Above: The fan translators appear to have taken some liberties with the script
Ever wonder what Hideo Kojima was up to during those brief moments in time that he wasn't churning out Metal Gear games? Well, during one of these interludes, he put out Policenauts, a sci-fi point-and-click adventure. Featuring a tightly woven narrative, beautiful artwork and a soundtrack notable enough to be featured as iPod music in Metal Gear Solid 4, it's an awesome game that, while already available on the Japanese PSN since 2008, is overdue for a translation and US release.
Ape Escape centers around a 10-year-old boy's attempt to stop time-traveling monkeys from taking over the world. You want to know the funny thing? The story almost makes more sense than those of many more “serious” games. Armed with an arsenal of wacky gizmos, you have to platform-hop your way through a series of stages, capturing evil henchmonkeys as you go. Who'da thunk you get could so much mileage out of chasing zoo animals with a net? The game is already available in Japan, but the rest of world still waits.
If there is any game series responsible for the spread of breast-jiggle physics, Dead or Alive is it. Whether or not that's something to be proud of is up for debate, but the DOA games have generally been good, and the original was no exception. Featuring a fighting system reminiscent of Virtua Fighter, it's at least worth playing. Besides, wouldn't it be nice to partake in a piece of gaming history, even if that bit of history has to do with jiggling cleavage? Dead or Alive is available to Japanese PSN users (are we seeing a pattern here?), so a worldwide release shouldn't be out of the question.
MDK was one of the goofiest shooting games ever made, putting you in control of alien-fighting janitor Kurt Hectic, who’d been strapped with a bizarre gun-helmet and sent to liberate Earth by his mad-scientist boss. MDK (which stood for “Mission: Deliver Kindness”) was defined just as much by its oddity as it was by its fast-paced, third-person shooter action. Adorned with actually funny humor, one of the earliest instances of a sniper-zoom feature and weapons that included the World’s Smallest Nuclear Explosion, MDK proved without a doubt that one need not be a buff, bald space marine to fight aliens.
While for many, the end-all-be-all of strategy RPGs is Final Fantasy Tactics, there are quite a few other franchises that have done quality things with the genre. Vandal Hearts is such a game, combining stellar turn-based gameplay and blood-spraying kills with an interesting story based mainly around political backstabbing. Vandal Hearts may not have ingrained itself in the hearts of gamers like FF Tactics did, but it's still worth checking out if you missed it the first time.
The worst day of your life could be anything. For Japanese salaryman Taneo and his family, it's Grandma's birthday that earns the unfortunate moniker. It starts off like any normal day, but quickly enough, things go to hell as random and nonsensical things beset the family. What form do these bizarre happenings take? Why, minigames, of course! Dancing, quiz-games and straightforward button-mashing make Incredible Crisis an experience all but defined by the weird and unexpected. But what a joy it was. While not the longest of games, Incredible Crisis offered enough personality to make it worth playing, and for the right price, we'd be willing to play it again. If only PSN would accommodate us.
Considered by many to be the Metal Gear Solid of RPGs, Vagrant Story ditched the sometimes goofy and over-the-top stories of other JRPGs for a complex, dark plot of conspiracy, manipulation and betrayal. Vagrant Story was a brilliant game adorned with state-of-the-art graphics, a solid music score and, above all else, a deep combat system that would often trounce gamers who tried to just drift their way through it. Still not impressed? Vagrant Story is the only PSOne game to earn a perfect score in Famitsu, and holds an overall score of 92 at Metacritic. The only thing more unfortunate than its non-presence on PSN is the fact that protagonist Ashley Riot spends the majority of the game wearing assless chaps. Where were the fashion police on that one?
Back in the day, when RPGs were all about taking down some unimaginable evil, the idea of a role-playing game based around farming and finding a wife was fresh and unique. Fast-forward a bit, and not much has changed with Harvest Moon. You farm, you wed, and when the newest game comes along, you do it all over again. Rune Factory changed things up a bit by letting you whack monsters with a sword, but even so, stagnancy is a word too many people associate with this series. Well, screw them! Farming is fun, and a lot of people can still appreciate the simple joys of tilling a field. That's why we need Harvest Moon on PSN. Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and Back to Nature for Girls are both available in Japan as we speak, so why is the rest of the world being left out?
Breath of Fire is another one of those series that just never seems to get the attention it deserves. The games were excellent, and they put on a good show, but like a barbershop quartet opening for the Beatles, they are forgotten in favor of bigger and better things. Breath of Fire IV was similarly a quality game that you don't hear much about anymore. It received high marks across the board, and yet there has been no clamor to re-release it in any form. Well, we want it and we want it now. And just for kicks, it would be nice if we could see an uncensored English version this time around. We're tired of all these bathhouse and mooning scenes getting torn from our games! Don't know what we're referencing? That's probably because you too busy with other games to care!
One of the grandpapas of real time strategy games, Command and Conquer introduced the gaming world to the seemingly endless war between the GDI and Nod forces. Though a bit basic by modern RTS standards, Command and Conquer still rocks if you enjoy the simple idea of building a base and defending it. Just pray to God those Nod bastards don't develop a nuke, or you and your dinky GDI ion cannon will be screwed. Because it's still fun to mow down an army of grunts with a flame-throwing tank, Command and Conquer needs to hit PSN internationally. Oddly enough, Europe’s PSN already has it. Way to break the pattern, guys. Can the rest of us have it, please?
Nov 4, 2009
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