After all its different incarnations, Nintendo apparently felt Tetris needed a face-lift as much as Leatherface does. The New Tetris, as it's called, is probably the biggest conceptual departure from the original Tetris theme that any "Tetris" game has gotten. Since it's inception, Tetris has been about clearing the most lines and getting the highest numerical score to see who is the best. In The New Tetris, a high score is still desirable, but it is tallied differently; the actual number of lines cleared are the focus and not points given for each, as in the original.
Shifting the focus over to building world wonders with lines accrued makes The New Tetris the first Tetris in the franchise to reach 'biblical' proportions. Why 'biblical'? Because the sheer amount of effort it takes to build one of these mammoths made me feel like I actually was a slave in Egypt!
PaRappa was the first music-based video game to hit the market and when gamers took to it right away, it changed just about everything in the industry.
While I agree with some of Dale's gripes, I had a slightly more positive reaction to Lammy. Many of my own initial complaints stemmed more from the start of the game, which seems to mirror PaRappa too closely.
When I found out Chi was going to review this game, I laughed. Movie licenses have had a history of failing miserably when ported over to video games and with the exception of GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64, I had little reason to believe this trend was going to change.
Only in this day and age could a game of such amalgamated ideas like Aliens Versus Predator (AvP) exist. But did the game take its creative direction from the six movies featuring the two sci-fi antagonists, or was it the never-developed screenplay for the vapor film (of the same name) that never materialized? What about the series of Dark Horse comics? Then again, wasn't there already an AvP game for the underachieving Atari Jaguar system?
To speak of Pokémon Snap's far-reaching appeal, I must mention that the Bronx Zoo angle came to me and Chi separately. I first thought that a photo-journalistic approach (linking the experience to bird watching) was the most fitting comparison. Like bird watching, photographing the Pokémon in their natural environments was key and getting a nice big shot of a rare Pokémon was like finding gold.
Fair criticism usually benefits from having extensive experience in the particular subject leading to a more knowledgeable (and less emotional) perspective. But every now and then, something like Pokémon Snap comes along that so defies normal conventions (of the videogame world) that it leaves critics baffled as to how to justifiably critique it.
When the original Ridge Racer was released on the then newborn PlayStation, it impressed me as a graphical wonder and was an excellent showcase for the system. However, I was then a Nintendo loyalist so I didn't admit my opinion of the game too loudly. In fact, I avoided the game and the PlayStation like the plague. But fortunately now in 1999, I have outgrown my devout system loyalty and it seems only fitting that I am reviewing R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (R4) since it may be the last installation of the series on the PlayStation. The next one is expected to migrate to the yet-to-be-named next generation Sony system.
Over the years, I became an extremely harsh critic of the series' lack of innovation, and when it came time to review R4, I was not a happy camper. Yet this time around, things were different. It certainly helped that it has been a long hiatus since the last incarnation, but I think it had more to do with my own personal maturity, and new-found understanding of the business world.