Video game madness: the reviews...
Some years ago I used to write games reviews for a magazine. Here are some of the reviews I had published of what were current releases back then.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time a.k.a. Zelda 64 (Nintendo 64 - Nintendo - £39.99)
Ask by boyfriend about Zelda and he'll foam at the mouth. It was exactly 5 years ago that they both competed for my affections on a nightly basis. Zelda always won. Long into the night I’d be running round finding secret weapons, casting spells, flying over mountains, swimming behind waterfalls, sweet talking goblins or battling multi-headed ogres in Zelda, the perfectly crafted alternative reality adventure game. The latest version, Zelda 64, lives up to and exceeds all expectations. It is a stunningly good game. All the brilliant gaming ideas from the Zelda series have been married to the 3D engine of Mario 64. Again Nintendo have got the balance right between real-time action and puzzle solving. Zelda 64 ia a truly superlative game that shines through it’s stunning graphics, ear-crushing sound effects and totally addictive game-play. Zelda 64 is the essential buy for all you N64 owners. And if you don’t own an N64 this is reason enough to buy one! It’ll take at least 70 hours at least to complete so more late nights ahead for me.
Zelda 2, Boyfriend 0.
Gran Turismo (Playstation - Sony - £44.99)
Sony has long been experts at crafting extremely playable racing games. The shelves of video stores are packed with old copies of Ridge Racer and Wipeout. Gran Turismo knocks the spots of all of them. It's a truly realistic driving simulation that has to be seen to be believed. Not only are all your favourite sports cars here for buying, selling customising and racing but after each race the cars are fully rendered and thrown round the course for an action replay that is of breathtaking quality. The Quick Arcade mode gets you up and running either against the console or if you have a second controller pitted against a friend. The Gran Turismo mode is the more solitary but ultimately satisfying aspect of the game however. You start by buying a car which you race in order to win prize money to get a better car. Sounds easy enough, eh? Well, the catch is that in order to race at all you must pass various driving tests to gain licences. These tests are not always easy and your reflexes, car handling skills and patience may be stretched to the limit. Once gained though you can enter tougher and more lucrative races so accelerating your progress to what are ultimately the International classes. The more you play the more points you win and so the better car you can afford. Getting a memory pack is essential so you can save your progress. This game looks good, plays well and is addictive. Fucking magic!
MarioKart 64 (Nintendo 64 - Nintendo - £49.99)
How could Nintendo follow up the corker that was Super MarioKart for the SNES? Well, they've done it. MarioKart 64 is a bloody 3D marvel that is fun to play, easy to learn and as addictive as crack. The cartoon style pseudo-3D nature that made Super MarioKart so revolutionary hasn’t been jettisoned rather it’s been enhanced. The graphics are smoother, the colours are richer and the tunes even more catchy. You race round course after course of delightfully coded worlds, each looking as gorgeous as cheesecake with extra cream. The brilliant, vibrant colours make you want to leave the race track and just drive around. Strangely enough if you do this on one course you come across the castle from Mario 64. The split screen four player racing mode is groovy either as a full-on racer or in the battle mode - if by “battle” they mean throwing empty red and green turtle shells at balloons, that is. Buy it!
Bomberman 64 (Nintendo 64 - HudsonSoft - £49.99)
Its’ 16-bit baby brother was the most fun you could have with four people alone together. Period. Unfortunately the 64-bit version is PANTS. Badly thought out and badly coded it's a nightmare to play. What should have been a sure fire winner is a pathetic waste of money. The characters are too difficult to control so you often blow yourself up by accident. What's more this game commits the cardinal sin in that you can't see what's going on. The action is all happening in the middle distance which is neither engaging nor useful. Avoid, my little friends, avoid.