Dead Rising 2
Blue Castle Games / Capcom
Genre: Action Horror
The Dead Rising series is a group of games that I thoroughly enjoy but don’t get to talk about often. The series is larger than a lot of folks give it credit for at four mainline entries, a number of “side stories” and reimaginings, and a number of films in its mythos. The series has stalled out a bit since its second feature-length movie, Dead Rising: Endgame in 2016 and a re-release of Dead Rising 4 in 2017, but it has a solid foundation of material to sift through for anyone interested in checking it out.
After the success of Dead Rising back in 2006, it seemed to take forever for a second game to follow in its footsteps. When announcements started up in 2009 that another Dead Rising game was on the way, I can remember being pretty excited for some more over-the-top zombie survival using every object I could get my hands on. After three years, it was exciting to think about how far the game could have come from the original, too. The canon ending to the original left plenty of unanswered questions and room for expansion on the plot after all.
Dead Rising 2 had a big set of blood-covered boots to fill, not only from its origins but due to the release of the next entry in Capcom’s heavy hitter series, Resident Evil 5, that came out the same year it was announced. The original game still had some buzz but it was pretty much in bargain bins by the time the second game came around. Promises from the original team, though, showed that the company had faith in their upcoming product. As a fan of the second game from the previous times I’d played it, I wanted to put it under a more critical lens to see if it still held up ten years later. Continue reading
Clock Tower 3
Genre: Survival Horror
There has been a lot of conversation about how great the horror library on the Playstation 2 was in circles I chat with. A lot of these games have hit “cult” status outside of Silent Hill and Resident Evil with a few folks talking about Fatal Frame since it’s managed to continue producing entries up until last generation. In between those games, though, sit titles like Rule of Rose, Kuon, and the follow-up to a little series that found its footing in the US on the first Playstation console: Clock Tower 3.
After the rights to the Clock Tower series switches hands, it fell into the Capcom stable alongside Resident Evil, lending the series a little steam to get attention for its third game. Publisher name aside, the game announced that Kinji Fukusaku who had directed Battle Royale just a few years prior would be in charge of the cutscenes among a handful of other known industry names, some of whom had worked on Capcom’s major series before. The investment in the game’s production was deep, and it seemed like both the developers and the publisher had a lot of resources to draw from.
The last time Clock Tower had changed hands, though, we got a mess of a game with Clock Tower II: The Struggle Within. Understandably, people had a lot of hope for the new game with the names attached to it but were still sore from trusting that the last Clock Tower would live up to the first two games. Personally, my memories of the game were a little hazy, save for a few scenes here and there. In my unofficial pilgrimage to relive some of the games I grew up on and to complete my playthrough of the series entirely, I dug out my copy of Clock Tower 3, booted it up and decided to take a swing at it with some experienced but fresh eyes.
Genre: Action Horror
Zombie games are everywhere. Like the creeping undead they promote, they seem to have vastly grown in number and even when you don’t think they have made their way in, games suddenly have a new mode that has you facing off against the hellish creatures. As someone who swears by Zombie Ate My Neighbors being one of my favorite games of all time, even I have to admit that there’s a lot to look through and not much to be done to make the zombie pseudo-genre feel fresh.
Looking back a bit, though, it didn’t feel like the wave of zombie-centric gaming started to swell until popular games like Resident Evil 4 and Dead Rising hit the scene, bringing a more action-oriented approach to slaying the already slain than many of their predecessors of the era. Plenty of ground had been struck within the Resident Evil series and other one-off titles here and there to give credit where it’s due. At the time of its release, though, Dead Rising felt like a revival of a sort. It was shiny and new while calling back to similar works from film and gaming.
There’s also been about thirteen years of efforts to replicate those shiny and new feelings in a number of ways since. Some have been successful while others have paled in comparison. It only feels right to look back into Capcom’s Dead Rising series, one of the original members of the new wave, and see how it stands up now that so many other games have come around. Plenty of games make a splash and get lost in an ocean of titles and efforts to be the best.
After all of this time, does Dead Rising still hold its own in the arena?
Little Nemo: The Dream Master
Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Action Platformer
Growing up, there were a few movies that I found myself addicted to. Like most kids- whether my parents liked it or not- I insisted on watching certain cartoons until my VCR had them memorized.
One of those movies was ‘Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland’, a story of a young boy who lives out wild escapades in his dreams and inevitably saves the surreal world of Slumberland from the forces of evil that had been locked away (until he showed up, but that’s another story for another time).
I found out that there was a Little Nemo video game, and I was floored. Not only had this game been out already for a couple of years by that time, but I could play through the movie that I had watched almost daily. How amazing was that for my six-or-so-year-old brain to take in?
Well, it wouldn’t be until about a week ago that I actually played through and finished that game. Sit down and little me tell you a little story about Little Nemo: The Dream Master.
Resident Evil: Outbreak
Genre: Survival/Action Horror
There are a few horror series in the video game world that have stood the test of time, even though most have had fluctuation reviews and success. Among the most well known is the Resident Evil series, which even now is revving up to head into its seventh installment in the main series. Like most series, Resident Evil has had its own spin-offs. Among those stands Resident Evil: Outbreak. Personally, I have fond memories of playing this game in college, though plenty of newer fans to the series did not have the opportunity to play the game in its heyday.
Outbreak had a clear distinction from its predecessors. In an effort to bring a new level to the survival horror landscape, Capcom opened online servers to bring their latest installment to online play. Allowing a number of players to play together was meant to expand the series in a new direction and bring fans of the series together in a way that games like Left 4 Dead and Dead by Daylight do in the current industry. With the official servers having been shut down years ago, though, how does the game hold up today? In a series as established as Resident Evil, where does this oft overlooked entry land?