Hydrophobia was developed by Dark Energy Digital and published by Microsoft Game Studios for XBLA on September 29, 2010. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15). The publisher provided a copy of the game for reviewing purposes.
After more than three years in development, Hydrophobia is finally available on Xbox Live Arcade to start off this fall’s Game Feast promotion. The result is a fine action adventure game made special because of its impressive water physics, but one that is also far from perfect.
Developed by Dark Energy Digital, Hydrophobia takes place in the near future upon a massive sea-faring city called The Queen of the World, which is taken over by a group of terrorists called the Malthusians. It often resembles BioShock in both theme and setting, but stands out mostly due to the dynamic water physics.
Sonic Adventure was developed by Sonic Team and published by SEGA. It was released on September 15, 2010 and retails for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for reviewing purposes.
As someone playing Sonic Adventure for the first time on Xbox Live Arcade, I can see why the game was a big deal for its time. It’s a very colorful game that moves smooth and fast, and it has respectable graphics for a game more than 10 years old. However, playing it for the first time also means the game holds no nostalgic memories for me, unlike the Sonic the Hedgehog games for the Sega Genesis. Even if it holds nostalgic value to you, I can’t see anyone playing this game today and having any fun.
If you’ve ever been asked to name a video game heroine before, then Lara Croft should be at the top of that list in more cases than none. After all she’s been around for the past 14 years in the Tomb Raider series of games alone, as well as a few feature movies, some animated short films, and other various printed adaptations too. The sexy bombshell explorer has dropped the name Tomb Raider for the very first time now and has some help in the form of a co-op player for the very first time in franchise history, and the game is also in an all new isometric view point for Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Now I’m far from a fanboy of the Tomb Raider seires of games, having never really played them in the past, aside from a couple demos that I’ve checked out. My experience with the movies is where it pretty much ends for me and Lara Croft in general here. I think it might be the fact I’ve just never thought much aboout playing a game from a girl characters perspective really. But when I heard that this game was going to have co-op built into it, I was very much interested and from what I saw back in the E3 reveal and hearing how much they had focused on the co-op from the start, I knew then and there I would have a date set with this heroine once the game had launched on the Xbox 360.
Scott Pilgrim v.s. The World: The Game was published by Ubisoft, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Chengdu. It was released on 8/25/2010 and retails for 800 microsoft points.
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair was developed and published by Konami for XBLA on August 4, 2010. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points.
Everyone remembers their first time playing one of the numerous Castlevania games. Mine happened to be Super Castlevania IV on the Super Nintendo, and I didn’t see another until Symphony of the Night. And then not again until the Gameboy Advance with Aria of Sorrow. The beauty of the Castlevania series is that all the games are similar yet very distinct at the same time. That’s where Harmony of Despair comes into the picture, it is the offspring of all the SOTN-era Castlevania’s.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane was developed by Vector Unit and published by Microsoft Game Studios for XBLA on July 28, 2010. It retails for 1200 Microsoft Points.
The original Hydro Thunder was a favorite in local arcades during the late 90s. The rush of boosting a fantastical speedboat through intense waters and hitting massive jumps struck a nerve in me that most other arcade games failed to do. For those with fond memories from the arcade excitement peaked when a new Hydro Thunder was announced for Xbox Live Arcade, developed by Vector Unit.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the first true sequel to the original arcade game, manages to reignite old love for the arcade original. When it comes to the basics, Vector Unit nailed the feel of the original, from the crazy courses down to the way the speedboats handle. Every speedboat that from the original is in HTH, and the inspired courses will evoke feelings of familiarity from Hydro Thunder veterans.
Of course, neat graphical touches remind us that the Hydro Thunder series has been improved quite a bit since the arcade days. Things like dynamic wave effects look awesome in high definition on XBLA, as do water droplets that form on the screen after a gnarly jump. Each boat now has a cool transforming animation once its boost is active. Seeing boats transform from their standard appearance to reveal massive exhaust pipes that spew fire provides a lovely and empowering feeling.
Deadliest Warrior: The Game was developed by Pipeworks Software and published by Spike Games for XBLA on July 14, 2010. Retails for 800 Microsoft Points.
When I think of Spike TV, The Ultimate Fighter and endless reruns of CSI are immediately transfused in to my recollection. What lies between the cage fighting and continuous autopsies is a show about putting yesterdays warriors up against each other in a scientific manner to see who would leave the fight alive; that show is called Deadliest Warriors. With a cult following and the success of the show, what better way to rejuvenate our imagination than to make a game where we can depict our shameless childlike interest in history’s baddest of bad asses.