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?
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.
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.
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.
Mario Golf is filled with tons of features and options (Mini-Golf and Get Character modes were my favorites) to the point where the instruction manual seemed more like an encyclopedia of golfing. There's pretty much something for everyone whether you're entertaining a house full of guests who are hard-core gamers or newbies alike, or if you're just going at it solitaire.
Mario Golf is such a surprise that I feared I couldn't write this review and do it justice.
The greatest accomplishment of Pokémon Pinball was that it made me forget I was playing a pinball game. I have never liked pinball games and even after playing Pokémon Pinball, I still don't like them, but I am always happy to pick up Pokémon Pinball. It must be that organic feel to the game that Chi talked about because Pokémon Pinball certainly feels more personal than the mechanical ones.
After playing the game a while, it's not hard to see why Nintendo transposed the Pokémon franchise to this format. Traditionally, pinball games contain various puzzles in the form of complex mouse trap-like contraptions scattered across the playing board.
The so-called mature premise of Kingpin revolves around a fallen gangster who is now out for revenge and domination over the underworld. No heroic macho lead character or buxom heroine here, just a thug out to do no good. While politically incorrect, it's certainly conceptually interesting and has a similar appeal to films like GoodFellas and Pulp Fiction, which also revolve around bad people doing bad things.