko Kodama, and her plucky Ninja Princess, made videogame history a full year earlier.

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    Serious Sam returns in this action-packed teaser trailer.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    Croteam and Devolver Digital have formally announced the development of Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass

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    We've heard rumors of a Serious Sam sequel in development for quite some time, but now, there is proof that one of the great pure action shooters in recent memory is set for a return. Unfortunately, Serious Sam 4 is following the grand tradition of pre-E3 game reveals. That is to say that Devolver Digital and Croteam aren't saying a word about the game at the moment. The only thing that we really have to go off of is the above teaser. 

    While that teaser doesn't reveal much, its wide-open fields and the name "Planet Badass" do lead us to believe that the next Serious Sam game could adopt a large world or open-world setting. That would be a departure from the series' classic traditional levels, but not too radical of one. After all, the Serious Samlevels did encourage a degree of exploration in terms of allowing players to explore various corners of the area for secrets. 

    Whatever direction that the series is taking, we should be seeing much more of it at E3 2018. Hopefully, it will be featured in another awesome Devolver Digital press conference. 

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    It hasn't been that long since we last saw Serious Sam (a Serious Sam VR title was recently released) but it has been about seven years since we last received an entry into the mainline Serious Sam games. That being the case, it's possible you're not familiar with the series' greatness. The Serious Sam series made a name for itself as a high-octane shooter that throws waves of enemies at players. Fortunately, you have access to an array of high-powered weapons capable of decimating enemies in spectacular fashion. 

    Truth be told, there aren't a lot of games out there these days that do what Serious Sam does. As such, we're quite excited to see Serious Sam return to the fold and look forward to bringing you more information on this game. 

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    SNK's classic array of fighting games and action titles might be coming to a mini console near you.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    SNK decided to hang on to the mini-console gravy train as it leaves the station. As the remains of their bloody corpse are dragged along the tracks, we bring you news of a new SNK console filled with classic games. 

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    A teaser tweet from SNK has the internet...gamers...several people buzzing about the possibility of a new SNK console. The tweet references a "new game machine" (loosely translated) and includes an image of what we assume is the new console hidden under a sheet. Additional reports indicate that the company has confirmed that this machine will house a variety of classic SNK games. Beyond that, it's exact functionality remains unknown. 

    Joining the unknown are the console's price, release date, and full list of upcoming games. What we can tell you is that this console seems to have been manufactured as part of the celebration of SNK's 40th anniversary. Assuming that this ends up being a console, it will be the first that the company has released since the Neo-Geo console was discontinued in the '90s. If it's a handheld, it will be the first since SNK released a failed Neo-Geo handheld a few years ago. 

    You might be getting the impression that SNK has had a bit of a rough go of it the last few decades. They have, but that has nothing to do with the quality of their classic games.

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    Actually, many fans still consider SNK to be the premier name in the world of fighting games. Their King of Fighters series is a cultural mainstay on the fighting scene, and games like Samurai Showdown remain in a class of their own. If this console is loaded with retro games, you can be sure that there will be more than a few fighting titles amongst them.

    Beyond that, it feels safe to assume that there will be a couple of Metal Slug games on there along with some of the company's other classic arcade action titles. Our real hope is that the company digs deep into its vaults and brings back some of their more obscure - but noteworthy - '90s titles. However, we'll just have to wait and see. 

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    TimeSplitters is a true cult classic FPS series. So why didn't we get a fourth entry into the franchise?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    Recently revealed concept art showcases what the canceled TimeSplitters 4 would have looked like. Spoilers: it was going to be a very, very weird game. 

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    The concept art first appeared over on Reddit where an individual with an unidentified association with Free Radical and TimeSplitters 4 shared them with the site's community. While there were early sketches, they seem to indicate that this game was going to feature a bizarre array of characters that wouldn't have looked out of place on a Garbage Pails Kid card. It's not entirely clear why everyone in the game seems to be a mutated freak, but it's clear that the series' trademark time-traveling elements were in full effect. 

    Eurogamer seems to have learned that most of these images were drawn between 2007 and 2009 when the game was still in its pre-production period. It's clear that the artists decided that it was time to ratchet up the series' underlying weirdness, though we sadly don't know exactly how all of the art's bizarre personality would have fit into the overall vision for the title. 

    What we do know is why TimeSplitters 4 never saw the light of day despite the quality of this awesome art and the relative popularity of the series up until that point. 

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    Various interviews conducted with the Free Radical crew in the years following TimeSplitters 4 cancellation have revealed that the project just never found a publisher. The team actually built a playable demo for the title and sent it out to several publishers, but nobody bit on it. However, it seems that their hesitation to pick up the game had little to do with TimeSplitters and had much more to do with the failed FPS title, Haze. 

    "Publishers would ask what happened with Haze," said Free Radical Design boss Karl Hilton. "We were the company that made a series of high-rated shooters and then we had released Haze, which wasn't as well received. This worried them."

    However, Hilton does admit that TimeSplitters 4 might have been too weird for its own good. He said that publishers just didn't know how to sell the game that the team wanted to make and that TimeSplitters ultimately didn't have a clear "marketing message" to deliver. Hilton admits that they might have been right, but that doesn't make the game's cancellation any easier to swallow. 

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  • 04/19/18--12:21: God of War Review
  • This isn't the God of War you know, but it might just be the PlayStation 4's best game. Here is our review...

    Release Date: April 20, 2018
    Platform: PS4 
    Developer: SIE Santa Monica Studio
    Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
    Genre: Action/Adventure

    The thing that has always separated masterpieces from great games is the feeling they inspire. Granted, that’s not a fair metric, but when you play a game that is truly special, you just know it. It goes beyond logic, classification, and even reason.

    Well, God of War is a masterpiece, even if it’s a game that sometimes feels like its sacrificing tangible greatness for the chance to inspire a feeling.

    The game opens with Kratos chopping down a tree that he intends to use for his recently deceased wife’s funeral pyre. He is joined by his son, Atreus, a precocious young boy whose grief is tempered by the blunt, sometimes cruel life lessons of his father. Not long after, a truly incredible occurrence kickstarts Kratos and Atreus' journey, which is quite unlike any the God of War franchise has seen.

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    Play God of War from its incredible opening to its emotional conclusion and you’ll soon find that it’s incredibly difficult to talk about the things that make this game’s story so special without potentially ruining it for others. Perhaps the same can be said of many other games, but God of War is special in the way that it slowly unfolds the layers of its story through moments that are large in the grand tradition of epic God of War adventures and small in ways that we’ve never seen from this series.

    The former largely consist of the things that we can’t really talk about - this game goes places you are not prepared for - but it's the latter that will ultimately define the legacy of this title. The relationship between Kratos and Atreus has been billed as one of God of War’s standout features. For the most part, that aspect of the game works as well as advertised.

    The relationship between Kratos and Atreus is a...complicated one. The God of War games up until this point have established Kratos as more of a force of nature than a man. Going into this sequel (although perhaps we should call it a revival), then, it was difficult to imagine how he would ever manage to be a father. Well, the game deals with that as Kratos initially treats Atreus more as a tool or weapon that has to be honed in order to survive in this world.

    On the other hand, Atreus is pretty much like every young boy you’ve ever known. He’s energetic, prone to get into trouble, and is capable of reading ancient runes. Ok, that last part isn’t very typical, but the point still stands that Atreus serves as the emotional counterpoint to his father’s stoic nature.

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    Actually, for as much as people like to take Kratos to task for being a generic character notable only for his bloodlust and the spectacle of his rage, many of God of War’s best moments are the result of Kratos launching into the most epic form of dad mode that we’ve ever seen in a video game. Granted, that has something to do with the fact that we genuinely come to care for Atreus as someone whom we cannot lose (even if he cannot actually die during combat). 

    Truth be told, though, there are times when Atreus’ dialogue and actions seem a bit out of place. While his perky personality helps bring out a more human side of Kratos, there are moments when he exhibits a “Gee-whiz” attitude that doesn’t really match the circumstances of his situation and what we believe to be his upbringing.

    What ultimately makes the Kratos/Atreus dynamic work as well as it does is the way the game weaves their relationship into nearly every aspect of the experience. When Atreus is put in any kind of danger, Kratos launches into an old-school God of War rage. When Kratos teaches his son a harsh - but often necessary - lesson about life and the world, we feel Atreus’ silent disappointment because many of those lessons are ones that we’ve learned, too. We even get to watch Atreus evolve as a warrior as his skills grow greater in combat.

    That last bit is especially well-done. At first, Atreus is only able to shoot arrows at enemies at your command. The arrows don’t do much damage and largely serve as an extra parry. However, as the game goes on, Atreus becomes bolder and begins to enter the fray directly. He maintains his arrows - which you can upgrade - but watching his character growth manifest itself in the form of his direct combat is a true joy.

    Actually, God of War’s combat is generally a true joy. Early previews compared the game’s combat to Dark Souls, but that comparison doesn’t quite hold in the final version of the title. Everything is much more deliberate and “meatier” than in previous God of War games and you’re rarely left with the feeling that you are not the true powerhouse. It’s just that you now have to consider things like blocks, counters, enemy positioning, and the various attack types it takes to take down the game’s various foes. You feel like a god, but the game does make you work for it.

    The star of God of War’s combat spectacular is undoubtedly Kratos’ ax. Time will tell if it will become as iconic as the Blades of Chaos, but it feels great to use. The “gimmick” of the ax is that you’re able to throw and recall it at will. It's similar to Thor's hammer in that respect. That mechanic works great during combat - nothing is more satisfying than killing one enemy with a throw and taking out another with the rebound - and is one of the many ways that God of War’s combat keeps you on your toes and inspires you to come up with creative solutions to increasingly complicated conflicts.

    The ax is also used to solve many of the game’s puzzles. God of War has always featured a few brain teasers, but this new collection of puzzles features some truly challenging scenarios. You’d think that they might slow down the game’s pacing, but they’re actually cleverly integrated in ways that ultimately leave you feeling just as satisfied as at the end of any major battle.

    It’s a bit more difficult to praise the game’s upgrade system. Upgrades are nothing new to the series, but this is by far the deepest example of that system ever featured in a God of War game. Everything from Kratos ax to Atreus’ clothes can be customized and upgraded. You can even fit special runes into weapons and items to grant yourself additional abilities and buffs.

    The system itself is fine in a vacuum, but it feels out of place in the context of this world. Early on, the game establishes that Kratos doesn’t really need more than his fists to take down literal gods - fighting bare-handed is perfectly acceptable - and doesn’t need a better wolf pelt to soak up the damage of getting thrown through a mountain. Why, then, does it matter how sharp my ax is or what level of shoulder pelt I have on? 

    There’s also the issue of the game’s menus. See, there are no camera cuts in God of War. The idea of a one-shot sequence is incredibly difficult to accomplish, and a game without a single camera cut that can easily last 30-50 hours is practically a minor design miracle. However, every time that you have to enter a menu to manage some upgrade or skill boost, it does feel like you’re being taken out of that experience somewhat. Menus don’t kill the immersion, but they do feel at odds with it.

    Thankfully, that annoyance pales in comparison to the world that God of War’s focused sweeping shots gradually reveals. No matter what you might read or what you might hear, you are not prepared for the scope of God of War’s world. I’d stop just short of calling it an open-world game, but it is a large world that is loaded with various sidequests for those who desire to seek them. That’s what makes the whole thing work. God of War’s side missions are there to be found by those who want to find them and are in no way shoved down your throat and added to a to-do list log of missions that you’ll never get to.

    It’s not just the missions, though, but the side characters and area design that makes God of War’s world so special. You’ve probably seen quite a few screenshots of God of War’s snowy landscapes and thought. “Is that what the whole game looks like?” It most certainly does not. In fact, there are areas of God of War that I would rank among the most visually creative and exciting in any video game I’ve ever played. What’s more is that they all somehow feel appropriate to this world, even if they are, on paper, radically different. There's even a Metroidvania aspect to some of the areas that allows you to travel between them and unlock shortcuts. 

    Of course, it doesn't hurt that God of War is one of the most beautiful games ever made. The level of detail on every character is simply stunning - Kratos, in particular, looks incredible - but when one of those well-designed areas meets the game's daunting graphical engine, it produces a moment that will cause you to stare in disbelief at your screen. The game's soundtrack is equally impressive, even if it does sometimes take a backseat to some of the visual spectacles on display. 

    God of War's peripheral characters are somehow even more memorable than its levels. The game doesn't boast a particularly large ensemble, but there are many characters you’ll meet along the way, and every single one of them feels like they’re playing an indispensable role in the story. There are grouchy weaponsmiths with the sense of humor of a drunken uncle, a mysterious magic wielder who sets the grander events of the game in motion, a disembodied head with tons of gossip to share, and many more notable personas who aid - and hinder - your quest. Kratos and Atreus remain the stars, but there are certainly a few people you meet along the way who truly steal the show.

    And what a show it is. My biggest complaints about God of War are all related to things that were implemented in an attempt to give gamers more. More options, more gameplay, more mechanics, and more world. In a weird way, Sony's enthusiasm reminds me of Atreus. The developers are eager to show the world what they can do and, in their enthusiasm, they sometimes overstep into dangerous waters that require the player to step in and reach out an understanding open hand.

    While improvements to the game’s menus and upgrade system may have made God of War a technically better game, technical merit has always bowed to the power of a feeling. By the end of God of War, you’ll have the feeling that your emotional connection to the game has led you on a journey that represents something fairly close to the best that gaming has to offer. Any game that has the power to do that must be some kind of masterpiece.

    ReviewMatthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

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    One of Dark Souls 3's best boss fights almost closed the game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    In lieu of a new Dark Soulstitles, fans of the series have taken to combing Dark Souls 3 for every secret it contains. Some fans have even begun to comb some of the game's pre-release information to see what was planned for the game that didn't make it in. 

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    Those fans have uncovered a treasure trove of information. The initiative seems to be spearheaded by super fan Lance McDonald who is known for combing through game codes for various secrets. The breadth of his discoveries is jaw-dropping. In fact, it's highly doubtful that you'll really care about many of them unless you're a hardcore - and we mean every waking moment of your life is Dark Souls hardcore - kind of fan. 

    However, there are a few tidbits which might be of interest to everyone who played the game. 

    The biggest piece of info that McDonald uncovered relates to the game's original final boss. It seems that notorious Dark Souls 3 boss Pontiff Sulyvahn was originally going to be the game's final foe. His name was different (whose original name might have been Black Old King) but the design of the character seemed to be largely the same. That kind of makes sense from a purely mechanical standpoint when you consider that Pontiff Sulyvahn is a very challenging boss whose design feels similar to some of the other climatic enemies in the Dark Souls series. 

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    Furthermore, it seems that the final boss battle was originally intended to take place in the Untended Graves area rather than the Kiln of the First Flame. What's particularly interesting about that piece of information is that Untended Graves is actually just an optional area in the final release of Dark Souls. McDonald noted that it seems the version of Untended Graves that would have been the game's final setting is different than the one that is currently in the game. For one thing, it would have been set in the daytime and not at night.

    McDonald admits that some of this information is a bit speculative as it's all pieced together from spare bits of code that may or may not mean exactly what he thinks it does. However, he feels confident that the original end of Dark Souls 3was very different. 

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    Fortnite players are wondering whether a blue comet will deliver them from the game's most hated area.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    Fortnite players have spotted a mysterious blue comet in the sky, and there is no shortage of theories regarding what it might mean.

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    The mysterious blue comet first appeared in Fortnite's skies a few weeks ago. At the time, the popular theory is that it signaled the start of an upcoming in-game event. However, as things have developed, it seems that the comet instead relates to something more specific. 

    The popular theory at the moment is that the comet is going to destroy some area on the Fortnite map when it lands. Many fans suspect that it will hit the Tilted Towers area. The very simple reason that is the case has something to do with the fact that a large chunk of Fortnite's fanbase adamantly dislikes the Tilted Towers area. in fact, a recent player initiative asked everyone to band together in order to destroy the Tilted Towers area themselves. Naturally, trolls appeared and started to kill everyone to ruin the other player's fun, but the incident still showcased just how despised the area is. 

    Recent events have some fans convinced that the idea the comet might be heading for Tilted Towers is more than just wishful thinking. Fans have spotted some new telescopes that have appeared in the Tilted Towers area since the appearance of the comet. It also seems that Epic has added much more loot to the area in recent weeks. If this comet isn't set to destroy the town, Epic is doing a fine job of convincing players that it will. 

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    If nothing else, this comet is a great indication of just how popular Fortnite really is. In any other game, a visual feature like that may have gone overlooked or otherwise wouldn't have inspired more than a curious glance. However, since Fortnite is the most popular game in the world, the comet has become the centerpiece for a mass investigation despite the fact that it's done nothing but exist so far. 

    Here's hoping that the comet makes an appropriate impact if and when it lands on the map. 

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    PUBG's long-awaited map selection should be available by the time that the Savage map arrives.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    PlayerUknown's Battlegrounds is finally going to allow players to choose which map they play on before the match. 

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    The PUBG team are working to add a map selection function to the game's test servers soon. The developers have stated that the feature is "almost complete" and that it should be available on the game's servers shortly after the fine-tuning is done. If you're wondering why such a seemingly obvious feature was missing from the game in the first place, it's because the PUBG team felt that it could drastically impact matchmaking. If a particular map is popular - or just new - it could eat up the majority of player interest and leave others in the cold. 

    However, PUBG's developers believe that they've finally figured out a way to mitigate the potential impact of a map selection option. 

    “We analyzed tens of millions of matches and sorted the data by server, mode, and time to make sure map selection wouldn’t break the game for anyone,” said the developer via a recent Steam post. "We wanted to make sure that we could create a solution that worked for every region’s players, even the ones with a naturally low server population.”

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    The selection process itself is very simple. Prior to queuing into a match, you can select which maps you'd like to play on. If you'd rather just play one specific map, you have that option, but you can also select multiple maps and the game will choose which one you actually queue into at random. It sounds pretty elegant, which makes it a shame that the option will only be available on PC in the near future. Of course, considering that the Xbox version of the game still only has one map, it's not really an issue at the moment. 

    Speaking of new maps, PUBG's latest map - Codename: Savage - will reportedly feature a new underground cave system when the final version of the area is available on live servers. You'll actually be able to parachute directly into the tunnels when you enter the map, and the tunnels themselves will feature multiple exists that span the entire area of the map. This tunnel system should help expand the scope of Savage somewhat as it currently stands as the smallest map in the game. 

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    This mod turns the realistic military shooter Ghost Recon into an even more realistic military shooter.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 19, 2018

    After 16 years in development, Heroes Unleashed, a realism mod for Ghost Recon, is finally - mostly - finished. 

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    In what has to be one of the most impressive cases of insanity...err...dedication that we've ever heard of, Apex Mods have been working on a mod for the original Ghost Recon since the game launched in 2002. The purpose of this mod was to Ghost Recon into one of the most "hardcore military shooter simulators" that the gaming industry has ever seen.

    If you're suddenly thinking "Wait a minute, wasn't the original Ghost Recon a pretty hardcore military simulator in its own right?" then you'll be happy to know you aren't going crazy. The original Ghost Recon was indeed a pretty hardcore game. However, it seems that Apex Mods felt it wasn't hardcore enough. That's why they built a mod that adds everything from real-world physics to advanced A.I. to the game. The extent of the additions features in this mod is pretty crazy. We're well beyond the realms of reason when talking about what this mod adds and the work that went into it. 

    Interestingly, even the mods own creators admit that this version of the game can be frustrating and is most certainly not intended for everyone. They also have some very choice words about the direction the Ghost Recon series eventually went in. 

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    "What had started out as the epitome of a deeply engrossing gaming experience in realistic squad-based infantry combat, has turned into a shallow slugfest of superficial Hollywood action and eye candy, all for the sake of mass market appeal, all to satisfy casual gamers with the attention span of a fruit fly," said one of the mod's creators in an interview with Mod DB.

    As for why this mod took 16 years to make (which is a ridiculously long time even for a mod of this size) it apparently has something to do with the amount of research required to get all of the game's physics and other realistic components just right. Remarkably, the mod's creators have indicated that there is still quite a bit of work to do before the mod reaches a state of completion that they are satisfied with. 

    Shine on you crazy diamonds. 

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    You've heard of Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, but have you played these underrated NES classics?

    The Lists Chris Freiberg
    Apr 19, 2018

    More than three decades after its release, the NES is still considered by many to be the greatest console of all time, even without modern bells and whistles like online play or 4K resolution. And with good reason: it’s home to tons of timeless classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.

    But the greatness of the NES goes far beyond those classics. Nearly 700 licensed games were released for the console in North America, and even today some of those greats are easily forgotten.

    These are the 25 most underrated NES games that are still worth checking out:

    25. Wario’s Woods

    1994 | Nintendo

    Wario’s Woods is an anomaly for plenty of reasons. It was the first Nintendo console game to star Mario’s nemesis and it’s also completely unlike any of the other games in what loosely constitutes the Wario series. The match-3 gameplay bears more than a passing familiarity to Dr. Mario, but instead of controlling pills dropped from the top of the screen, players control a Toad at the bottom that moves monsters and bombs. It was also the last NES game officially released in North America, so with almost a decade of experience programming games for the console at this point, it’s easily one of the best looking titles on the system.

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    Despite some odd design choices and complex controls, those that dive into Wario’s Woods often find a tough but satisfying puzzler. And while Nintendo has made the game available through the Virtual Console, the Big N left Wario’s Woods off of the NES Classic and seems to have zero interest in revisiting this type of gameplay.

    24. Déjà Vu

    1990 | ICOM Simulations, Inc.

    The NES isn’t the first platform that comes to mind when thinking about point-and-click games, but it actually did have a few solid adventure titles. Even with the system’s limitations, Déjà Vu nailed the 1940s film noir vibe well. It’s enthralling figuring out the mystery of PI/retired boxer Ace Harding, as he explores the deep underbelly of Chicago.

    As great as the game’s atmosphere is, its puzzles can be quite confusing. This was long before the days of Telltale when scenes could be completed by just checking everything in a room. Expect to use a walkthrough if you dive into Déjà Vu now.

    23. Captain America and the Avengers

    1991 | Data East

    There were a lot of very bad Marvel games released for the NES. Anything with a Spider-Man or a member of the X-Men on it is best avoided. There's one exception, though. Captain America and the Avengers may not be the best side-scroller on the console, but it’s better than any other Marvel tile from the era. The developers even kind of nailed down the feel of Cap’s shield, which you can throw or use to deflect bullets and defend yourself from hazards. You can also play as Hawkeye, but he’s not nearly as much fun.

    Sadly, while this is based off a beloved arcade game, some cuts had to be made. You can’t play as the Vision or Iron Man like in the arcade game, even though the title still references “The Avengers.” That means four-player co-op is out of the question, too. Still, this was a solid port for the times.

    22. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    1990 | Sunsoft

    The ‘90s were an era where pretty much every movie and TV show received a video game adaptation. Usually, these games were nonsensical and not very good, but every now and then, a great team of developers put something together that was surprisingly good. Gremlins 2 is one of those hidden gems from the era.

    You play as Gizmo from a top-down perspective as he travels through a vast building to eliminate the gremlins using a variety of weapons, including a crossbow. This is a game that looks, sounds, and plays far better than it has any right to.

    21. Krusty’s Fun House

    1992 | Fox Williams 

    Acclaim released a whopping four Simpsons games during the lifespan of the NES. This is the only one not to star Bart and it’s also the best of the bunch. By a lot. Rather than focusing on traditional side-scrolling gameplay like the other games, you play as Krusty the Klown. His titular funhouse has become infested with mice and only he can get rid of them.

    Gameplay is a lot like Lemmings, with Krusty moving around blocks and other objects to guide the mice to their extermination. And while other characters from the franchise are sparse, they do show up as bosses at the end of each level.

    20. Ring King

    1987 | Data East 

    Punch-Out!! may be the undisputed champion of NES boxing games, but Ring King is a solid contender. Rather than focus the camera behind your boxer, the fighters square off in third-person, like a wrestling game. Even though all of the boxers are palette swaps, there’s a lot of depth here and the graphics are surprisingly good for an early NES game.

    While the gameplay is fun, Ring Kinghas also become somewhat infamous online in recent years for another reason. Between rounds, your trainer comes to the ring, gets on his knees, and well… it can only be described as “servicing” the boxer.

    19. Batman

    1990 | Sunsoft

    There was a time, long ago, when Batman movies got video game adaptations - even great video game adaptations. Based on the 1989 Tim Burton movie, Batman actually does a decent job of following the film’s basic plot and spicing in gameplay liberally borrowed from Ninja Gaiden, like the wall jump and Batarangs. It also boasts a killer soundtrack and some primitive, but entertaining cutscenes.

    Just be warned that this is one difficult game to complete. You might not even make it through the first level, let alone live to see the final showdown with the Joker, but it sure is fun to try.

    18. Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight

    1990 | Capcom

    Despite the title, Street Fighter 2010 is only sort of related to the legendary fighting game franchise. Capcom had a solid side-scrolling shooter on its hands but didn’t think anyone would pay attention to it in the U.S. So the main character was renamed from Kevin Striker in the Japanese version to Ken, a martial arts master, implying he was the same character from Street Fighter.

    The game actually came out a few months before Street Fighter II hit arcades, so the series wasn’t nearly the phenomenon that it would be later in the ‘90s, making the localization decision even more bizarre. Still, there’s fun to be had here, with tight controls and a strong soundtrack if you just ignore all the unnecessary Street Fighter silliness.

    17. Willow

    1989 | Capcom

    Based on an idea by George Lucas, Willow was one of those movies that was a big deal when it was released, but that has fallen into obscurity over the years. It seems rather unavoidable then that the game based on the movie would suffer the same fate. But Willow is actually good!

    The game obviously takes a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda, but with Capcom (which would later go on to make some Zelda games) at the helm, that’s not such a bad thing. Some might even prefer the required grinding.

    16. Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics 2

    1994 | Nintendo

    The first StarTropics was a top-down adventure game that showed a lot of promise, but had some control issues. For the sequel, Nintendo fixed that issue with a much smoother system that allowed movement in eight different directions, then added in some of the best graphics on the console and an awesome story that saw main character Mike Jones travel through time.

    Like Wario’s Woods, this is one of those games that was pretty good but still seemingly sent out to die long after most gamers had moved on to the SNES. And for whatever reasons, Nintendo has completely ignored the series ever since.

    15. The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout

    1990 | Kemco

    It’s Bugs Bunny’s 50th birthday, so of course, he has to fight a bunch of his friends to get to his party. I guess? Is that something anyone has ever had to do for a birthday party? It doesn’t really matter as that’s mostly just an excuse to give Bugs a hammer to take down enemies in a variety of side-scrolling levels, each culminating in a boss fight with a fellow Looney Toon.

    It’s an odd game, but still one of the better ones to feature the Looney Tunes. And unlike a lot of NES games, the sprites actually look like the characters they’re meant to portray.

    14. Adventure Island

    1988 | Hudson Soft

    Far too many NES side-scrollers ripped off Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man, usually with awful results. Adventure Island was one of the few platformers on the console that oozed originality. It took real skill to learn how control to Master Higgins and his stone ax, fireballs, and of course, skateboard. This side-scroller is the rare 8-bit game that’s tough because it’s meant to be, not because of poor design choices or the limitations of the hardware.

    Adventure Island actually started off as a port of Sega’s Wonder Boy arcade game, but the decision was made to create an original character during development. Meanwhile, the Wonder Boy sequels would add more RPG features and go in an entirely different direction. Unfortunately, while Wonder Boy has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years, the Adventure Island series hasn’t appeared since an obscure 2009 WiiWare game.

    13. Magic of Scheherazade

    1989 | Culture Brain

    Scheherazade was a game ahead of its time in many ways. While at first glance it's a Zelda clone, the ability to travel between five different time periods actually preceded A Link to the Past by two years. The innovative combat system also mixed real-time and turn-based combat, a feature PC RPGs wouldn’t adopt until years later. It’s also one of the few NES games with a Middle Eastern theme, which helps it stand out from the pack.

    At one point, a sequel was planned for the SNES, which could have really been something special given the groundwork laid by the NES game, but it was canceled with no further information announced.

    12. River City Ransom

    1989 | Technos Japan

    Initially ignored in North America, River City Ransom’s reputation has improved over the years. While the NES had no shortage of beat ‘em ups, River City Ransom was the first to let you explore an open world. Your character could further customize his stats with food items or by reading magazines, something that was unheard of in the genre at the time.

    Unlike many of the third-party games from the era, the River City Ransom franchise is still alive and kicking with the most recent game in the series, River City: Rival Showdown, hitting the 3DS last year. For better or worse, aside from sharper looking graphics, the games haven’t changed much over the last three decades.

    11. Tiny Toon Adventures

    1991 | Konami

    Tiny Toon Adventures was an early ‘90s cartoon featuring younger characters based on the classic Looney Toons. For example, there was Buster Bunny, a blue rabbit similar in personality to Bugs, and Plucky Duck, a green duck not unlike Daffy. It was a pretty good show that was ultimately overshadowed by the even better Animaniacs, which debuted around the same time.

    The Animaniacs never starred in a game this good, though. The graphics are bright and colorful, among some of the best NES could produce, and you can switch between four different characters, including Buster, Plucky, Furrball the cat, and Dizzy Devil, a Tasmanian devil. It’s a short game with some surprisingly difficult sections, but still worth a play today.

    10. Gun-Nac

    1991 | Compile

    On the surface, Gun-Nac appears to be a by the numbers vertical shooter. There’s a galactic federation doing typical galactic stuff (as federations do) when suddenly… the toys take over? That’s when the giant rabbits and space octopi attack. Then there’s the cat boss that throws coins at you. Gun-Nac’s atmosphere is completely bonkers.

    Thankfully, that’s not the only reason to check this title out. The shooting is solid, and you can upgrade your ship in-between levels. You’ll likely find yourself humming its catchy soundtrack long after you’ve finished the game.

    9. Clash at Demonhead

    1990 | Vic Tokai

    Clash at Demonhead was a Metroidvania game before that term existed. Featuring a character who could collect numerous different abilities, like teleportation, shrinking, and a boomerang gun, the game featured more than 40 different routes to the end, with stages that you could go back and visit at any time.

    Like the original Mega Man, Clash at Demonhead featured painful budget sci-fi cover art that had little relation to the actual gameplay. Unlike Mega Man though, Clash at Demonhead didn’t go on to inspire dozens of sequels, which is kind of a shame.

    8. Ikari Warriors

    1987 | Micronics

    Contrais fondly remembered for its tough as nails co-op shoot ‘em up gameplay, but it hardly had a monopoly on the genre on the NES. Released around the same time as Contra, Ikari Warriors also featured two shirtless commandos shooting infinite waves of enemies, but from an overhead angle. While that means you can see more of the screen, it didn’t make the game any easier.

    Another difference from Contra was the addition of vehicles, tanks, and helicopters. Ikari Warriorsdoes admittedly look primitive given that it came out early in the lifespan of the NES, but it’s still an absolute blast with a co-op partner.

    7. Little Samson

    1992 | Takeru 

    Little Samsonwas Taito’s attempt at crafting a quality platformer that rivaled the sales and popularity of Mega Man. In terms of gameplay, Taito arguably succeeded. Little Samson is an absolute joy to play, with four characters you can switch between at any time. The graphics stand out among the best on the console.

    Unfortunately, while the quality was there, the sales weren’t. Gamers had mostly moved on to the SNES by 1992 and weren’t going back to its 8-bit predecessor no matter how good the games were. If you can find a legitimate copy of Little Samsonnow, expect to pay somewhere around $1,000 for just the cartridge.

    6. DuckTales 2

    1993 | Capcom

    While the first DuckTales game is fondly remembered, for a long time many NES gamers didn’t even know this sequel existed. It came out late in the console’s lifecycle and its print run was incredibly small. In terms of gameplay, it’s a lot like the first DuckTales game, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Like its predecessor, it’s a little on the short and easy side, though.

    The title finally got its due with an appearance in Capcom’s The Disney Afternoon Collection in 2017, but it seems unlikely that it will ever see a complete remake like the first game.

    5. StarTropics

    1990 | Nintendo

    Take The Legend of Zelda, move it to a modern setting with a bunch of aliens, and tweak the gameplay to focus on a yo-yo. In a lot of ways, the original StarTropics feels even more like a proper Zelda sequel than The Adventures of Link, the weird, side-scrolling sequel we got on the NES. It’s certainly aged much better than that game.

    Oddly enough, while StarTropics was made by a group of Japanese developers living in the U.S., Nintendo has never released the game in Japan. Maybe that’s why the Big N has shown so little interest in resurrecting the series over the years.

    4. Adventures of Lolo

    1989 | Nintendo

    HAL Laboratory took the typical story of a hero saving the princess and turned it into something truly special with Lolo’s sliding puzzle block gameplay. It takes some real strategy to get through all 50 of Lolo’s stages, knowing just where to move blocks and when to shoot enemies.

    Two more sequels followed on the NES, and all three of the games are worth playing, though they don’t differ much in terms of gameplay. While Nintendo hasn’t revisited the franchise in years (which is a real shame), Lolo and Princess Lala do regularly show up in Kirby’s adventures.

    3. Little Nemo: The Dream Master

    1990 | Capcom

    One of the cool things about the NES era was how developers were willing to find inspiration from all sorts of odd places. Though Little Nemowas based on an animated Japanese film, that film was based on an early 1900s comic strip about a young boy’s adventures in dreams. The result is a fantastical platformer wherein Nemo collects keys to open the next level while occasionally feeding candy to a frog, gorilla, or mole for rides.

    The game was developed by Capcom during a period when the company just didn’t make bad games. Unfortunately, the title was a one-off, and since the Little Nemo movie didn’t exactly set the world on fire, it forever remains trapped in time as an example of the more unique games that came out of the era.

    2. The Guardian Legend

    1989 | Compile 

    Picture a game that’s part Zelda and part 1942, with an awesome chip tune soundtrack. Sounds amazing, right? It was. It still is. But the initial reception for The Guardian Legend was somewhere between ambivalence and straight up hostility. Maybe the world just wasn’t ready for something so different at the time.

    As the titular Guardian, your mission is to destroy the alien planet Naju. Half the time, you're on foot in top-down Zelda-style areas. The other part of the game, set inside Naju, is a straight shoot ‘em up.

    A lot of the game’s early criticism was directed at the complicated password system, but since that’s not really an issue with modern emulation, the game has found a much more favorable reception in the twenty-first century.

    1. Crystalis

    1990 | SNK 

    It’s been 100 years since a nuclear war destroyed civilization. An evil new empire reigns. As an amnesiac warrior just out of cryogenic sleep, it’s now your duty to save the world. The story of Crystalis was surprisingly dark, which was a rarity for the era.

    While the top-down action RPG gameplay wasn’t unique for the period, it just felt better than pretty much anything else around, and the story made sure the quest to obtain four elemental swords never got boring.

    Unlike the other games on this list, the positive reception Crystalis received years after release did motivate Nintendo to release a remake for the Game Boy Color in 2000, but with poorer graphics and sound, the NES is still the best place to check out this underrated gem.

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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.


    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


    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.


    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


    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?


    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


    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.


    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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 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 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.  

    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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    Dark Souls: Remastered looks like it could be the definitive version of a definitive game.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 24, 2018

    There's a new trailer out for the remastered version of Dark Souls, and it showcases some of the visual improvements that fans can expect from this highly-anticipated re-release. 

    While frustratingly short, this trailer does manage to convey a few of the enhancements that we can expect to see in the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions of this game. Enemies look sharper, environments benefit from cleaner lighting, and gameplay, in general, seems much smoother. Unfortunately, none of this footage applies to the Switch version of Dark Souls Remastered. While that remaster was originally planned for a May 25 release on the console-handheld hybrid, the date has now been pushed to sometime this summer. The remaster will arrive for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on May 25 as planned.

    The original announcement for Dark Souls Remastered on Switch came during a mini Nintendo Direct video back in January. Check it out below: 

    It's also been suggested that From Software will eventually port all three Dark Souls games to Switch, but that rumor is unconfirmed at this time.

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    The original Dark Souls turns seven this year, and we're just now starting to feel the full weight of its influence. At the time of its release, the game was hailed by Demon's Souls fans and those new to the series as one of the greatest Action-RPG titles ever made. Dark Souls' brilliant boss fights, incredible combat system, punishing difficulty, learn by doing design, and intricate worlds made it a revolution in game design that is often cited by modern developers as a turning point for the industry.

    What we're trying to say is that Nintendo Switch owners who haven't yet been able to experience the game - or just want to take it with them wherever they may roam - are going to want to add this remaster to their wishlist. 

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    If you never played Wolfenstein II, this might be your best chance to play one of 2017's best games.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Apr 24, 2018

    The Switch version of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus finally has an official gameplay trailer and release date. 

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    Set to release on June 29th, the Nintendo Switch version of Wolfenstein II aims to do something quite impressive. Considering that Wolfenstein II released for console and PC in 2017, it couldn't have been easy to make the game playable - or enjoyable - on Nintendo's comparatively underpowered console/handheld hybrid. 

    Yet, as we see in the footage above, the Nintendo Switch version of Wolfenstein II appears to function largely the same as its console brethren. Granted, you can clearly tell that the game suffers a slight dip in resolution on the Nintendo Switch - and we highly doubt that version of the game will be able to achieve or maintain 60 FPS - but if the final game plays as well as the footage suggests, then we can certainly imagine worse ways of playing Wolfenstein II than wherever you may roam with your Nintendo Switch. 

    Actually, there really isn't a bad way to play Wolfenstein II as long as you play it at all. The highly-anticipated sequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order did what many considered to be the impossible by finding ways to one-up the absolute insanity of the Wolfenstein reboot. While Wolfenstein II's level design and gameplay sometimes leave a little to be desired, the sheer number of shocking moments contained in the game's story makes it a must-play experience. 

    Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Wolfenstein II runs so well on the Switch considering that the Switch port of Doom turned out to be a surprisingly great way to enjoy the game. Again, there's no confusing that version of the game with versions of the game running on more powerful platforms, but it managed to capture the core of what made Doom work while adding the considerable benefit of being able to play it anywhere. 

    We fully expect the final version of Wolfenstein II on Switch to be just as impressive and recommend that any Switch owners who haven't yet played the game keep an eye on it. 

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    You can now get high with Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana... on your phone.

    News Daniella Bondar
    Apr 24, 2018

    Ever wished you could get high with Broad City’s Abbi and Ilana? Well wish no more, because now you can—  sorta.

    Take a toke and dive into Abbi and Ilana’s world for a while with Comedy Central’s Broad City: High Score. The mobile app takes you through a series of mini games to get you higher. How does it work?

    Rip through a series of hilarious Broad City mini-games to get HIGHER... scores, social status, and amounts of lolz! We're not blowing smoke, and we can't be more blunt, yas, this game rules the worldwide bloodstream!”

    In my dreams, Abbi and Ilana are my best friends, so I decided to give High Score a try. First you start out in solo mode and help Abbi hit a bong, play Lincoln and try and put Ilana’s tooth back in her mouth, chow down on Abbi’s chocolate cake as Bevers by feverishly tapping, keep Ilana comfortable during one of her classic bathroom stall naps, and much more. No better time-wasting game has been made in the history of mobile gaming. It’s like taking the red pill from Alice in Wonderland, except instead of going down the rabbit hole you end up in a trippy New York City with your fantasy squad.

    Aside from the sheer addictive nature of Broad City: High Score, the game itself looks beautiful. Remember the “Mushrooms” episode of Broad Cityseason 4? It’s totally reminiscent of that. For a mobile game, the art is extremely vibrant and detailed, it’ll have you thinking you’ve caught a second-hand high from the Broad Cityduo.

    Broad City: High Score is a chance to give the amazing Broad City fans a fully immersive experience into Abbi and Ilana’s world. The game was developed by Built Games LLC, veteran game developers based out of Los Angeles, California.

    Sadly, Broad City is currently on hiatus but is set to return for it’s fifth and final season in 2019. But don’t worry, you can escape into Broad City: High Score and get high with Abbi and Ilana until then.