The Behemoth have quickly become a developer to watch. After starting life with the flash game Alien Hominid on Newgrounds they expanded the game to consoles and eventually to XBLA with Alien Hominid HD. The game had a unique and striking art style created by artist Dan Paladin, and breathed new life into the almost forgotten side-scrolling shooter (complete with punishing difficulty).
After Alien Hominid The Behemoth moved onto a completely new game in Castle Crashers. This time they decided to have a go at another classic genre, the side-scrolling brawler. Dan Paladin’s unique art style remains, but Castle Crashers is a much bigger and more ambitious game than Alien Hominid. The Behemoth took the basic 2D brawler gameplay and added a few things on top, with an RPG-like (or lite?) leveling system and a little more depth to the brawling itself.
Editors Note: We have contacted both the publisher and the developer and we have been informed they are looking into some of the technical bugs we encountered. At this time, we feel there are too many problems with this game to recommend a purchase; however, should the game patch these issues we are willing to look back into it as we did with Hydrophobia: Pure.
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime is a top-down/dual-stick shooter that places you in charge of a new rookie Ghostbusting squad. The goal is to venture through 12 levels in order to take down Dumazu the Destroyer who is causing ghosts everywhere to be nuisances. Most gamers probably don’t even care about the story though because let’s face it; it’s a Ghostbusters game. You rid the town of ghosts one at a time until society can start to function again. It should be an easy sell, right? Sadly, this game is far from an easy sell and it doesn’t even come close to living up to the hype it created.
Battle: LA was developed by Live Action Studios and published by Konami. It was released March 11th, 2011 and retails for 800MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Battle: LA continues a recent trend of movie license games coming to downloadable platforms. It’s a strategy that has been met with some success – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World took the spirit of the movie/comic it was based on and created a great game with it. Smaller downloadable games often have shorter development time and small budgets so it actually makes sense for publishers to target the market for these types of games.
With Battle: LA developer Live Action Studios appears to be trying to bring the big budget shooter experience, a la Call of Duty, to XBLA. It’s an idea that seems good in theory, most of said shooters have fairly short campaigns which would be well suited to an XBLA game, but does it work in practice?
South Park LGTDP is a tower defense game with twist. The twist is that you can control one of fifteen available characters from the South Park world as you build your defenses. This adds a very welcomed action element to the game making it much more than a strategic experience. South Park fans have waited a long time for a quality console game based off the show; there was quite a large amount of expectations with this title. Thankfully, South Park LGTDP delivers a great amount of fun, content, innuendos and laughs for a minimal fee.
Torchlight was originally developed by Runic Games with the port co-developed with World Domination Industries Inc. and published by Microsoft. It was released March 9th, 2011 and retails for 1200MSP.
Torchlight is an interestingly charming game, but at first it can seem like any run of the mill Diablo clone. It has the same type of dungeon crawling with the thrill of finding as much loot as possible. It originally released on PC and Mac with point-and-click controls but the developers streamlined the controls for a console-based system.
Set in the town of Torchlight, you play one of three classes from Warrior to Mage to Ranger and alongside your pet, discover that the town is in danger of being taken over by the evil Alric. After a beginning tutorial mission, you’re free to take on any optional side-quests to get better items or continue on the main quest. It’s one of the best Xbox Live Arcade games of 2011 even though it’s near two years old but it still feels incredibly refreshing.
Full House Poker was developed by Microsoft Games Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released March 15, 2011 for 800MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Last year, 1 vs. 100 pushed boundaries for what the digital space could provide on consoles by engaging thousands of players at one time in a game show like format. This year, Microsoft is back at it again with a spiritual successor of sorts in the form of Full House Poker. Players fill the shoes of their own avatars as they play the prevalent form of Poker (Texas Hold ‘Em), while attempting to expand their own virtual bankrolls. But do the cards deserve you going all in?
Perfect Dark was ported to the Xbox 360 by 4J Studios. It was originally developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released March 17, 2010 for 800MSP.
When Perfect Dark was released over a decade ago on the Nintendo 64 it was the definitive shooter for its day. It started with everything that was great from GoldenEye 007 and took it beyond the limits a movie adaptation is forced to have. Rare offered everything from co and counter operative gameplay to multiplayer challenges with bots. The game received rave reviews from critics at the time.
Players first learned about the Xbox Live Arcade port in April 2009 via a single leaked screenshot of a developer’s dashboard which showed the icon of Joanna Dark behind the developer’s avatar. The leak was confirmed in June of that same year by none other than Xbox Live’s Major Nelson. But like so many games from yesteryear consumers had doubts as to whether the game truly lived up to their memories.
Beyond Good & Evil HD was originally developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, ported to XBLA by Ubisoft Shanghai and published by Ubisoft. It was released for XBLA on March 2nd 2011 and retails for 800MSP.
Beyond Good & Evil is considered by many to be a cult classic. It was well received by critics and gamers alike during the last generation of consoles. However it didn’t sell particularly well and as such the apparent sequel has been in limbo for a while.
The game tells the story of Jade, a photo journalist living on the planet of Hillys. Jade also runs an orphanage for children whose parents have gone missing during attacks from the Domz, an alien race who currently have the planet under siege. A group known as IRIS soon recruit Jade to help expose a conspiracy between the Domz and the Alpha Sections who rule Hillys.
Ubisoft Shanghai were tasked with porting the game to current-gen consoles, which in this instance also meant reworking some of the games graphics. It’s this extra work that sees the game add the ‘HD’ moniker. To sweeten the deal the game has been released for the lower price point of 800 Microsoft points (with most big releases lately costing 1200). It seems Ubisoft is trying to give this game more of a chance than it got before, but does it deserve it?
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter was developed by Croteam and published by Majesco Entertainment. It was released for XBLA on September 22nd, 2010 and retails for 1200MSP. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.
Sam is back! Continuing directly where Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter left off, Sam having defeated a head general of an alien army. He has boarded a spacecraft, seeking to take the fight back to the alien homeworld. Shortly after takeoff the ship crash lands in Central America. Sam soon discovers that a second ship was left on Earth and determines to fight through the alien army to get to it.
OutRun Online Arcade was developed by Sumo Digital in conjunction with Sega and published by Sega. It was released April 15, 2009 for 800MSP. It is available for a limited time, and will be removed from Xbox Live at the end of 2011.
Sega’s OutRun series has been a staple in racing games for years. So many games spun out of the influence of the original, motion chair enabled, arcade game; Ridge Racer, Daytona USA, even several sequels to OutRun itself. In 2003 Sega released OutRun 2 in arcades around the world. A fully 3D reimagination of the original game, it featured the original split-stage gameplay combined with new challenges and vehicles. The success of OutRun 2 prompted a special edition arcade game, OutRun 2 SP, which featured all new courses and music, as well as a port to the original Xbox. These were all later combined in to the console-exclusive OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast, which featured all the cars, courses and music from both OutRun 2 and its SP counterpart.
In December 2008 Sega announced a new spinoff to the OutRun 2 sub-series, OutRun Online Arcade. Boasting high-definition (1080p) graphics, Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and online play it was truly an OutRun for today’s consoles. Unfortunately due to an upcoming expiration of contract with Ferrari the game will be pulled fro XBLA in December of this year. Are shiny graphics and typical next-gen features do enough to merit the 800MSP price? Find out in today’s Rewind Review.