Time to crank up your nostalgia whilst feeling that tear form in the corner of your eye, as you feast upon three absolute belting games from the past! Over at BoxPlay we have been wishing….no DEMANDING someone get off their ass and bring us gamers what we deserve, with new iterations of these awesome franchises from days gone. Here are our top three for this week.
1- Legacy of Kain-Soul Reaver.
When I have a discussion with anyone around the same age as me (35), every single one of them mentions Soul Reaver. Released way back in 1999 on PlayStation, Windows and then later in 2000 on the Dreamcast, Soul Reaver has to be one of my all time favourite games. It is definitely one that sticks in the memory, fundamentally because at the time I didn’t fee like there was a similar experience to be had anywhere else. My PlayStation took quite the battering, from hours of gameplay and the occasional vent of anger which can be attributable to partially being crap at understanding the puzzles, and the rest to teenage hormones.
Set in the fictional world of Nosgoth, you play Raziel a disfigured but ultimate badass Vampire Wraith. The health of the world is tied to nine pillars, each of which is represented by a guardian. Before the events of Soul Reaver the guardians became corrupt. Kain (the games main antagonist) killed 8 of them before finding out he was the ninth guardian. Refusing to sacrifice himself, he doomed Nosgoth to an era of decay, recruiting his Vampire lieutenants and decimating the land. Raziel was one of these lieutenants. However at the start of the game Raziel presents himself to Kain with a new set of wings. In a fit of jealousy Kain tears Raziels wings off his back and casts him into the Lake of the Dead, from where the Elder God (an underworld deity) resurrects the vampire to become his new ‘Soul Reaver’ to kill Kain and restore Nosgoth.
The gameplay allows you to shift between the material and spectral planes, solving puzzles and using a hack and slash combat, with numerous combinations which worked really well. Some areas would require you to shift into the wraith and transverse the spectral plane in order to pass areas or objects Raziel would not be able to do in his physical form. Likewise certain puzzles can only be done in the physical form as you need to pull switches, move boxes etc. Early on in the game Raziel can glide using his broken wings and fight with his claws and spears, but as he gains new powers and abilities from defeating his clan brothers, you gain a whole host of magical and elemental attacks which can cause devastating damage to your vampiric foes.
With a fantastic plot, great setting and superb voice acting Soul Reaver was definitely a game ahead of its time. You can certainly see influences of its legacy in such games as Shadow of Mordor and the new Shadow of War. With a current trend of revivals and re-masters, Soul Reaver is one we would absolutely love to see return from the Lake of the Dead.
2- The Saboteur
Back in 2009 I was doing a number of things. Learning the undeniable qualities of drinking alcohol, spraying copious amounts of Lynx deodorant thinking it would work like it did in the ads, and playing Pandemics Studios brilliant, The Saboteur. Set in Nazi occupied Paris, You play hard-drinking Irishman Sean Devlin. Devlin is a race mechanic, whom along with his best friend Jules Rousseau, is cheated out of a Grand Prix victory by a naughty Nazi Colonel, Kurt Dierker. Seeking vengeance the two set out to sabotage Dierker’s car but are captured, and ultimately accused of being British spies. Dierker executes Jules, Devlin escapes and ultimately sets up the rest of the game to take his revenge against the Nazis.
Along the way you are conscripted by the French Resistance and meet British Special Agent Skylar (Romantic interest) who aids Devlin in his pursuit of revenge. Despite being set in World War 2, the conflict only plays as a backdrop to the main story to avenge Jules death and protecting his sister Veronique.
During the open world you encounter occupied areas, easily recognisable due to them being in black and white, with only the colour changing once you have created a resistance and taken the area back. Cough…Infamous…cough. Once Districts are ‘inspired’, there will be less Germans in that area plus Seans actions will become less noticeable to the occupiers. Devlin can achieve such uprisings by sabotaging German infrastructure, such as loud speakers, vehicles and taking out German commanders using a wide range of weapons, explosives and German disguises. As the game progresses, Sean can improve his abilities and increase his arsenal allowing him to get closer and closer to his final objective, Colonel Dierker.
Unfortunately The Saboteur was to be Pandemics Studios swan song, as after development was wrapped the Studio was liquidated. At least this great game saw the light of day, and what a way to go out with a bang!
3- Rogue Squadron
So in an earlier article I admitted to not having much experience with Nintendos Consoles. One game I did however get to play at a friends was Rogue Squadron, after which I went out and bought a N64. I played Goldeneye, WWF Wrestlemania and Rogue Squadron so much they made the acquisition worth the purchase. So why would I bring Rogue Squadron back???? It was AMAZING.
I’m a Star Wars fan! I also don’t accept there are people out there who are not Star Wars fans….unless all they have seen is Episode 1-3, which like many others, I have decided never existed. December 1998 was the year LucasArts and co-developer Factor 5 released the game on N64. And im sure glad they did.
The game takes place between the events of Star Wars- A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, with which you assume the character of Luke Skywalker (if you don’t know who he is we can’t be friends), leader of a band of elite X-Wing Pilots known as Rogue Squadron. The game covers 16 arcady levels across a number of Galactic settings and planets. Now anyone who has seen the films will know flying an X-Wing is everyone’s fantasy, and at the time this was the closest thing you could get to it. Fast paced objective based battles with numerous enemies created a truly great gaming experience. You took control of up to five rebel fighters, the X-Wing, Y-Wing, Snowspeeder, A-Wing and V-Wing. Enemies mainly composed of Tie-Fighters, ground defenses, and later more varied foes in the shape of probes, Stormtroopers and Walkers. Once the level was complete you were graded by a medal system and could unlock new craft to go back and try the mission from a different perspective.
As you earn more medals you could unlock bonus levels such as Beggars Canyon and the iconic Death Star trench run…how are you not sold already? Luckily by this time The Phantom Menace was only just approaching release….Im glad they released the game…im not so happy they released the film. Rogue Squadron did so well it was followed by a second and third installment…it has been too long waiting for a fourth. May the fourth be with us…..
Did you play any of these games from the past? What were your feelings towards them? Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below and stay tuned for more Blasts from the Past.