First Impressions: Cloud Master, Shinobi, Gangster Town

October 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

First impressions are important.  If you meet someone for the first time and they make a bad first impression, it takes something like four positive experiences to reverse that opinion.  I think things work similarly with first impressions of a new game, too.  The first few minutes can completely shape your opinions.

With that in mind, I played each of my three new games for about 15 minutes.  I don’t necessarily intend to dig into each of them much further in the near future, but I think this post will be interesting to come back to when I do.  Once I play the whole game, will my opinions differ from my first impressions?

  • Cloud Master: In general, this seems like a solid little side-scrolling shooter.  At first, there was nothing remarkable about it, but then I started to pick up a bit more of the power-up system and discovered a secret door that led to a magic shop.  I think there could be some hidden depth here.
  • Shinobi: Stiff.  Wooden.  Ugly.  One dimensional.  I’m not really feeling the love for this game, despite its good reputation.  Perhaps there’s more to it that I haven’t seen yet?  The first level did make an interesting switch into a first-person view point and changed up the game mechanics, so maybe there’s more going on.  Or maybe people were just blinded by the arcade version?
  • Gangster Town: Holy cow, I wasn’t expecting this!  It’s an 8-bit light gun game, so I expected something with about the level of depth of Hogan’s Alley.  But no, there’s a lot more going on here.  There’s a surprising amount of interactivity — you can shoot the hats off of the enemies’ heads, then shoot the hat again while it’s in the air for bonus points.  You can shoot the tires off of cars.  You can shoot down signs.  I’m impressed, and am looking forward to playing more of this one.

Virtua Cop (Sega Saturn)

July 15, 2007 by · 3 Comments 

Virtua Cop - Title ScreenVirtua Cop - Beginner LevelVirtua Cop - Medium Level

Light gun games have something of a linear history.  Virtua Cop may have shaken up the genre by bringing into the 3D era, but its gameplay is not nearly as revolutionary as its graphics were.  In fact, you can trace the gameplay straight back to one of the earliest NES games — Hogan’s Alley.  In Hogan’s Alley, you were a cop, wandering through a seedy area, shooting down thugs while trying to hold back your itchy trigger finger when an innocent appears.  In Virtua Cop, you’re a cop, wandering through a seedy area, shooting down thugs while trying to hold back your itchy trigger finger when an innocent appears.  16-bit light gun games were much the same (see Lethal Enforcers) as are modern ones (see the Time Crisis and House of the Dead series).

But saying Virtua Cop sucks because light gun games are all the same would be unfair.  It’d be like saying Soul Calibur sucks just because it’s a 3D fighter, or Streets of Rage sucks just because it’s a side scrolling beat-’em-up.  The real question is whether or not I have fun playing it.  And, quite simply, I do.  It’s certainly not worth playing with the controller, but get yourself a Stunner, and you’ll be mowing down baddies left and right.

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