Showing posts with label Kiss Psycho Circus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kiss Psycho Circus. Show all posts

Immortals. Well, almost.

Well hello! Some good news arrived in my inbox today. It’s not really Dreamcast related, but it’s related to this, the hallowed Dreamcast Junkyard, so by tenuous association I suppose it is Dreamcast related. Kind of. Enough preamble though! Basically, a few months ago I got wind of a project being undertaken by the British Library, a project called the UK Web Archive which is trying to archive websites which may, in years to come, provide a valuable snapshot of life in the UK during the ‘digital revolution.’ Now, I know that we here at the DCJY are an international line-up, but I reckon with our blue-toned hues and PAL-centric banter, we are as good a games-related entry into the Video Games heritage category as anyone, what with our own irreverent brand of humour-tinged yet informative drivel. Cough. So anyway, what I'm trying to say is that the UK Web Archive accepted my nomination for the DCJY to be inducted into, and as such we shall live on forever like Gods of the interweb. More info? Of course! Go here.

The real reason for today’s post isn’t the immortalisation of our favourite Dreamcast portal though, oh no. It’s because I've got some new shit to drop off into the gaping chasm that is the ‘Yard. Four new games, to be precise. Here:

Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 1

Midway. Remember them? Ah...halcyon days. Hydro Thunder, the San Francisco Rush series, Cruis’n USA...actually, forget the last one. And San Francisco Rush (although Rush 2 & 2049 weren't bad). Hydro Thunder was balls out awesome though. But before all that outrageousness, Midway was a powerhouse that released some of the most important games of the 1980s. And with Midway’s Arcade Hits Volume 1, you can play them all...well, 6 of them, on your god-damned Dreamcast! The games themselves (Defender, Defender 2, Robotron, Joust, Sinistar and Bubbles) are all pretty well emulated (I’d imagine, having never played the arcade versions of any of them), and Defender 2 in particular is a pretty fun game. I used to have Defender 2000 on the Jaguar so I knew how it played...and it’s still great even today. Bit infuriating at times...but not as infuriating as Flashback. The game that made me throw my only Jaguar joypad at the wall and smash it to smithereens, which then resulted in me having to order a new pad from some US mail order company and wait a month for it to get delivered. Damn you, Flashback. Damn you Conrad Hart and your inability to fucking roll under a barrier when I tell you too
Check out the particles on that! Particles!
Going back to Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits Volume 1 though, there is one criticism I have with it: the presentation. I don’t mean with the actual games themselves – I expected them to look like ass compared to the average ‘proper’ DC game...but my God the menus are awful! I seem to recall Namco Museum on PSX having some kind of 3D arcade that you walked around in first person, and you could select which game you wanted to play by approaching the cabinet (am I imagining that?!), but here you just get a static screen showing an insultingly low-res bitmap of the arcade machines in a row. You just have to move the ‘highlight’ between the machines and press start. Jesus Midway – talk about bargain basement production values! If there was anyone still working for Midway I’d probably send them a strongly-worded letter about that. But yeah, the games themselves are all perfectly acceptable if you’re after some nostalgia. Apparently there’s a second edition of Midway’s Greatest Arcade Hits that includes Paperboy and Spy Hunter. Intriguing. Rumours of a third edition featuring War Gods and WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game are, thankfully, unconfirmed.

NFL Blitz 2000

Keeping with the Midway theme, the next game is the rather bizarre NFL Blitz 2000. A strange re-imagining of American football, where the rules have been tweaked (I think/hope) to allow for a more surreal experience. I don’t know the first thing about American football other than it’s a bit like rugby and all the payers dress like they’re in Legion of Doom...and they don’t really kick the ball with their feet very much. There’s something called ‘first and down’ (so I hear) and it stops every 20 seconds for a time-out. I've seen plenty of really good films about American football – that one with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Scorpion King in it was rather good, as was the one about the guy who gets shot on the pitch...or are they the same film? I can’t remember. Speaking of American sports I don’t have a clue about but made a good movie, I watched Money Ball the other day. Jonah Hill doesn't do anything funny in it and Brad Pit isn't playing Tyler Durden, but it’s a good film. I reckon if the real-life version of NFL was like Blitz, I’d be more inclined to seek out and watch a few games – it’s full of over-the-top tackles, flaming footballs and Probably one for people who know how the game actually works, but still fairly entertaining if you persist with it.

See - 3rd and 21. Makes total sense.

NFL Quarterback Club

Urgh. More American football. But without the flaming balls. From what I can tell, NFL Quarterback club is simply a conversion of the N64 game of the same name, but because the graphics have hardly been updated (just hi-res-ified), it actually looks worse. Acclaim did some pretty impressive stuff with the N64 hardware (just look at All Star Baseball, Turok and the Extreme G series*), but all they've done with NFL QBC is take the N64 game, remove the fuzz and add a bit of extra commentary. And it shows – the graphics, while sharp, are horrible. And again, while I reiterate my complete ignorance when it comes to American football, I know what a good game looks like. Look at NFL 2K – it looks incredible compared to Quarterback Club. I can’t really comment on how it plays as a simulation of the actual sport because (yet again...sorry) I find it impenetrable...but the aesthetics appal me. Be gone, NFL Quarterback Club.
Charlie, I know how you feel

Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child

A first person shooter in which you play as members of the metal band Kiss. Is there anything more to say? I think Father K reviewed this little oddity a few years back, but what the hell – here’s another look at it. The story is pretty stupid and the manual features several introductory chapters that explain everything...but it’s a cringe inducing trip to cliché-ville in which your band arrives at a club to find it deserted...and some demon has spawned a ‘Nightmare Child’...and you have to stop it by wandering around punching and shooting demons in the face. You play as the different members of Kiss and get to do all this whilst rocking out to actual Kiss music, which is nice if you like that sort of thing. I'm more of a Motion City Soundtrack kinda guy myself, but I don’t think they released Motion City Soundtrack Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child in this dimension or any other, so I'm left wanting. Probably wouldn't feature demons either – it’d just have you wandering around punching and shooting pretentious students in ‘cool’ clothes. The graphics aren't bad in Psycho Circus and the frame rate licks along at a decent and consistent’s just that the whole game is a little boring. 

Better ring DIY SOS
The environments are a little sparse and the range of weapons is pretty limited, and compared to other DC shooters it feels a little flat (especially next to say, Outtrigger or Soldier of Fortune), but yeah – there’s nothing massively offensive about the game as a whole. Interestingly, on page 5 of the manual there’s a little diagram of a joystick called the ‘Panther XL,’ but I‘d never heard of such a device. Upon Googling it though, it appears that there was such a monstrous thing actually constructed and available to buy:
"The Wii U Tablet Controller ain't got shit...on me"

How I’d never heard of this thing, I don’t know. I looks a little cumbersome, but Take 2 Interactive obviously thought that it may improve the average gamer’s Kiss Psycho Circus experience enough to include it in the manual, and who am I to argue? Nobody, that’s who. Maybe if I had a Panther XL, I’d be raving about how great Kiss Psycho Circus is, instead of just nodding, smiling politely and then moving on to find something more interesting to do. Like make a cup of tea. Which is what I'm off to do now.

* I know these games were actually developed by Iguana...but Acclaim/Iguana...same difference.

Kiss Psycho Circus - Videogame Torture

I've played some great games on a variety of systems so far this year - Resident Evil 5, Gears Of War 2, Left 4 Dead, God Of War, Resident Evil (remake), House Of the Dead Overkill, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, and so on... But in every gamers life comes the need to reconnect with his Dreamcast, and most recently I decided to do this via the unholy game mentioned above.

Thus, I've played/endured a Dreamcast game called Kiss Psycho Circus: the Nightmare Child. And what a fucking nightmare it was...

If you look at the sidebar of the Dreamcast Junkyard, you'll see a section devoted to Tomleecee's Dreamcast reviews. In there, is a review of Kiss Psycho Circus, which says: "This game is appalling. Rubbish graphics, rubbish design, just plain rubbish." I should have heeded the words of our leader, instead I chose to recklessly ignore them.

I'd played it a little way back in the day, and my hazy memory recalled it as being a little bit different to anything I'd seen before. It was, in fact, the first the first FPS I'd ever played. But some sort of software or hardware glitch had cut my playing experience short. Six or so years later, I decided to give it a go for the second time...

So what is this monstrosity all about then? Ostensibly a first person shooter/mythical quest type thing, the game has very tenuous links to the rock legends Kiss. In fact it's got more to do with a comic: "KISS: Psycho Circus chronicles the adventures of an unusual traveling circus. The macabre stories focus on exploring the deepest, darkest corners of the human soul." (according to Image Comics.)

So what's it got to do with the band then? (initially the main selling point for me - who doesn't like spandex and stage make up???)

Well, fuck all really! You might find a jukebox or stereo which will play a Kiss song. As the player, you go around collecting pieces of Kiss costumes... Ace Frehley's platform boots, Gene Simmon's shoulder pads or Peter Criss's cod-piece. There are rumours on the internet that if you put the GD rom in your PC that you'll get a Kiss pinball game - not true. There are also rumours that if you put the GD rom in a CD player, it'll play a few classic Kiss tunes -also not true. You do, however get a very snotty sounding English lady telling you take the disc out of your CD player, as it's only compatable with the Dreamcast (!) which is quite surreal...

The game ends up being a very tedious run through of a middle of the road, dated, FPS. Some of the game's monsters are pretty well designed, some of the landscapes boldly coloured in psychedelic hues, which make it alright to look at for a while, and graphically lies at a kind of cross between Half Life and the more trippy boss levels in NiGHTS. Having said that, why when some publishers were able to come up with graphics as good as Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, Code Veronica or Headhunter, did so many Dreamcast software publishers settle for knocking out games which look average, like Death Crimson OX, or this one?

The game gives you nothing for your dogged completion of levels. No 'easter eggs', interesting cut scenes, hidden mini games or unlockables. If you die you get put back a long way, meaning the necessity of replaying of elements of the game over, and over, and over again. The story is literally one of the most convoluted pieces of bullshit ever, one that I can't be bothered to relate. The cutscenes that are in the game are minimal, there's nothing to collect and the boss battles are never really going to inspire. After literally hours of playing through seventeen, long, long levels, the game just fizzled out with one of the most boring and simple boss fights ever. Nothing memorable at all.

I was hoping for a Dreamcast revelation, a repeat of the joy I found when I played 'SOTB: Gut's Rage' last year, or completing Headhunter earlier this year. But the only joy I had from completing this game is knowing that I beat it, completed it and I'll never have to play this particular piece of crapola again!