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    Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on March 6th, 2009

    There haven’t been many compilation discs out for the 360 yet. There were the Orange Box and a few Xbox Live Arcade compilation discs. There was also Namco Museum Virtual Arcade which despite the plethora of titles wasn’t much more than a bunch of Xbox Live Arcade games and some retro titles thrown in for the nostalgia factor. Most of us retro purists were waiting for a compilation title that put together not only classic games but blended it with the new technology into an invigorating harmony. Our time has come in the form of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.
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    World of Warcraft – Wrath of the Lich King (CE)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on December 12th, 2008

    The World of Warcraft is home to over eleven million people. Think about that figure for a moment. That’s the size of an Ohio or Michigan or even more astounding parallel to the number of people inside Tokyo, Japan. A bunch of people playing gnomes, trolls, orcs, night elves and more. For four years, players have battled through the original World of Warcraft and the adjoining expansion pack: The Burning Crusade which allowed characters to play in Outland and bring their character to 70 levels of pain, sacrifice and dedication. Now they have a new task. The Scourge has come to take over Azeroth and bring an end to all life. They are lead by the Lich King Arthas and nothing will stop them until their mission is completed. This opens up players to a whole new area called Northrend as well as bringing us a new class: the Death Knight. But is it enough to stop the forwarding advance of the Scourge Army and Arthas’ quest for blood?
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    Fallout 3 (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on November 24th, 2008

    The original Fallout 3 was held in the firm hands of Interplay Entertainment under the working title of Van Buren. Developed by Black Isle Studios, that title never saw the light of the day when Interplay Entertainment went bankrupt and laid off the entire PC development team in late 2003. In 2007, Interplay sold the rights to the Fallout franchise to Bethesda who had developed the popular Elder Scrolls series. Bethesda scrapped the original code and worked on the project from scratch. It paid homage to many Fallout concepts and Fallout 3 saw gold in 2008. It was a long five years between the layoff of the original creators and the company who ultimately got the right to release the game. Was it worth the wait?
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    Fable II LE (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on November 14th, 2008

    In 2004, the world received a top notch role playing game in the form of the original Fable for first Xbox console. It promised a lot of things, ideas and concepts that were sure to revolutionize the gaming world. The crew at Lionhead studios delivered on most of those promises and the game went well over double platinum. Among many things it promised, one of these was a true concept of good and evil. Every action has a reaction whether positive or negative. It was this concept and others that were expanded when it came to the making of Fable II. The game is dubbed by its designer Peter Molyneux as a game that even non-gamers should be able to enjoy. To be honest, he doesn’t even want traditional game reviewers to review the game. Lucky for him, tradition and me broke ties a long time ago.
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    Rocket Bowl (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on September 30th, 2008

    The greatest game I ever bowled was probably around 180. A far cry from the perfect 300 but a decent game nevertheless. Most bowling video games are extremely simple in scope. Pick up a ball, roll it down the lane and see what pins drop. Sometimes you get to choose the curve of your ball and even the weight. But that is honestly about it. So when I saw that there was a new bowling game on Xbox Live Arcade, I didn’t think anything of it. However, once I tried the demo I realized this was something different. A game that blended bowling with miniature golf and created something kinda unique. I was so intrigued by the demo, I ended up coughing up the 800 points to make a review.

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    Lego Batman (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on September 29th, 2008

    The Dark Knight movie did big business this year and most people were quite surprised there was no official video game for the movie. Anybody who was looking for a Batman fix after the movie either paid $8 to see the movie again or tried to re-enact scenes with their best friends in their basement. However, there was a little relief to be had. The wonderful teams behind Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones decided to go to market with a Lego Batman game. But instead of focusing on the recent movies such as Batman Begins & The Dark Knight they moved their focus to the past. Their inspiration seemed to come from the first 2 Batman films with Michael Keaton and a strong dash of the awesome animated series that ran during the same time period. Would Lego’s humor and strong gameplay succeed or would the jokes go as sour as any thought of Robin in a future Batman movie (especially one with Christian Bale)?

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    Fable 2 Pub Games (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on August 18th, 2008

    Fable II will become a reality on October 21st, 2008. The game promises to be even better than the first Fable which won game of the year awards on several sites. Fable was actually the first non-360 game I bought upon purchase of my Xbox 360. It is still my favorite non-360 game for my Xbox 360 to this date due to the rich graphics, intriguing storyline and variety. So when Fable II broke ground by announcing a set of three parlor gambling games were coming to Xbox Live Arcade, I jumped at the chance. My pre-order with Amazon was an automatic and my free code was soon sent to me. I was ready to start collecting items & turning some gold into much needed experience.

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    World Heroes Anthology (Playstation 2)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on June 12th, 2008

    World Heroes. When I was a teenager, one of my favorite games was World Heroes 2 for the Super Nintendo. I remember it distinctly because it was one of the last games I bought brand new for the SNES. I played the game for hours, then days and even into many assorted weeks trying to exploit all the characters from my favorites like Rasputin, Muscle Power, & Kim Dragon to even lesser characters like Johnny Maximum or Erick the Viking. With the exception of Mudman, (I never played Mudman and I’m still annoyed when fighting him to this very day) I beat the game with each and every character. This is one of my prouder achievements when it comes to fighting games, and with the exception of the Tekken series or compilations, the last fighting game I’ve really played for such a long stretch.
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    SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 (Playstation 2)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on May 28th, 2008

    The Neo-Geo console was one of my favorite consoles growing up. My parents never had the money for the home machine or the outrageously priced carts. However, that did not keep me from spending many quarters on the standups day in and day out. Most of my Neo Geo quarters were thrown into games such as Ninja Combat, Sengoku and Magician Lord. The rich graphics, the ahead of its time gameplay were all amazing beyond belief. Almost twenty years later, SNK decides to make a happy man. Sixteen classics on a single dvd for my Playstation 2 console. Furthermore, they went and released it in the $20 price range. Very very happy.

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    Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on March 26th, 2008

    A cold day in Vegas no more. Hopefully over the short vacation, you have had time to hit the slots, schmooze the local women and even rubbing your barrel a little more than you should. Why you ask? Because Rainbow Six, Vegas style is back. That’s right; more taking cover and sneaking around killing terrorists in the land that never sleeps. Apparently the rent on the automatic terrorist prevention machines was a little high and so they have asked for your MTar firing, Flashbang throwing behind to lead the charge once again. Rainbow Six Vegas 2 takes back your 360 and hopefully sends us more than new maps and some spit and polish.

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    The Spiderwick Chronicles (PC)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on March 7th, 2008

    Movie games are interesting, let’s put it that way. A game usually comes out for a movie if it is adventure oriented and at least some kid will be interested in it. However, it’s rarely ground breaking since it is usually left until the last minute and a rush project to meet demand. Once in a while, you get something that is a little different or at least interesting but more often than not it’s standard questing fare with dull objectives and a way to rehash most of the movie. Spiderwick Chronicles for the PC is unfortunately just that. There are a few spots where it performs above the norm but mostly it is your standard movie game aimed to draw in the kids. But at least this keeps them occupied for a few days.

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    Harry Potter – Hogwarts Challenge (Interactive DVD Game)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on March 4th, 2008

    Harry Potter is awesome. I have thoroughly enjoyed every movie and own all of the 2-disc special editions. I even have taken the time to play a couple of Harry Potter games on the Playstation 2 and found them to be decent offerings despite the usual rushed movie game flaws. So, needless to say I was slightly interested when I received a dvd remote game with Harry Potter on the cover and wondered if a dvd remote game could finally be any good. After spending a few hours with the product, you as the reader have two decisions. 1)You can read this review that will be full of one-liners and reasons why whoever came up with the concept of dvd remote games should be shot or 2)You can trust me when I say this, don’t waste your time on this, please.

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    NeoGeo Battle Coliseum (Playstation 2)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on January 9th, 2008

    Some of my favorite fighting games include the likes of Marvel vs Capcom 2, X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marvel vs Street Fighter, etc. The appeal of these games was simple, fun fast arcade gameplay with cool easily-known characters (I did always have a fondness for Gambit). Along those lines, SNK was introduced into the series as a logical step around 1999 in the game series SNK vs Capcom. After SNK filed for bankruptcy in 2000, the company re-formed and was called SNK Playmore. In 2005, SNK Playmore decided to bring out a game that played very much to the old versus games in NeoGeo Battle Coliseum. In the last breath of 2007, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum makes it to the states for the Playstation 2 system. Now in my greedy little hands, I explore the game and see if it stands up as a true fighter.

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    All Pro Football 2k8 (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on January 2nd, 2008

    This coming weekend will be the start of the NFL Playoffs and the end of college football. Most people are drawn to play a football game of some sort at this time. Whether it would be an old classic or the newest Madden title, we feel the need to be close to the action. Some of us just really don’t care that the Patriots might end up 19-0 and win the SuperBowl and would rather simulate some other scenario. That’s why I chose to bring you a football review at this time of the year rather than the beginning of football year like most other columnists.
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    Fire Pro Wrestling Returns (Playstation 2)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on December 9th, 2007

    Wrestling games are near and dear to my heart. From the first time I played Pro Wrestling for Nintendo or WWF Wrestlefest at the arcade, I knew I would be playing wrestling games as long as my fingers could mash the buttons. I’ve played some of the greatest wrestling games (Smackdown 2, Touken Retsuden 3) and some of the worst (WCW Nitro, ECW Hardcore Revolution). The Fire Pro series I’ve had a long relationship with. It’s been love/hate mostly. I want to love it but I find myself more often than not hating the interface and struggling to play it. I’ve bought all three import games for the Turbo Graphix 16 system and the Fire Pro (6 man scramble) game that was released for Sega Saturn. However, when Agetec announced that they would be releasing it for the stateside Playstation 2, I was very interested. Maybe since I didn’t have to import it, I would finally be able to see the menus in English and figure out the difficult interface. Every wrestling fanboy would tell me that it was the greatest thing ever. But what would I think?

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    The Orange Box (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on November 26th, 2007

    Some of my most enjoyable gaming experiences have been with gaming compilations. “More bang for your buck” is the familiar slogan used to describe these games. Traditionally, these compilations show up late in console’s life cycle in order to re-sell old titles that couldn’t probably sell on their own. So needless to say the Orange Box surprised me on a couple of fronts. The 360 isn’t an ancient or dying system by any means. Furthermore, by combining Half Life 2, the two sequels, Portal and Team Fortress 2 you bring together a package that from initial glance looks to be five great games in one. However, are these five games as vast as one would hope or instead are these five games that should have stayed on the pc to collect dust and be riddled about in debates about the best pc shooter to date?

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    Guitar Hero 3 (Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on November 4th, 2007

    Some games take time to gain acceptance. This game started out a fledging curiosity, now the obsession has hit and everybody wants to play air guitar except with the a controller shaped like one. The game is Guitar Hero 3. This is the first installment that has hit every major console at the same time. This also marks the first time where they really pushed the concept of actual guitarists and musicians coming out to help such as Bret Michaels, Slash and the Sex Pistols. Some would describe it as a sell out especially since the team that made the original Guitar Hero was busy making Rock Band and the reins were left to Neversoft. How would they fare; could they possibly mess up what made the first two Guitar Heros so great?

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    Puzzle Quest (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on October 28th, 2007

    Some things just go together. Like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Sonny & Cher, Siskel & Ebert (okay, not so much). Puzzle Quest brings something together in complete harmony like no other game before it. Puzzles and Role Playing Games. Sure the Zelda or Breath of Fire series have puzzles in the game, but we are talking full integration where every battle is decided in a Bejeweled-like interface. Complete with mounts, spells, and other rpg-like elements; this could be the best idea of putting things together since I tried fritos and cream cheese. (Come on, you know you are curious)

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    Halo 3 (Limited Edition)(Xbox 360)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on October 3rd, 2007

    Halo 3, the hype machine; have you drank the kool-aid, errr the Game Fuel yet? In the midst of a media storm and $170 million opening week sales, Halo 3 was released to the public in three different versions. For most people, the regular edition was enough to satisfy. Some like myself opted for the limited edition, which includes a tin and a bonus disc. Others decided they wanted a Master Chief helmet and opted for the legendary. No matter which edition you decided on, you were more interested in the amazing gameplay & multiplayer from the previous incantations. By the time it takes to come down from the caffeine buzz generated by the mixture of code red & live wire (& cough syrup I believe), though, you realize that Halo 3 — while awesome on many fronts — isn’t quite the mega-wonder we all had hoped for.

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    Bomberman Live (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on September 23rd, 2007

    Bomberman has long been a friend of mine. I spent most of the early to mid 90’s playing either the original Bomberman or Bomberman ’93 for the Turbo Graphix 16 System. I played each until their eventual conclusion and then wouldn’t touch them for years. So when there was word that a Bomberman game would come to Xbox Live I was very excited. But at the same time I was very skeptical. So skeptical, it took me about two months to download it and the accompanying first expansion pack. However, what came out of it was quite possibly the best multiplayer Xbox Live Arcade game of all time and one of the best reasons to own an Xbox 360 that doesn’t involve a first person shooter.

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    Spyglass Board Games (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on August 7th, 2007

    Simplicity takes time. That’s the only logical explanation as to why a chess game has not appeared on XBOX Live Arcade until the team @ Freeverse & Strange Flavour decided to release some popular board games for us to enjoy. The give us Checkers, Mancala, Reversi as well as Chess for a very tidy 400 Microsoft Points ($5). While the release is far from perfect, it is one of those cases where we take what we can get.

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    Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s (Playstation 2)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on July 29th, 2007

    Guitar Hero 1 made big business. Guitar Hero 2 made bigger business and became a phenomenon. Due to the success of the first two, Activision decided to release a stand-alone themed Guitar Hero. After some deliberation, it was decided they would release Rocks the 80’s including tunes from my favorite decade. Included in that decade is my favorite type of music which is well represented: hair rock. Long hair, lipstick, blistering guitar solos and high pitched screams. Quite possibly the decade that most had in mind when they first or saw or heard about Guitar Hero. The Red Octane team was taking a chance on a smaller setlist but possibly paving the way for future themed releases. I am happy to say that the effort is a great step in the right direction but not one without bumps in the road.


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    Catan (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on May 30th, 2007

    Opening

    Board Games can be great experiences for families and friends to come together and enjoy themselves. A dice roll, a few spaces moved on the gameboard, and some money gained or paid are all sometimes a game needs. Up until May of this year there had not been any board games for XBOX Live Arcade. There had been a good handful of card games but nothing like Monopoly, Scrabble, or even Chess (there was Backgammon but who actually plays Backgammon?). That changed when …
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    Mortal Kombat Armageddon (Xbox)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on May 24th, 2007

    Opening

    ROUND ONE, FIGHT. I’m something of a Mortal Kombat junkie especially in my younger days. I started playing the original arcade game when I was very young and played 2 (still the best to date), 3, dealt with 4 and even dabbled in Deception. I adored the movies, though for obvious reasons I was poed at some parts of the second movie but still liked it. I even bought one of those silly MK controllers for the Playstation 2 (Scorpion naturally). So when I heard that the…
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    Aegis Wing (Xbox Live Arcade)

    Posted in Game Reviews by Michael Durr on May 21st, 2007

    Opening

    I guess I’m a sucker for old school shooters. When I was a little chap, it was about the vertical shooters like Galaga and Centipede. As I grew older, I found myself starting to lean towards the horizontal shooters as well including R-Type. However, I did not find myself playing a shooter from start to finish until I came upon a game for the Turbo Duo (Turbo Graphix 16 w/super cd attachment). Actually it was the pack-in for the system. That game was Gates of Thund…
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