GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Haunting Starring Polterguy Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 31 Oct 2017 11:00 AM PDT

Haunting Sega Review

Haunting Starring Polterguy is a unique title for the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis. Whereas typically in games it's best to avoid troublesome ghosts, in this you get to play as one! After being hit by a truck while on a faulty skateboard, the kid you play as (Polterguy) decides to seek revenge on the manufacturer and his family, known as the Sardini's. I'm not sure why he wasn't just looking where he was going, why he didn't decide to target the lorry driver instead or why Vito (the Father) looks like Alan Partridge on the European cover art, but I guess it doesn't matter too much. The game explains the basic premise with typical early 90s "radical" attitude. Bart Simpson was all the rage back then and while Bill and Ted tried to teach us to all to "be excellent to each other", it's much more fun to be mischievous. You're given a quick tutorial of how to interact with objects and scare the family, and this is what the game is all about. At the bottom of the screen you have an "Ecto Meter" which keeps track of all your ectoplasm. Over time, this depletes slowly, but you can collect more for each time you scare a family member as they leave the room. The goal is to cause all of the Sardini's to run out of the house screaming and have a lot of fun doing so. The sheer number of objects you can interact with is really impressive. Once you've scared everyone out of the house, the Sardini family move into a new home and you get to do it all over again. There's 4 in total to play through with a boss at the very end. Each house has a different layout with new objects to interact with. You won't get a chance to use all of them in your first playthrough, which is what gives this game it's core replay value. Trust me, you'll want to try and see everything! Where this game doesn't do so well is when you run out of ectoplasm. Unfortunately it takes you to an underworld dungeon where you must collect more ecto to refill your meter, avoiding enemies or you will die. This is the only way you can die, even though you're technically dead already...?! You can also find some power-ups here later on which can prove useful, such as items to distract the family dog, replenish your ecto meter or leave a super scary gift for the family. The worst part of these areas is the jump mechanic. For some reason if you jump too near a wall you bounce away from it which can be really frustrating. The final boss exists in this area at the end of the game and the aiming and hit detection for that is also painful to endure. The controls in general are quite "floaty", but this is forgivable seeing as you play as a ghost. One other thing some people may find slightly annoying is that when you scare a family member out of a room, you have no real control over which exit they take. Sometimes they can keep going back into the room they were previously in, but they will eventually go a different way if you persevere. Interestingly, there is a 2 player mode. You must take it in turns to try and scare the family out in as quick a time as possible. If the times are the same, the winner is based on points. The only areas you play alongside each other is in the dungeons, but I guess it's still an interesting feature if you have a friend over, as you'll get the opportunity to see more object interactions in one playthrough, provided they don't just copy all your movements. There's not much in the way of music, possibly due to the fact that there's a lot of sound effects which play a more important role. The main focus here is obviously the gameplay, graphics and animation which this game does really well. It's very impressive for a 16-bit isometric title.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Eternal Champions Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 10 Oct 2017 02:38 AM PDT

Eternal Champions Review

In the early 1990's Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat dominated the fighting game genre, inspiring many developers to try and replicate the successful formula. Sega's attempt was Eternal Champions, which feels like they were aiming for a happy medium by incorporating the best of both franchises, but was it any good? Let's find out in this review... It's clear from the start that this game was not a quick or lazy attempt. Unlike many fighters from around that time, this one has a fairly decent story, with each character having a meaningful backstory and purpose. The basic premise is that the Eternal Champion needs to restore the balance of good and evil, taking nine individuals from various periods in time who were killed before they could have a positive impact on the world. Only one can be resurrected with the knowledge of their fate and how to prevent it, so they must all participate in this tournament for a chance to come out victorious and fulfil their destiny. This was an excellent idea as it allowed for a diverse range of characters and provided a foundation of unlimited possibilities for new ones in future sequels. My personal favourites were Larcen Tyler and Midnight. If you take the time to read through each biography, you're likely to want each one of them to succeed, which is a shame as there can only be one. The graphics are really impressive. While some may find the art style to look a little "grainy", this was a method used to add more depth, light and shade to overcome the Mega Drive's graphical limitations. Everything has a nice level of detail with large sprites and plenty of frames of animation to give it a fluid look and feel. In terms of sound the intro music is fantastic. It's a theme which has stayed with me for years and has aged fairly well. Definitely something I'd like to learn on guitar one day. Sound effects are solid enough and the music is a bit mixed on certain stages, but overall very good. So what about the gameplay? Well, first off, this game is hard as nails! In all my years of owning this, I've never had the skill (or patience) to complete it. I had a quick try while working on this review and no, I still couldn't finish it. I have completed the original Mortal Kombat trilogy of games, Killer Instinct and Street Fighter 2, so I like to think I'm not too bad at fighting games for a frame of reference. For controls, Eternal Champions utilises the six-button pad in the same way as Street Fighter, with light, medium and heavy attacks, holding back to block. One unique mechanic in this game is inner strength, presented as a Yin Yang at the top of the screen next to each player's health metre, which limits the amount of special moves you can perform so you can't just spam your opponent with them. This can be difficult to keep track of in the heat of battle, but fortunately can be turned off in two player mode if you're not a fan of it. If you've only got the traditional three-button pads, you're going to have a hard time as you'll need to use the start button to toggle between kicks and punches for your A, B and C buttons which is far from ideal. Do yourself a favour and invest in two six-button pads if you haven't already. Multiplayer mode is where I'd advise you to spend most of your time. There's the aforementioned two player mode where you can toggle various settings, including the option to enable replays which I was impressed by. You can also fight in the battle room, allowing you to select from various hazards which is quite fun (This is also available in the single player mode) and you can even setup a 32 player tournament if you're having a party, gaming event, or you're slightly insane. You may be wondering where Eternal Champions takes it's inspiration from Mortal Kombat, seeing as so far it looks and feels more like Street Fighter with it's slightly cartoony art style, button layout and fighting mechanics. Well, this game has stage fatalities, which is calls Overkills. For some reason this non-gory game takes a bit of a dark turn if you happen to be standing in just the right place as you take that final blow. It's a pretty rare occurrence in the natural flow of combat and I'm not really sure why they felt the need to add them, other than to be a pretty cool and unexpected surprise. It's a bit gimmicky, some people may argue they're a little out of place, but as someone who grew up on the Mortal Kombat series as a kid, this was a fun addition for me. Eternal Champions is an easy recommendation for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, despite it's difficult and cheap AI in single player mode and it's inner strength mechanic. There's a lot more fun to be had with friends, thanks to the ability to toggle settings, view stats and setup tournaments. It's a real shame Sega chose to ditch this series completely for the sake of Virtua Fighter. A good game, but I'd have loved to see how far they could have taken this series. For those interested, a sequel was released for the Mega CD which made numerous improvements and there was even a few spin-offs which weren't so great. My friend Kim Justice did an excellent mini documentary which goes into more detail, which you can view here. If you enjoyed this game, beat the Eternal Champion or played a full 32 player tournament, let me know in the comments below!

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


I’ll Be Attending PLAY Expo 2017!

Posted: 02 Oct 2017 07:31 AM PDT

MyGamerXP at Play Expo 2017

MyGamerXP at Play Expo 2017 I'm happy to announce that I will be attending PLAY Expo in Manchester on Saturday the 14th of October. The event itself runs for the entire weekend and is a great day out for fans of retro gaming, cosplay, upcoming indie games (demo games and talk to the developers!), arcade units, pinball machines, board games and more! The highlights include:

Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 20th Anniversary Panel

"To mark the 20th Anniversary of GoldenEye, we are delighted to welcome five of that original group to talk about the creation of this seminal shooter. The Q&A, hosted by Paul Drury and Martyn Carroll of Retro Gamer magazine, will end with an opportunity for audience members to take on the makers of the game in a multiplayer deathmatch, with prizes".

Psygnosis Panel and Q&A

"We're very excited to be able to announce that we will have a panel talk and Q&A with a number of former Psygnosis team members at PLAY Expo Manchester this October. Psygnosis was formed in 1985, was acquired by Sony Electronic Publishing in 1993 and became SCE Studio Liverpool. The studio closed in 2010 but during their lifetime Psygnosis created and published many iconic games - from 16-bit classics such as Lemmings and Shadow of the Beast through to the massive Wipeout franchise on the PS1 along with G-Police and Colony Wars. A number of former employees will be joining us for the panel - confirmed so far are Mike Clarke, Martin Linklater, Chris Graham and Mike Kaiser with more to be added".

Retro Gaming

"We know one of the biggest draws for attendees to PLAY Expo Manchester is the retro zone so this year we are going to make it even bigger! Last year we ran close to 400 machines across the retro zones - this year we're going for 500 making it the biggest ever collection of retro machines at any UK gaming expo! As well as more retro consoles and computers we'll be bringing back the handhelds section and expanding the classic PC games zone that we introduced last year. Our retro zone is a time slice of the past 40 years of games which will be featuring a number of consoles and computers, each running a selection of the best games for each system. So whether you're Sinclair, Commodore, Nintendo, Sega, Sony or even an Xbox fan, there will be something for everyone. And of course we'll have a selection of games for each system too, so if you can't choose Manic Miner over Decathlon or Gran Turismo over Metal Gear Solid, don't worry as our event staff will be on hand to help you find your favourite game at PLAY Expo Manchester".

Arcade Games

"Arcade video games conjure up nostalgic memories of childhood for so many people, be it fighting with your friend over who was going to be on the left-hand buttons on Mortal Kombat, or who got which gun while shooting zombies in House of the Dead. PLAY Expo Manchester will help you relive memories like these at with a selection of classic arcade machines for you to play on with every one set to free play. Finally, no pockets weighted down with ten pence pieces! Amongst the titles on show will be some of the must-have classics like Pac Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders as well as the more modern favourites like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Daytona USA. And of course every machine is set to FREE PLAY so no need to pockets of change! We will have over 100 arcade machines at PLAY Expo again this year - will your favourite be one of them?". For more details on what's going on at the event, check out their website: Below is also my coverage from previous years, including photos: I met loads of great people I talk to on YouTube and Twitter there last year and I hope to do the same this year. I'll post on twitter for more information on the event date and leading up to it.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


OutRun Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 31 May 2017 02:45 AM PDT

OutRun Review for Mega Drive and Sega Genesis

The arcade version of OutRun was created by the legendary Yu Suzuki and AM2 team at Sega who've been responsible for the likes of Shenmue, Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA. The game featured sprite-scaling technology seen in many other popular titles they developed such as Space Harrier, After Burner and Hang-on, and was playable in both upright and sit-down style cabinets. In fact it was one of these sit-down units that made me fall in love with the game. Physically being sat in a basic replica of the car that moved about as you drove was an amazing experience. It really helped this game stand out and I'd love to own a real arcade cabinet of it one day. For the time being though, I'll have to make do with the home conversions. Unlike most conventional racing games, you're competing against the clock rather than other cars. Along the way the road often splits in two, where you're given the choice of which direction to take, affecting the areas you drive through, how challenging the race is and what reward sequence plays at the end. This offers a lot of replay value as you're likely to want to experience each route and try to beat your best time... or your opponent's. With the limitations of the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis hardware, they're not able to achieve the sprite-scaling technology of the arcade, however I feel this version is a good compromise. The colour pallette looks a little darker, but the way the cars and roadside objects scale is fairly good, considering it had to be achieved using a completely new method of delivering different sized sprites, especially when compared to the Master System release which is understandably a lot more "choppy". In terms of music, these renditions are also fairly authentic, with an additional track provided called "Step on Beat" which is unique to this version. Personally I'm not a huge fan of this track and much prefer listening to either "Passing Breeze" or "Splash Wave" as these are so iconic to the series. Gameplay, of course, is the most important factor and OutRun on the Mega Drive does not disappoint. Each of the 15 possible environments are present from the arcade original and the experience feels very authentic. As mentioned previously, the direction you take as the road splits affects the challenge, with the left route typically being easier than the right. You're also able to amend the overall difficulty in the options menu if you wish to make things easier or harder, including a faster "Hyper Mode" which you can unlock by completing the game on "Pro" difficulty, or with a cheat by pressing "C" on the controller ten times on the main menu, before going into the options settings. The only real downside to OutRun for some is the limitations of the arcade gameplay experience. Other than doing each race, exploring the different routes and trying to beat your best time, there's not much else to do, so if you're looking to play something with more of a career mode, different courses and opponents to compete against, I'd recommend games like Super Monaco GP or Road Rash. As for OutRun on the Mega Drive and Sega Genesis, I feel it's a solid conversion of the original arcade game, ideal for quick pick-up-and-play and competing against friends for the best time to completion. If you're looking for a more faithful version, I'd recommend either Sega Ages Volume 1 for the Sega Saturn, which is almost identical, OutRun on the Nintendo 3DS or possibly playing the version within Yakuza 0 (Zero) on the PlayStation 4. Personally, I'd go with the Sega Saturn version if I had one.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Power Up Pins Review

Posted: 13 Apr 2017 10:01 AM PDT

Power Up Pins Review

Power Up Pins Banner Recently I received some amazing pins from a company called Power Up Pins who create their own uniquely design enamel and engraved pins around gaming, geek and popular culture. I don't often collect this sort of thing, but on a trip to Disney World in Florida a few years ago I got pretty hooked on their designs based on classic characters and rides. Since then I kind of caught the bug and as I was really impressed with these, I thought I'd do a review. Disclaimer: I'm not sure if I need to put one of these, but for transparency; I have not been paid, sponsored or endorsed by Power Up Pins to do this review. All thoughts and opinions here are my own and not influenced by the company and/or it's affiliates in any way. Power Up Pins Selection The first pins that really stood out to me were the pink and green kind of "his and hers" skulls with headsets and the various game controllers. So far they have focused on Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation, but I have been told they will cover Sega in the future as I've been bugging them for a while to do these. As soon as they make those (hopefully Master System, Mega Drive, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast controllers, plus the Game Gear and possibly even a Dreamcast VMU), I will certainly be wanting to add those to my collection. The company is still fairly new, so they are adding new designs on a regular basis (it seems to be monthly at the moment), plus since getting my pins, they've added an awesome arcade cabinet that I really want. It's probably worth mentioning that they have also started doing patches, stickers and other jewellery based on their designs, plus different types of pins too, but as you can tell gaming is where I'm at with most things! If they cover super hero stuff in the future though, I may be tempted. More Power Up Pins Examples In terms of quality, I was really impressed! I have quite an eye for detail which puts me off buying a lot of POP! Vinyl Funko figures online as I hate it when paint spills over or seeing weird marks that should be there. With Power Up Pins, each one that was painted had no over-spill, no weird markings, chips or scratches. The engraved ones were also nicely polished with no defects or sharp edges. I really appreciated the level of quality with these. They came exactly how the appeared on the website. At time of writing, the pins sell for £6 each with free 1st class (signed for) shipping on orders over £15 for the UK, with additional options for Europe and Worldwide. I would feel more comfortable at a £5 each price point, but that's just a personal thing as ideally I like to own quite a few pins as a set rather than just owning a select few. The shipping offer certainly helps. More of my Power Up Pins If you're looking to get someone a gift that's a bit different, I think these pins are pretty cool for anyone into gaming, similar to the mini console keyrings, pads, etc. I think once they offer more variety in terms of Sega styles too, I'd like to incorporate them in my Patreon rewards for those who support my YouTube channel and website, or random giveaways (maybe in a retro "Sega vs Nintendo" themed event). I love the art style/design of these and I look forward to seeing what else they do in the future! If you're interested in seeing more of what Power Up Pins have to offer, check out their website at www.poweruppins.com or @PowerUpPins on twitter.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Golden Axe Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 12 Apr 2017 03:42 AM PDT

Golden Axe Review for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

In 1989 Golden Axe was released in the arcades and was a great success. Makoto Uchida, who previously worked on Altered Beast, was said to have wanted to create a game that was inspired by Double Dragon and his love for the Conan films. With SEGA's mission to offer an "arcade at home" experience, it wasn't long before it was ported to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. As far as home conversions go, Golden Axe is incredibly faithful to the original with only a few minor differences. Obviously the graphics and sound take a bit of a hit, but the art style is very similar. The enemies no longer stay on screen when they die and the classic ending has changed, but overall the Mega Drive version is impressive with the addition of an extra stage after the original final boss and a duel mode for 2 players. When I was younger I grew up watching Ray Harryhausen movies such as Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, which mixed with my Uncle introducing me to Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons, made me want to experience these kinds of adventures myself. Golden Axe was the first game I remember which allowed me to do this and I absolutely fell in love with it. The ability to play it co-operatively with a friend significantly added to the enjoyment and over the years I've found myself coming back to this time and time again. You can choose to play as Ax Battler (the Barbarian), Tyris Flare (the Amazon), or Gilius Thunderhead (the Dwarf). Each of these are slightly different with Tyris being physically weaker but with more potent magic, Gillius who is physically stronger but lacks punch with his spells, and Ax Battler being somewhere in between. My choice was always Gilius the Dwarf. The basic premise of the game is to defeat Death Adder who has captured the King and his daughter while in possession of the Golden Axe. This adventure has you traversing on the back of a giant turtle, flying on the back of a giant eagle, going through villages and castles while fighting giants, skeletons and beasts which you can even ride to help take on your foes. One such rideable creature is called the "chicken leg", which is a bit strange, and is actually featured in the Altered Beast game. There's nothing better though than jumping onto a dragon and breathing fire on your enemies! At the end of each level and sometimes in between, you'll come across little gnome things with sacks which you can punch and kick to steal their magic and health potions. Each character has a different magic meter, which as you store more magic potions, increases the potency of your spells. These can be very fun to watch, especially when maxed out as you destroy everything on screen. As mentioned previously, the graphics and music for the Mega Drive and Genesis version is impressive for such an early title. In terms of controls, I've never had an issue with them, but I guess by today's standards the characters can feel a little bit slow and sluggish if you're not doing a lot of charge attacks. Of course, this game isn't perfect. The AI can be really dumb sometimes, walking off ledges and it can be frustrating when you're caught in the middle of them attacking from both sides. Fortunately the basic AI can be exploited to your advantage, so it's not all bad. Overall, with nostalgia aside I'd say this game has aged reasonably well. It's simple side-scrolling beat-em-up action is ideal for quick playthroughs with a friend, and as a single player experience it still holds up quite well due to its enjoyable fantasy setting. Sure, it's not quite up to the same standard as Streets of Rage 2, but it's certainly better than Altered Beast in my opinion.