Joy Ride Turbo – Now With Buttons!

A few years ago, Joy Ride Kinect was released as an example of how a racing game could benefit from Kinect controls. The game was a broken mess, to the point where you could win races without even moving. The developers have finally admitted this was a bad idea, and they’ve re-released the game with new “precision controls” (exact words used in the PR) using the normal Xbox 360 control pad. Joy Ride is finally playable in the form of Joy Ride Turbo, but what’s it like? Was there a nice personality hidden behind that awful piece of technology?


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Crash Car Racer (Wii)

YES! A budget racer on Wii, if there’s one genre I know well, it’s this one! I jumped for joy when I saw this game in Kmart, possibly scaring the lady at the counter. There was no sign of Zelda, Xenoblade, or The Last Story on the shelves, but sure enough: 20 copies of Crash Car Racer! It has to be good, right? At $15AU I had to find out.

The name Crash Car Racer does a pretty good job telling you what it is: a racing game with cars that crash. However, it’s not really ABOUT crashing, it’s just a normal racing game that happens to have completely broken physics, conducive to crashes. The disconnected car handling, poorly programmed AI, and bizarre tracks all combine to create a game that pretty much crashes itself every lap, no matter what you do.


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“Durpthroughs” – Fatal Frame IV – Batch 4

After a long absence, I return with the next Durpthrough session of Fatal Frame IV!

Beware the narrow hallways that make fighting ghosts nearly impossible, the deathly fear of potential game-breaking bugs, the bewildering persistence of that nurse I can’t remember the name of, the REVENGENCE of Ayako as I storm her room for sheet music, the wheelchair lady who somehow pushes herself, and the terrifying black death thing that scares the living shit out of me!

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The Last Story – A New Page In Game Design

The Last Story is captivating. It tells the story of a group of honest mercenaries striving to be knights – not so they can dominate the world – but merely on the hope of a good nights sleep without one eye open. The story that unfolds is wonderfully intriguing and engaging, and with fun gameplay and interactive environments; you’re not just watching or reading the story, you’re PLAYING it. It’s a fairy tale set in a living, breathing world that embraces the interactive nature of videogames. It’s such a different game in so many aspects and brings a lot of new things to the table in terms of how you approach things as a player. I could fill this entire paragraph with buzzwords and verbal wankery, and still fail to capture what the game is like. Everything has a magical, whimsical story-telling feel to it, like a long descriptive dream with talented British voice actors. It’s a love story because I’m in love with this game.


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“Durpthroughs” – Fatal Frame IV – Batch 3

Ooooops, I’ve had these done for a while now, but I’ve been so busy I forgot to put them up.

In this round, Misaki battles a bully from her childhood and a new character surfaces to explore the medical wing of the creepy complex in search of the man responsible for the kidnappings.  The ghost encounter rate continues to increase as the setting gets spookier, so how long can I last!?  Enjoy!

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“Durpthroughs” – Fatal Frame IV – Batch 2

What do little boys, tag teams, creepy old men, nurses, and an old, abandoned hospital have in common?

Actually, don’t answer that.  The answer is, Batch 2 of my Fatal Frame IV Durpthrough!  The ghost encounters escalate as the plot sends me fighting an unexpected and familiar villain, puts me behind the eyes of yet another character, and teases a battle against a sadistic little girl!  Enjoy!

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Go Vacation – MotionPlus Games

Welcome BACK! Free Roaming time is over – it’s time to get into some more activities! Go Vacation supports a shitload of control options through its wealth of games, including Wiimote, Wiimote + Nunchuck, Balance Board, MotionPlus, Wii Wheel and the Zapper. Today we’re going to get out our fancy new controller to play some MotionPlus games.

Windsurfing is the first game I’m going to talk about, because it really took me by surprise. Expecting a passable point A to point B race, I got a creative use of Wii controls I’ve never seen before. No buttons are used in this, and there are two things you control. The first is the sail’s angle, and the second is the direction of the boat. These are BOTH controlled, simultaneously, with the Wii Remote.


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Big Beach Sports 2 – Motorsport Massacre

Oh yes, this game exists. Reception of the first game was mixed – some people actively hated the game, some passively hated it. Big Beach Sports managed to sell over a million copies; a very impressive milestone for any game. Despite this claim to fame, the game was a broken mess, and was only popular for being the first Wii game to feature Cricket. The motion controls didn’t work and it was a frustrating game to play. THQ decided this was a formula for success, and now it’s back. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Big Beach Sports 2, and I thought I’d give THQ a chance to redeem themselves. After all, they went to the effort of getting a special team to handle this sequel. What could go wrong? With two all new racing mini-games, I couldn’t help but try it.


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“Durpthroughs” – Fatal Frame IV – House of Creepy Ghosties

Okay, here it is, a new round of Durpthroughs!  This time I take on another horror game, Fatal Frame IV, developed by none other than Grasshopper Manufacture (home of Suda 51, if you are one of those heathens).  Fatal Frame IV has a rather interesting history behind it, or rather, an interesting story of why it was never localized.  See, it WOULD have been localized if not for the fact that Tecmo was too cheap to go back and fix a bunch of glitches that were in the Japanese copy of the game (a couple of which prevent progress, and others that make it impossible to 100% the game no matter what you do).  NOE had actually started promoting the game in their region before NCL decided that it just didn’t make sense to localize a game that wasn’t to their standards.  So screw you, Tecmo!

Anyway, let’s hope I can pull through the entire game without running into anything game-breaking.  So grab yourself a bowl of popcorn, turn off all the lights, and enjoy the scares (or me shrieking like a schoolgirl, whichever fits your fancy)!

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Conduit 2 – One Man, Three Balls

Conduit 2 demands your attention. It’s a first person shooter with incredible controls, great graphics, good humour, addictive gameplay, a wealthy amount of options and customisation, and a whole lot of style. It’s a fairly short game, but it’s full blown entertainment from start to finish, and makes no compromises or excuses for it. Michael Ford is here to kick ass and take names, and he’s all out of names. Life’s too short for formality – there’s no time for “the” anymore – this is simply Conduit 2, and it’s time to shoot bad guys.

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Free Roaming – Go Vacation

Hi everyone! What’s the next activity on the schedule? Schedule? Screw that! There is none, we’re on HOLIDAY! I just don’t feel like doing anything. So far we’ve already wet ourselves, gone skateboarding and sniffed some petrol. It’s time for a break. In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the game outside the games, in the game system. Go Vacation features 4 different resorts to roam around in: Marine, City, Mountain, and Snow, all with their own style and appropriately themed activities. The resorts are how you find each mini-game – walk around and you’ll see icons above peoples heads, inviting you to activities. However, there’s much more here than a simple hub for the games: the resorts are vast and contain many nice views and secrets.

Your character controls like any standard third person adventure game: simple analog stick movements to walk around and B to jump. It’s not exactly Mario levels of interaction, but movement is smooth and polished and the animation is consistent. Running is pretty slow however, and if you tried to run around an entire resort on foot it would take forever, so thankfully there’s different forms of transport lying around. If there’s water, you can bet there’s either a kayak or jet-ski nearby. On land, there’s either a motor vehicle, skateboard, or snowboard to speed things up, or even a horse. The game does well to make the transport always accessible; you can teleport to key areas of the map (Xenoblade style) and pick any vehicle you want from a quick menu. Namco has made sure there will be NO discomfort on this vacation!


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Motorsport (Go Vacation) – Impressions

Motorsport is a big part of Go Vacation, much to my excitement, and it’s found in the form of “Motor Fest” in the City Resort. This one mini-game manages to include not only street races through the resort, but also motorbike racing, checkpoint races, and open-wheel oval racing in a huge stadium. All the motorsport games are controlled with the Wii Wheel setup, using motion to turn – no nunchuck – and much to my relief it feels very smooth, a bit like Mario Kart Wii but faster. The car handling isn’t realistic, but they do wiggle about a bit if you tackle a corner too fast, and you need to lift off the throttle a fair bit, with braking only required on the sharp corners. It’s not exactly Race Pro, but it’s just challenging enough to be satisfying. It’s more comparable to Ridge Racer, which is no surprise when you find out the Ridge Racer development team actually helped work on Go Vacation.


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