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  1. Aliens: Colonial Marines certainly had its work cut out for it when it launched earlier this year. Regardless of whether you abhorred it, found it simply mediocre, or even enjoyed it, the collective gamer populace have painted it an abomination against gamingkind. Thankfully, this is not the first game based off the film franchise to see release. The Aliens series, or more aptly, its numerous sequels, have seen a great deal of gaming adaptations of their own. If you were disappointed by Aliens: Colonial Marines then perhaps you'll find the following games will prove to be much better experiences. Alien 3 - Genesis (1993) Before Alien 3, there were a handful of Alien-based games out. However, they were primarily computer-exclusive experiences for the likes of Apple II, Amiga, Commodore 64, and many others. Alien 3 was the first series franchise release for popular consoles. In fact, it came out for most anything popular at the time. Master System, NES, SNES, Genesis, and others all got their own version of Alien 3. Of the many versions, Genesis seemed the luckiest. Both the SNES and Genesis versions found themselves with the nicest visual display of a 2D action game. Players jumped into Ripley“s boots and tried their best to survive the hordes of aliens ready to destroy her. Pair the solid (if quite difficult) action gameplay with some awesome music and Alien 3 turned out to be a respectable entry into the series, even with little connection to the film of the same name. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhsT182UwSM Alien Vs. Predator - Arcade (1994) Capcom was not the first to take on Aliens for an arcade game. Konami beat them to the punch in 1990 with Aliens, a run and gun game. Instead of simply trying to replicate that success, Capcom went with another equally profitable route. Alien Vs. Predator mashed the two popular properties together and made a beat ”em up. The game allowed for up to three player cooperative play at once, in order to best be fed more coins. It includes two colonial marines as well as two Predators who may be selected for play. With bright visuals and exciting play, it might not be the most accurate representation of the franchise it is based on, but it definitely went down as an arcade classic. Unfortunately, it has yet to see a port to consoles either in the past or via XBLA or PSN. Alien Vs. Predator - Jaguar (1994) This game may have the same name as Capcom“s brawler, but it couldn“t be farther from it. Alien Vs. Predator is one of the most well-known games for Atari“s unsuccessful Jaguar console. Alongside Tempest 3000, it was one of the only reasons to buy a game on the system. Of course, the game was far from perfect but the considerably small library left little room for being choosy. What Alien Vs. Predator got right was its atmosphere. The game is played from a first person perspective of either an Alien or Predator, and forces you to navigate through dark and lonely halls. Coming across an enemy is a routinely shocking experience considering the enemies didn“t make sounds, and made this an example of a shooter that could actually be scary. Alien Trilogy - PlayStation (1996) What if you are looking for a more action-oriented Aliens shooter? Perhaps Aliens Trilogy for PlayStation, Saturn, and PC is more up your alley. As the name implies, it is based off the first three films although from a first person shooter perspective. Let“s hope that is fun enough, as the story in the game is entirely minimal. Some might view Alien Trilogy as too close to a Doom-style shooter, but it manages to get the feel of Alien down well. Seeing aliens burst out of the shadows to attack you is creepy and the FPS controls are a blast (if a bit antiquated today). Despite residing on PlayStation, the game has not seen a re-release as a PSOne Classic yet. Aliens Infestation - Nintendo DS (2011) Now we get to the latest game on the list. Aliens Infestation was a largely overlooked DS game that received an overall popular response. The sidescrolling shooter is actually the work of both WayForward and Gearbox, which may be of special interest to some, considering Gearbox also took part in developing Aliens: Colonial Marines. Of course, the two games couldn“t be more different. With a distinct Metroidvania vibe, Aliens Infestation starts you out with a party of four marines. If one dies, they“re gone for good, which makes the already tough game even harder. With WayFoward on board, the game is adorned with attractive and highly detailed pixel graphics. Overall, this is a recent hidden gem for DS that deserves a look. These five games don“t even scratch the surface of what is available to play from the Aliens universe. The franchise has seen so many variations and fit into multiple genres that every gamer should be able to find at least one game that suits them. Many Alien games have also been less than stellar, although none have received such vitriol as the latest. Instead of engaging or humoring those people, consider enjoying another piece of the Aliens game library instead.
  2. With so many video games released every year it would be foolish to expect all of them to be marvelous. In fact, a great deal of them are fairly mediocre while others are downright stinkers. Every so often, a game manages to be so bad that it causes an uproar. Gamers don“t just avoid these special games, they rant and rave about them for months and years down the road. Will Aliens: Colonial Marines join their dubious ranks? It hasn“t been long enough to tell, but in the meantime, let“s visit the hall of fame which no game ever hopes to be inducted into. Daikatana Games are regularly seeing longer and longer development cycles, some of which are more infamous than others. Daikatana was one such game that seemed to languish in development for a while. Many began to see developer John Romero as a pompous, spoiled guy rather than someone trying to create their dream game. It was an ugly situation leading to launch and even uglier once the product was out. Thanks to numerous delays, Daikatana hit the market looking graphically worse than other games of the same year, despite having hoped to be technically superior. Then there was the gameplay itself which suffered many glitches. Aspects touted as revolutionary, such as AI partners, ended up being more laughably broken than anything else. A patch came to make the game more playable, but by then the damage was already done. Devil May Cry 2 The original Devil May Cry was a rousing success in creating a truly exciting action game with a real sense of difficulty. With such a high starting point, fans eagerly waited to get their hands on Devil May Cry 2. Unfortunately, the sequel did not live up to lofty ideals set by fans and even failed to attain the same finesse of the first. Criticisms were lobbed chiefly at lowered difficulty, although that wasn“t all it got wrong. The character of Dante seemed changed in personality as well, which is still something fans have wrangled with (see DmC). Basically, it seemed that all the changes to the game were ones which brought it down a peg from the bar Devil May Cry had set. It“s true that games must be updated at some point to stay innovative but this seems more an example of how not to handle sequels. Duke Nukem Forever When modern gamers reflect on games that truly defined the worst of this generation, it is Duke Nukem Forever that tends to come to mind. Initially, this 3D Realms-developed title looked like it would be something monumental. As the years wore on, and as the game got tossed around, it seemed that the game would never make it out of development hell. After fifteen years, Duke Nukem Forever finally launched, but it would have been better if it never did. Gamers immediately found themselves disgusted by the game. Not only did it play like a relic from years ago, but it had the mindset of a goofy teenager. While the “humor” and narrative might have passed for good in the '90s, it did not fly in 2011. Waiting years for a game that just turned out to be bad made gamers rightly unhappy, and now it stands as a warning to any games with incredibly long development cycles. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial The infamous Atari 2600 E.T. game never had the chance to be good. In anticipation of the Christmas season, programmer Howard Warsaw was given only five weeks to create a game based off the smash hit film. He did what he could, but there wasn“t nearly enough time to create something good with the license. What was sold to customers was a sore excuse for a game that“s biggest resemblance to the film is an E.T. shaped sprite. As it turned out, consumers were not ready to accept such tripe disguised as a game. Instead, people returned the game in droves, as well as the subpar port of arcade classic Pac-Man. Of course, that doesn't mean other bad games weren“t coming out for Atari, but these were the biggest names that flopped. It“s one thing to say a game sucks, but a whole other thing to be pinpointed as a reason why the entire video game industry crashed in 1983. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty There“s one untruth that still lingers about Metal Gear Solid 2. It isn“t that bad of a game. However, it received completely warranted hate when it launched due to how Hideo Kojima knowingly duped the gaming audience prior to its launch. It“s something only Kojima could conceive and seems impossible to pull off in this day and age. Basically, everyone involved in Metal Gear Solid 2 made sure to keep the game“s true protagonist a secret. Gameplay footage showed Snake just as everyone expected. Once the game was out, though, people began to play and realized that the large majority of it focused around playing as Raiden. Described as a “bishonen” by Kojima himself, Raiden being the star instead of Snake made fans rabid for being totally deceived. With all that said, there are dozens of other games that received strong negative reactions from gamers. Some games that are much loved now were the subject of much hate, such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Resident Evil 4, Superman: The New Adventures, and more. On the other hand, some games that went mostly unknown in the past have gained a large following over their awfulness, such as the Nintendo properties on CDi. There will always be bad games coming out but hopefully players will be able to spot them from a mile away.
  3. Whether they“re called collectors, limited, or special editions, these more expensive editions of video games have become an even bigger part of the gaming landscape since the start of the seventh generation of consoles. In the past, only a select few titles would be lucky enough to get multiple versions. With this current generation, however, we have seen the amount (and price) of special editions skyrocket. Every triple-A title has one, and even more niche games are beginning to get them. With so many special editions vying for people“s attention they sometimes get a little... weird. Just take the recently revealed Dead Island: Riptide Zombie Bait Edition. Although the edition was never meant to come out in America, many discovered it and instantly started reacting negatively. The set came with many expected tchotchkes but also a “bust” of an unfortunate vacationer from the game. The negative reaction was so big that it even caused the developer to issue an apology (although they have yet to state if they will cancel production of said product). With that in mind, let“s look back at some other eyebrow-raising, creepy, and downright bad special edition that have appeared before. F.E.A.R. 3 Collector“s Edition What is something to truly fear? Apparently the Collector“s Edition of F.E.A.R. 3 which included, among other things, a statue of antagonist Alma. It wasn“t just any Alma though. Nope, this is Alma post F.E.A.R. 2 - adult, nude, and pregnant with a glow-in-the-dark fetus visible. While it could be argued that this was very relevant to the game, it doesn“t change the fact that it was totally creepy. This edition of the game was available in Europe and probably inspired a great deal of nightmares. Record of Agarest War - The Really Naughty Limited Edition Here is an example of a very Japanese-style special edition which was actually brought to North America. Not only was the box adorned with seriously eyebrow-raising pictures on every inch of it, but the contents inside were questionable as well. There was a pillowcase decked out with an anime gal from the game as well as a mouse pad with “breasts” for wrist support. While it may have prevented some gamers from getting carpal tunnel syndrome, it most certainly did not help anyone to become less creepy. Since this, a few other games have taken to bringing over similarly awkward wares. Rez Special Package The PS2 music/shooter hybrid Rez actually had two special editions in Japan. First there was the rare Kanzentousui Set, which included headphones, but that“s not the one we“re going to talk about. No, I'm referring to the “Trance Vibrator” package. While it is amicable to want a rhythm game to really entrance a player, a small vibrating block doesn“t seem exactly the way to do it. DualShock controllers already vibrated to begin with, after all. As such, the peripheral has amused immature gamers for years, and with good reason. Rez“s port on 360 gives players a taste of the Trance Vibrator by allowing other controllers to vibrate in place of it. Give it a shot if you“re interested but unwilling to pick up the actual device. Dead Space 2 Collector“s Edition There are actually a great deal of collector“s editions with goodies that have sexual or creepy connotations. Let“s move away from that now and discuss the depressing Dead Space 2 Collector“s Edition. It came with a few standard extras, but the item which most intrigued fans was the replica plasma cutter. There was no description of size prior to launch and pictures were not the best at showcasing size. When the time came to open sets, gamers were disappointed to see the toy was not only tiny, but also cheap plastic adorned with a "Made in China" sticker. It also didn“t help that the replica was later sold separately as well, making the whole draw of this Collector“s Edition fairly worthless. Cardcaptor Sakura Tomoyo no Video Daisakusen Special Edition Box This obviously Japanese special edition wins the award for being one of the strangest out there. Sure, there are a lot of strange items available across expensive game editions, but the items within this one have not been replicated often to the best of my knowledge. Included with this edition was the expected pillow case but also a fork, spoon, decorative plate, and clock. What exactly does eating have to do with Cardcaptor Sakura? Your guess is as good as mine, and it“s for that reason that this game immediately comes to mind for weirdest collector“s edition out there. As you can see, there have been bad special editions available in all regions. Sometimes they are bad because they“re absolutely disgusting but other times it“s because of how horribly they are attempting to rip off customers. As of now, the trend in special editions seems to be moving towards digital content, but we still see many physical items available. Let“s hope that there is never a time where all collector“s editions are DLC because bad sets are so much fun to look at! What are some of the worst special edition sets you have seen? Which ones were a total rip off or hilarious?
  4. Marcus Estrada

    Nintendo Announces Wii U Launch Titles

    Finally! Although Nintendo had a trio of conferences across regions two weeks ago, they were not yet ready to announce all the launch titles for Wii U. Today Nintendo has gone and announced the 23 games that will be in stores at launch. Are you ready to see what games will be gracing your shiny new Wii U on November 18th? How about games that are still within the launch window? Here's the list for November 18th: Assassin's Creed III Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition Call of Duty: Black Ops II Darksiders II Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13 ESPN Sports Connection Game Party Champions Just Dance 4 New Super Mario Bros. U Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge Nintendo Land Rabbids Land Scribblenauts Unlimited Sing Party Skylanders Giants Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition Transformers Prime Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper Wipeout 3 Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 ZombiU Launch window games are as follows and given release months where available: 007 Legends Aliens: Colonial Marines Ben 10 Omniverse Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013 Chasing Aurora - November Cloudberry Kingdom - November Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Game & Wario Jeopardy! Lego City Undercover Little Inferno - November Madden NFL 13 - November Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth Mass Effect 3 Mighty Switch Force HD - November Nano Assault Neo - November Pikmin 3 Rapala Pro Bass Fishing Rayman Legends Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien - January Tank! Tank! Tank! - November Toki Tori 2 - November Trine 2: Director's Cut - November Wheel of Fortune Wii Fit U The Wonderful 101 "Launch window" extends from November 18th to March 31st of next year, by the way. Does the list of launch day games seem familiar? It should, as it was leaked just shortly after Nintendo's Wii U conference! Every game that was noted on their official site as being available on November 18th really will be. With the info available in their database for so long though it's a wonder they decided to keep from sharing the titles in an official press release for so long. Now that we know the official launch date/window games are you any more interested in a Wii U? Less?
  5. Video game adaptations of television shows are hardly something new. For years we've seen these games grace systems from the NES all the way up to today. Knight Rider, The Dukes of Hazzard, Lost, and more have all seen game versions of their respective shows - some with more success than others. Lately, we've seen some excellent adaptations such as Telltale's The Walking Dead, which brings hope for future adaptations. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of making games that both emulate the series they're based on and are still fun. How is it possible for games to come out which are accurate depictions of the series? It's usually due to developers simply not being able to discern how best to convey a show in a game format. Sometimes it even seems like they just don't know what makes games enjoyable. Other times, it's probably due to a low budget. Regardless, some awful adaptations have made their way onto systems over the years. Here are a handful of the ones you might remember for all the wrong reasons. Desperate Housewives: The Game (PC) Of all the shows that could probably translate into a decent video game, Desperate Housewives is not one. When you think about the soap opera stylings of the drama series it doesn't really seem to lend itself well to gaming form. Beyond that, does the Housewives audience and gamer one have a massive cross section of consumers? Incredibly, when the game launched in 2006 it did narrowly miss being in the top 10 PC sellers for the month. Still, what kind of game was it and what made it so bad? Desperate Housewives: The Game basically ended up looking like The Sims but with focus on a story. This probably sounds awesome, but it didn't end up working out that way. For example, the Sims comparison is purely aesthetic. You wander around your very Sim-like house but can't actually modify your house beyond upgrading choice furniture. You take the role of the newest neighbor (with an awkward secret) on Wisteria Lane and are shoved headfirst into their gossipy world. The writing is surprisingly funny, but is generally reduced to very catty, petty, and overall unpleasant conversations. Most of the time your dialogue choices don't even seem to affect the reactions you get from them. The game was certainly ambitious but the story play aspects are a failure. Beyond that, you've got the more typical gameplay stylings which also aren't good. Tasks such as cooking for your family are reduced to Cooking Mama-style minigames, except without any of the fun. Wandering around Wisteria Lane is hardly exciting, and even though you can warp, it still feels like more work than it's worth. If you really need to be immersed in the rumor-spreading, husband-stealing world of Desperate Housewives then you'll get that experience with the game. It's just that the matter of actually playing the game will leave you hungering for anything else. Why not just watch the show? Xena: Warrior Princess (PS1) Xena: Warrior Princess was an excellent, action-packed show when it aired in the 90s. With entertaining characters as well as fighting it makes sense that it would look like perfect game fodder. Under different hands, it probably could produce a massively fun game. However, for the release of Xena: Warrior Princess on PS1 it seems that Vivendi just did not set aside enough funding for it. Either that or they figured they could toss out some junk which would still get gobbled up. That's probably fair of many game adaptations though... Yes, this was an earlier time in gaming, but the PS1 Xena hack 'n slash still isn't a good game. The graphics are acceptable but everything else falls into the category of miserable. Controlling Xena is probably the biggest chore and the biggest crime possible. If you're making a game about an agile warrior, wouldn't you think to make sure she feels that way to control? No, instead you're got a character as clunky as the original Resident Evil cast and are still forced into "action-packed" situations. I put the phrase "action-packed" in quotes because the fights are anything but. The enemies are bumbling around a lot of the time and give you many opportunities to kick their butts. Because you're controlling cement-shoed Xena, though, you're instead likely to get beat up anyway. Attacking enemies accurately is much more of a chore than it should be, as is most everything else in the game. There is so much to draw from with Xena: Warrior Princess that it's a shame it never really got a game that worked well. Grey's Anatomy (PC) With a game like Grey's Anatomy, you would think they would be able to create something worthwhile. The Trauma Center series already existed when it launched so it would have been so easy for Ubisoft to crib from it. And to a degree, they did, but somehow managed to mess it all up. When you start playing the game you might think it's not that bad. The graphics are an interesting cel shading-like style and aesthetically pleasing. However, as soon as you get into actually playing it for more than a minute, then you realize it's all gone terribly wrong. The game attempts to keep drama and discussion at the forefront, just like the show, but goes about it in the wrong way. You may choose options of what you want to do in certain situations, but then are forced to play inane minigames to go along with them. They're all incredibly simple and mostly rely on simply clicking and dragging the mouse. While some series like Rhythm Heaven and WarioWare thrive off super simple minigames, this particular game still falters for a few main reasons. One, there are only about ten minigames or so in the entire package (and they are just re-skinned or very slightly tweaked). Then there's the fact that they don't even look interesting or entertaining, and are just completely dull. Beyond making choices and playing various minigames, there's nothing else to the package. The story is contrived (although perhaps the same could be said for the show its based off) so you probably won't be enthralled by it. The saddest thing about Grey's Anatomy is how it could have simply just ripped off something else and succeeded. However, even the surgery minigames are ridiculously simple and some are just plain disturbing to look at. Hopefully you were never gifted this game by a well-meaning but woefully uninformed family member. Dexter (PC) When you've got a TV show with multiple Emmy awards under its belt you think it'd be worth creating a good game version. The Dexter video game started life as an iOS title but also received a PC port. Although the game itself is passable as an iOS title, it in no way stands up on the PC. Why couldn't there have just been a much more involved game created? It honestly feels like the developers were trying but it was to no avail. In the game, you play as Dexter (who is actually voiced by Michael C. Hall). The soundtrack is all Daniel Licht's compositions too. You've got a lot of possible positives for the game so far, but once you start playing, you realize it's not at all what it could be. The graphics are okay on a smartphone but of course really gross on a PC. Even when compared to early PS2 games you see that there just seems to be no effort put into the design of the world. Even if you can't make something look graphically impressive you can still design things well. Graphics certainly aren't the end-all be-all of games so how does it actually play? It plays a lot like you might expect a game born on a smartphone to play - badly. Poor Dexter controls in a haphazard fashion and this leads to a lot of issues when playing stealth segments. Goals and updates flash across the screen as big, gaudy buttons and make you feel like you're playing a PowerPoint presentation rather than a full game. One especially unfortunate gameplay element ported over is the way you kill characters. The actual killing is presented as a minigame where you do gestures in a set time frame. This works easily on a phone where you can directly touch the screen, but on a PC it ends up being an annoying feature. Despite all this, the game still did well and has an upcoming sequel. CSI: Deadly Intent (360) If you don't pay attention to the world of television-based games, then you might not realize that there are currently about ten separate games based on CSI available. The first was in 2003, but we're still seeing the games trickle in today. Despite so many titles though, it seems that many of the issues from the earlier games still plague the latest releases! It seems that no one is willing to learn a lesson and that apparently CSI fans will put up with all the trouble in the world to get more of it. Focusing on CSI: Deadly Intent for 360, it's easy to see some of the biggest problems with the series. Although it features characters you know as well as interesting crimes, it fails to present them in an intrugiging way. Unlike watching an episode, you are forced to ponderously maneuver through crime scenes without much guidance. While characters in the show will find what they need and progress onto new scenes, you will probably find it more difficult. It's not that things are placed secretively, but the simple task of navigation is slow and even a bit confusing at times. You can look over lots of the scene, although most of it will end of being no use to you. All you really need to do is hone in on the specific spots the game wants you to so you can progress. What's most surprising is that Telltale has been handling the games for a while. With the incredible effort they've put into things like the Back to the Future and The Walking Dead series, it's almost shameful to know they developed these too. Instead of attempting to work out their own wonderful way to make the games, they just stuck with the broken method of the old Ubisoft stuff and have continued to pump it out. CSI: Deadly Intent is not the latest of the CSI video games, but they're mostly all interchangeable as far as quality goes. After looking at this smattering of games I think it's fair to say that TV fanatics are often an overlooked gaming audience. At least, if you're a TV watcher who wants good games then you're not factored in as the main audience. Still, we've seen some nice TV to game adaptations and with things like The Walking Dead Episodes out, then we're probably set to see more. It's possible for games, just like movies, to make the transition into the gaming world without being utterly terrible. What are some of your favorite TV-based games? What are some of the worst you've played?