Developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts in 2009, Dragon Age: Origins is a hardcore, third-person Role-Playing Game in the style of Knights of the Old Republic (also developed by BioWare), Vampire: the Masquerade – Redemption, and Neverwinter Nights.
Thanatos is an unusual side-scrolling action game designed by Mike Richardson and programmed by Rod Barrington for Durell Software in 1986.
The game is unusual because you play as a dragon… Yes, that’s right: a dragon! And not any old dragon, but as “Thanatos the Destroyer” – a fire-breathing behemoth with a heart.
Known as “Rock Man” in its native Japan, Mega Man is a Nintendo Famicom game developed and published by Capcom in 1987. It is the beginning of the long-running Mega Man series.
What the first Mega Man did was establish a style of its own – for both gameplay and graphics.
The full title of this 1995 sequel is Magic Carpet 2: The Netherworlds, and it is an excellent continuation of the series.
Okay, so I couldn’t just leave it at that with regard to Dragon Quest VIII, so here’s another set of screenshots showing later in the game. In particular: the Dragovian Trials – an unlockable quest in which you take on a series of ever more powerful dragons, for unique rewards at the end of the game.
There is no doubting that this 2004 release from Square Enix is the best JRPG on the PlayStation 2. At least, in my mind.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is a colourful and detailed re-imagining of the Dragon Quest franchise, with Cel-Shaded graphics and tons of monsters – many of them familiar – to fight it out with in turn-based combat.
This 1989 BBC Micro conversion of Taito‘s classic arcade game, Bubble Bobble, was never commercially released. Which is a shame because it is rather excellent.
A complete version of the finished game has been leaked online though, so it’s fairly easy to find and play. One or two-player: Bubble Bobble is always fun.
Zone of the Enders is a 3D combat game based on the concept of ‘Mecha’ (big, Japanese robots). It was published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 in 2001.
You play a kid called Leo who can pilot a battle Mecha called Jehuty, and whose job it is to protect a colony around Jupiter from attack by a rogue military force. You move from district to district looking for trouble, engaging enemy when you find them.
Combat takes place mostly (but not always) in the air and mostly comprises of a mix of hack-and-slash and shooting action. You can lock on to targets; find suit enhancements as you progress; get bonuses for protecting buildings and civilians – you can even grab and throw enemies if you can get close enough.
Every time you beat an enemy you get experience, and as your experience accrues you level-up – extending the suit’s abilities. So the game has RPG elements too.
Zone of the Enders was co-designed by Yoji Shinkawa, the character and mechanical designer for the Metal Gear series, so has some pedigree. It’s an excellent game – well worth a play – and certainly has its fans.
Parasite Eve is a single-player, horror-themed action/adventure game developed and published by Square in 1998. The game is actually the sequel to the novel Parasite Eve, written by Hideaki Sena.
In the game you play A New York City police officer – Aya Brea – who must stop Eve, a woman who wants to destroy the human race through spontaneous combustion. The story takes place over six days and throughout many different locations in New York.
Combat is realtime, but is pause-able, with a thing called the ATB (Active Time Bar) that sets the time until the player must move. Gameplay is action-oriented, but with RPG-style elements (like levelling). When not in combat you can tweak weapons and armour with tools that are limited in number. You can also use BP (Bonus Points) to raise attributes for the ATB (giving you more time to ponder your moves in combat), item capacity (giving you a bigger inventory), or attributes of a weapon or some armour.
Parasite Eve is an excellent game overall. All the 3D models and cut scenes and dialogue and menus are top notch. The low res backdrops are a little fuzzy in places, and the FMV cutscenes are low res too, but they don’t detract from the game too much. The game even has a ‘New Game Plus’ mode (called “EX Game”) for those who have completed it but want more. This NG+ mode features more powerful weapons and enemies, and also an extra location – The Chrysler Building – with 77 floors of mostly randomised content and a (final, true) boss fight at the end.