[Review] Streets Of Rage (Sega Genesis)

An unnamed city’s heart has turned to black: bad guys and gals with switchblades, whips and fire-breath roam the streets at night to take out their hatred on anyone passing by. City Hall is overrun by a corrupt organization. Garbage and blight make up what was left of this strong and prosperous city.

Three ex-cops, all in their early 20s, are hell-bent on cleaning up the Streets of Rage. They walk the beat with only their jeans, wife-beaters, MJ Thriller jackets and the occasional beer bottle to protect them.  Apples and steak can be found to eat under barrels and crates, increasing health depleted from fighting against the violence. They beat up the baddies, and call in the cops for an occasional backup. And when they choose to fight the leader of the syndicate in the final boss battle instead of joining his posse, they fight alone.

Streets of Rage is a simple 16-bit side scroller beat ’em up game, similar to Golden Axe, a game I played and reviewed in September 2013. Using the three buttons on the Sega Genesis game pad – one button to fight, one to jump, one to call the cops (who arrive in their cruiser to fire a bazooka at the baddies) – it was easy to advance and fight the bad guys. Of course, I am sure the game is much harder if played past easy mode…


I played as Blaze, the only female character in Streets of Rage. I loved her gait – what might be construed as stiffness, or “a pickle up the pooper” I turned it around as a woman leading with her chest, confident and determined to rid the town of filth. And she did! She kicked some mean butt! The hubs, my partner in playing this game, was Axel, one of the two male characters.

Although the game is a side-scroller, the baddies come from both sides of the screen and are varied. For example, one looks like a joker juggling knives. Another looked like they are mean Ninja Turtles (purple and green outfits). Dominatrices with leather and whips also contribute to the fight club. Then there are the fire-breathing fatsos, which made us both ask, “Do they have bad breath, or…just bad indigestion?” At that, the character you play has varied moves, from punching, to drop-kicking, to kicking in the nuts.


The scenes of the different levels are unique, ranging from a dark alley, to a ferry, to a lift, and leading down the corridor of a fancy hotel, and for a 16-bit game, they looked great. The music had an upbeat rocky dance music tempo which made me tap my feet and bob my head as I was taking names (thank you very much!).

My only complaint of the game is that if you are playing two player, you can punch out your partner (heehee Oops!).

Streets of Rage has been ported to several game systems, including the Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows and iOS devices. I recommend this game for its fun gameplay!

Streets of Rage
Developer: Sega Genesis
Released: 1991

What I Played: Fave Games in 2013

This list encompasses my favourite games that I played in 2013. You will notice some of them were not released in 2013. Really, if you check out my complete list, I didn’t play too many newly released last year.


10. The Room (Android)

This one is a really good puzzle game for Android where you are put into a virtual locked room and given a box to play with. This box has all sorts of secret compartments you have to figure out how to get opened. Plays really well on tablet.

9. Gone Home (PC)

Get ready to snoop! Go into the Greenbriar’s empty home and find out where everyone went! An exploration game that should not be missed.

8. Mystery Case Files: Malgrave Incident (Wii)

Hands down, the best hidden object game for the Wii that I have played.

7. Nike+ Kinect Training (Xbox 360)

Okay, not technically a game. But this is a really well-done fitness tool that helped me to lose weight.

6. The Walking Dead Game (Xbox 360)


5. Syberia (PC)

An older adventure game that still stands the test of time.

4. Secrets of the Dark: Temple of Night (PC)

I have played through this game at least twice, and often find myself humming the soundtrack in my head. I highly recommend this hidden object game to EVERYONE!

3. Borderlands (PC)

The Hubs and I played this together for about four months. Sorry, no review, but it was one of the most intense, fun and challenging games I have ever played. Forced me to step up my GAME, fo’ sho…[sorry, no review]

2. Borderlands 2 (PC)

The sequel to Borderlands is a continuation of the same, pretty much. The hubs and I are still playing this game, and it continues to challenge me. It’s a whole lotta fun! [sorry, no review]

1. Alan Wake (PC)

I know I rave about Alan Wake, but, seriously – I went into this game totally alone, without my husband’s gaming safety net to help me along. It scared the crap outta me, but I learned some good gaming skills: aim-and-shoot skills, switching to the appropriate weapon for the appropriate fight, dodging enemies, and how to read an in-game map the right way.  Even though it was a rather dark game, it was breathtakingly beautiful (the forest! the trees!! Pining for the fjords!)! I was also going through some things last winter and Alan Wake gave me the distraction and  “concentration on something else” that I very much needed.

I attribute Alan Wake to a lot of things, and I will never forget the experience. That is why Alan Wake is NUMBER ONE!!

There you have it. Next up, the Worst games played in 2013!

[Review] Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game (PS3)

Imagine falling for someone but having to compete for their affections with 7 other exes still carrying some kind of torch for this someone.

[Insert “Bitch, please” meem here…]

This, in essence is what Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game is having to deal with. He falls for Ramona… who has a history. Now, he needs to compete for her affections with her history – seven exes – and it ain’t nothing like beating up someone for milk money. These dudes have super-powers and mean business, yo! Scott unknowingly also has some powers that don’t come to light until he has to beat ’em up. He and his friends band together to combat them evil forces so he can do more smoochin’ and less beatin’ up.

Scott Pilgrim is a side-scroller game. You have the choice of playing one of four characters, including Scott and Ramona. Each character has a different talent or super-power. As you go through a chapter, you are presented with a new ex which has his own power that you must defeat. Of course, while beating ’em up, your health depletes. As you travel through and defeat the exes’ minions, you can collect loonies and twonies that you find scattered around, which can be used in between battles to do some shopping: for food, drink, videos and reading material. Each item you buy contributes to your overall health and welfare, allowing you to exude more energy to beat those exes up. The battle scenes are challenging, but fulfilling, especially if you play this in multiplayer like I did (you can play with 4 friends if you want to!).

The game pays homage to SNES gaming with its side-scroller game-play that uses 16-bit type graphic animation from the SNES era. When you first start the game, you can’t help but notice similarities to Super Mario 3’s chapter screen. The game is based on the comic book series (which is awesome, btw) and loosely based on the movie. The game also is set in Toronto, Ontario, so those who know Toronto will be familiar with the TTC buses that Scott, et al. have to dodge as they come speeding up the road, or other well-known landmarks like Casa Loma, Rogers Centre and CN Tower. I played this game on the PlayStation 3, but it is also available on the Xbox 360.

Fun, different and highly recommended. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game is a great comic book / movie / video game tie in. Fans of the series would not be disappointed.

Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: the Game
Publisher: UbiSoft / Universal
Released: 2010

[Review] Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (PC) – Killer Bugs, Killer Game

Fictional city, New Detroit, is in a sorry state. It is in the throes of an alien invasion which has basically destroyed the town causing lawlessness, abandonment and above all, an unfettered infestation of large, mutant bugs. These insects are ruthless and are hell-bent on killing anyone or anything that stands in their way, and now, the army has been called to rid the area of them with force. It’s the simple plot of Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, a game I played in multiplayer on PC this past January.


You play as one of the weapon-touting army dudes, and control him in third person. Over the wire, your commander gives you missions to complete and areas of the city to defend. Along the way, you decimate anything with feelers – real or robotic – that get in your way. A combo of flies, spiders and general fugly bugs will use their own brand of weapon to weaken you or kill you such as spitting venom or throwing webs your way… At the end of each chapter, you engage in a boss fight with a big bug that eventually gets even bigger as you get closer to the ending of the game.

Insect Armageddon looks great, and if you play this on PC with a USB controller, it’s easy to play. If you are looking for something wickedly fun to play in co-op, get your hands on this game. As long as you are not squeamish about big cartoon bugs, this one is a whole lot of excitement. The best part is being able to decimate large killer insects with automatic weapons. I know, that may seem extreme, but I really hate bugs!

Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Developer: Vicious Cycle Software / Publisher: D3 Publisher
Released: July 2011

[Review] House of the Dead: Overkill (PS3)

It seems that ever since the Walking Dead started airing, zombie fanaticism has increased ten-fold, even though zombies have been the subject of countless movies, tv and other media for decades. Like the vampire phenomenon from a couple of years ago, the popularity of zombies has surged, and now we see them everywhere on a daily basis. In fact, I was at Value Village just the other day, and was amazed at all the zombie outfits people were buying for Halloween.

Zombies, the undead, the infected, whatever you wish to call them…have been the subject of video games for a while now, and here’s hoping zombies will continue to be long after the Walking Dead ends (oh, please never end…).

No doubt, there is some real appeal to having zombies in our virtual cross-hairs, and one gaming franchise exemplifies this in a fun and entertaining way – the House of the Dead franchise. My first exposure to it was through a friend of mine who lent me her copy, House of the Dead 2 and 3 for the Wii. I honestly didn’t take a huge liking to it. It was a very unforgiving game to play, especially in co-op. My husband had bought House of the Dead: Overkill for the PS3, and even though I didn’t like its predecessor very much, I accepted his invitation to play the game in co-op, and was pleasantly surprised!

The story tells of this millitary experiment where a serum was made to make superhumans, but the experiment failed. As the story goes, the formula fell into the wrong hands, and now the territory is full of mutants infected by this serum. Meanwhile, a set of detectives, along with a pair of strippers (yep, you read that right) are hell-bent to find those responsible, and kill any mutants that stand in their way before they themselves become infected.

The game itself is considered a rails shooter, where the game basically leads the player along on a pre-determined path, sort of like you were on a ride at Canada’s Wonderland. Each scene is different, and it only allows you to play pre-determined characters in the scene; they switch up depending on the plot, so sooner or later you could eventually play every character if you wanted to. You are given a weapon to use, so as the game leads you into the path of mutants, you can use your controller to shoot ’em up. Of course, the end of each scene has a boss fight where you are fighting some disgusting creature. So much fun!

My husband and I played using the PlayStation Move controllers which I highly recommend. Two-player co-op is a dream – no split screen, and you can shoot up any area of the playing field you want. The game looks great, and sounds even better, with a funky Curtis Mayfield/ Isaac Hayes-sounding soundtrack. The script read by the characters in the game is quite vulgar – a lot of eff bombs – so if you are sensitive to that, you may not like that aspect. Then again, if you are offended by eff bombs, having two scantily-clad exotic dancers packing heat may shock you ahead of the eff bombs (just sayin’…).

House of the Dead: Overkill is so much fun, and I highly recommend it – just in time for Halloween!

House of the Dead: Overkill (PS3)
Publisher: Sega
Released: 2011

[Review] Blades of Vengeance (Sega) – the Shattered Hope of a Broken Game

You begin to play a game you’ve never heard of before. While playing you die trying to get past a certain point, and you figure it’s because you’re not familiar with it. You try again – maybe this time you’ll get through it. You die again. You do this 20 more times. You cannot get past that point. You chalk it up to being a n00b gamer.

Then, someone with more gaming experience comes in and gets stuck at the exact same place. They say, “the game is broken.” They then stoically throw down their controller and walk away, forever ending their time with the game. This was my experience with Blades of Vengeance, a Sega game I played on my Wii emulator.

I had never heard of a game being called “broken” where in playing it, you are not able to advance no matter how hard you tried. But, that is a great name for it. And really, Blades of Vengeance encompasses it.

The game is a platformer where you are tasked with saving the world from a war-lord. In the game, you have the choice of playing three characters: a warrior woman with a sword, a Conan Barbarian-type with an axe, or a sorcerer with a staff. Your goal is to kill everything in your path without getting yourself killed jumping off ledges into fire pits, getting hit with sharp objects or getting attacked by zombie-looking characters.

The game itself held promise for me at the start. The first level had some fun gameplay…that is until I reached a part where a ledge moved over a fiery river of lava. While travelling over, obstacles would appear that you would have to jump over while on this teeny tiny moving platform – but you’d better move fast, or you fall into the lava lake with no chance of escaping death. No action nor weapon will save your hide. You are toast. And the lamest: if you jump off the moving platform onto a solid ledge, better have a death wish ’cause the platform keeps moving away from you never to return. You are stuck! Nowhere to go but jump into the river Stix (or is that ‘Stux’?). Lame!

You think that tiny ledge can fit two people? Think again!

The game accommodates two-player capability as well. But, don’t expect that to help you through this messy game. Instead of trying to fit your sorry self on this tiny platform, you have to fit two people, which does not work. One ends up taking a bath in the hot lava…and dying, while you, on the platform, also eventually fall and die because of the existing problems I outlined above. The game is BROKEN, people!

When I asked my gamer husband if he had ever heard of Blades of Vengeance, he said no. Then when he played it and pronounced the game broken, he then walked away, saying, “I can see why I’ve never heard of this…” Bad games have a way of resurrecting from the dead as good examples of what to avoid. Broken games, however, seem to either fade into the sunset, or in the case of Blades of Vengeance, jump into the fiery drink to evaporate forever. Sometimes that ain’t a bad thing.

Blades of Vengeance
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released:  1993

[Review] Have Golden Axe (Sega Arcade) and String Bikini – Will Fight

I love run n’ gun and hack ‘n slash games – Contra, Streets of Rage…side-scrollers where you and a buddy tag-team, button mash and beat up baddies. Simple, unforgiving, crude, and does not require too much mental capacity – only enough skill to prevent you from dying!  After a long day of work, there is nothing like coming home and playing a good action arcade game.

The other night, the game of choice for my hubs and me was Golden Axe, originally a Sega arcade game, played on the PS3. One word – fun! At least fun enough to blow through the entire game in 25 minutes. Sounds impressive to those who don’t game. But really, there wasn’t much to it – save villagers from wrath of evil dudes, fight said evil dudes by using swords and magic spells; the end. And it is an arcade game; how long are those supposed to last, anyway?

By all appearances, self-proclaimed pop-culture critic Anita Sarkeesian would have a field day with Golden Axe with its choice of characters (if she hasn’t targeted this game already…). It is a stereotypical 1980s arcade game that has only three characters to play; some he-man on steroids, an ugly bearded troll, and the hot, greased up, bikini-clad Amazonian goddess (my character of choice). To that end, I AM a feminist (NOT a feminazi), and thought it was great that this gorgeous, scantily-clad, fake-n-baked babe played among the ugly dudes…and kicked ass like a BAWSE!

Take that! Annnd that!

The game is in 16-bit, so you’re not getting anything pretty. Characters do look a bit blocky, and moving your character around in a boss fight is more like a square dance hoe-down than a fight scene. But Golden Axe is fun, and will jet you back to those crude gaming days when you and your sibling fought over the arcade table at the local pizzeria…

Golden Axe
Developer: Sega
Released: 1989

[Review] The Amazing Race Game (Wii) Is Not Amazing, Nor a Race. Discuss.

I picked up the Amazing Race game for the Wii at EB Games for $9.99. Man, I feel robbed.

I didn’t read the back of the game thoroughly – I thought I’d be playing this game solo, but turns out this game is meant for two to four players. No problem! I’ll just play the game with the hubs! That should be fun, right? The game is also from Ludia, the developers that brought you the Where’s Waldo franchise for the iPod and PC. Loved that game! This should be good! And this game is hosted by Phil Keoghan – that same dude that hosts the Amazing Race on TV. I love Phil!

But, all the love went out the window when we loaded the game. From the get-go, the Amazing Race theme starts up with montages of couples who are “racing” with you – just like the beginning of the Amazing Race TV show. The couples were animated of course, and in some instances very poorly; we weren’t sure if some of the guys were girls, or the girls were guys. It was cheesy, but figured maybe it was supposed to be…?

The Amazing Race game is like the TV show where you are buddied up, competing in a race around the world; the goal being to be first at various checkpoints. The last team to get to the checkpoint is out of the race. Along the way you are made to play mini games. The games, frankly, sucked, and their instructions were very poorly written and hard to interpret. There were two of us that went to college, and both of us couldn’t figure some of the instructions out. Even then, we just began to play the games to see if we did better, and for the most part we did. But you couldn’t deny the games sucked. In one game, you are throwing tomatoes at people. You aim on a target and use the Wii-mote to throw a virtual tomato at them. The mechanics of this game didn’t exactly work too well – sometimes you couldn’t lock on to your target, or the target just disappears. I mean, Nintendo got this right in their Wii Sports franchise. Couldn’t the Ludia people pay the Nintendo people a nice meal and cocktails to get their secrets to the “throw at the target” game?

And don’t expect this game to be fast-paced. In one instance, the screen shows your team and a competitor fly through the air between two points, and that’s it… for a minute…. and nothing else happens!

Now, imagine staring at this for over a minute. Two white torpedoes flying through the air. Fun!

The game has you and your partner play together, but the hubs and I weren’t sure why. Often, one of us was left to sit there watching while the other did everything. In fact, I’d hazard that a second player really wasn’t needed at all. You were also able to play with four people, but after playing the two-player, I couldn’t possibly subject two more of my friends to this tripe.

The game was from 2010, which was not that long ago! It looked terrible, and played worse. I seriously think Ludia was taking the piss with this game – or totally shitting on a half decent TV show, I’m not sure which…

The Amazing Race (Wii)
Developer: Ludia / Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: 2010

Credits: Walmart