Monday, July 16, 2012

SNES RGB Testing

So, last year I still had my SNES hooked up to an old TV card in my PC. The picture wasn't amazing, but it saved on space and it did the job whenever I got the urge for some Super Mario All-stars. This year, after clearing out a bunch of junk, I not only had room for my new(well, six-month-old) HDTV, but I also finally had space to hook up my SNES to a TV again, specifically that one.

Pop'n Twinbee via composite. Could be worse, but it doesn't look great either.

Of course the first thing I tried was hooking it up with the cheapo composite cable I picked up last year; the results weren't exactly great. The picture was too bright, blurry and just generally cruddy. After a bit of research, an RGB scart cable looked like a possible solution to my audio-visual woes, so I took a chance on one for £5 on Amazon.

Super Metroid via RGB. Surprised to see my save files were still intact.

While I haven't had a chance to play anything at length yet, I popped in a few games last week to check it out and grabbed a few dodgy-looking photos while I was at it. I've got to say, I'm really impressed with the improvement. Everything looks nice and crisp, the colours look right and I haven't noticed any ghosting or other glitches so far; £5 well spent. :)

Fuck yeah, Super Mario World.

More photos here; not great ones though. :D

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Backlog Assault: 2011 Wrap Party Finale

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains: (/nostalgic intro)

Metroid Fusion:

Platform: Gameboy Advance
Bought: 03/12/09  From: eBay  Price: €9.50
Beaten: 02/10/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • --/12/09 - I've just entered Sector 6.
  • 15/07/11 - I've just gotten the space jump. Now, where to next?
  • 16/07/11 - Ugh, trying to beat Nightmare at the moment. The third boss in about fifteen minutes of game time and another pain in the ass too.
  • 01/10/11 - Finally managed to beat Nightmare, collected a few power ups and now I'm back in Sector 6.
  • 02/10/11 - SA-X? More like S-U-X.


While I don't think this was quite as well-crafted or as memorable as the Super Metroid follow-up I was hoping it would be, I thought it was quite a solid Metroid in it's own right, and well tailored to playing on the go, with a more guided, streamlined structure than the other games in the series. Some of those bosses though: bloody hell. :D

No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle:

Platform: Wii
Bought: 01/08/10  From:  Price: £17.49
Beaten: 11/11/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • 01/10/10 - I'm getting my ass beaten by New Destroyman at the moment.
  • 07/11/11 - Chasing after No. 4 on the rankings list now.
  • 11/11/11 - Gave Jasper the beating he richly deserved tonight. Cheap little bastard. :D

As far as the core game goes, NMH2 is more of the same simple-to-grasp, but satisfying combat wrapped up in all manner of batshit-insane Suda 51 madness. Of course the big change this time around is the omission of the open world, which certainly helps streamline the game, but I can't help thinking it takes away a little of the game's personality. Couldn't they have just worked on improving it? I miss kicking dumpsters to get new t-shirts. :D 

Gone also are most of the motion-controlled jobs, required to earn money in the  original game, this time replaced with a set of pretty entertaining 8-bit games that make earning some cash way less of a grind this time around. Less entertaining is the 8-bit gym training. Requiring some ridiculously accurate timing, I found this leaving me out of pocket without any stat boosts to show more often than not. Also slightly less-than-appreciated by me was the game forcing you to play as Travis' sort-of- protégé, Shinobu for two or three missions. It's not that those sections were bad though; I just much prefer how Travis handles. Despite those minor niggles, I enjoyed my second trip to Santa Destroy quite a lot, and I certainly wouldn't mind another visit on the Wii U.

Max Payne:

Platform: PC
Bought: 30/12/09  From: Steam  Price: €1.87
Beaten: 19/11/11

Backloggery Dump:
  • 12/11/11 - I'm about to board the ship in Part 2, Chapter 3.
  • 16/11/11 - Up to Chapter III, Part 4. It was kind of a slow burn at first, but I'm really liking this a lot now.
  • 19/11/11 - Screw you, helicopter!


Having looked forward to playing this for about 10 years, I was a bit disappointed to find the bullet time mechanic wasn't nearly as overpowered or as useful as I was hoping for, even if it does look pretty cool. Aside from bullet time at all though, this was a really enjoyable shooter. And I was pleasantly surprised to see some puzzle moments mixed in there, calling for some unexpectedly outside the box thinking to solve. Even more of a pleasant surprise was how trippy the less-than-enjoyable dream sequences become when you add some blaring dubstep to the mix. :D But don't let that give you the wrong impression about the game's own soundtrack; that title screen music: amazing.

Well, that's finally it guys, probably for good (I mean I did make this sweet graphic.), but feel free to check out these other classic entries in the Backlog Assault series:

Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: the Crystal Bearers
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lego Star Wars
Star Fox Adventures
Mario Kart Wii
'Splosion Man
Peggle Deluxe / Puzzle Agent / Screamer / Red Faction
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
GTA: VCS / New Super Mario Bros. Wii / Everybody's Tennis / SSX 3
Perfect Dark Zero