Sunday, 30 March 2008

Consolation Prize Has Moved

Consolation Prize has moved to its new permanent home at If you've enjoyed this site then please hop along to the new home and update any bookmarks.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Game Update (26th March)

I finally managed to finish off Devil May Cry 4 over the Easter Weekend. Its not an overly long game, weighing in at about 12 hours, and I’m sure it’s possible to fly through the game a lot quicker once you know what to do.

I’ve decided to run through the game once more on the next difficulty level, mainly to try and unlock some more achievements but also because you start off with all previously accumulated character experience, skills, abilities and items which makes the devil hunting so much more fun.

There were a couple of frustrating points about the game, which I’ll elaborate on when I write up a review, and you tend to retread the same path and locations about halfway through the game but overall it’s a great "hack ‘n slash" experience for fans of the genre.

As usual there's a backlog of games waiting to be played but so little time available. So what’s next on the list? Well, a certain Miss Croft is looking seductively enticing in Tomb Raider: Anniversary, however, Kratos may have something to say about that and barge and tear his way to the front of the list when God of War: Chains of Olympus is released later this week (UK) for the PSP.

As usual I’ll keep you posted!


Monday, 24 March 2008

Rocketmen: Axis of Evil

Rocketmen: Axis of Evil , available from Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 points, is a game that tries to play homage to the early comic book style of science fiction with finned rockets, Venusians and dastardly Martians.

The trial of this top-down action “dungeon crawler” style game starts off quite well allowing you to customise your characters traits such as the gender, race, class and clothing colour. Presentation wise it all looks quite good. Comic book style cut scenes with voiceovers are used to further the tongue-in-cheek storyline and the art design suits the retro Sci-Fi style of the game and could have been taken from a 1930’s episode of Flash Gordon.

The game is simple enough to play. Wade through the level shooting anything that moves while picking up the occasional time limited weapon upgrade such as a shotgun or laser cannon, with the aim of completing the primary mission objective.

However, there are some major flaws. Although the isometric backgrounds are decent enough the animation of the lead character is pretty poor as if only half the number frames have been drawn. Criminally as you move through the level you are cut off from returning to any previously trodden area unless it’s part of the level design, thus if you like to explore a level fully or return for pickups you are going to be disappointed. Finally the enemy AI, if you can call it that, isn’t anything special with the difficulty of the game induced by throwing swarms of mindless enemies at the player.

I really tried to like this game. The old retro Sci-Fi feel of the game provokes distant memories of watching black and white episodes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, but unfortunately the game is spoiled by its flaws and the gameplay is a little too bland for my tastes.


Thursday, 20 March 2008

Triggerheart Exelica

It looks like it’s been a quiet few weeks for demo’s and arcade games for the Xbox 360 while I’ve been away but I noticed there were a few new titles to try out.

Originally released in the Japanese arcades a couple of years ago (2006) Triggerheart Exelica, now on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 points, is a traditional top down vertical shoot ‘em up with the usual formulaic mix of hordes of enemies, end of stage boss encounters and an obscene amount of enemy weapon fire to dodge.

The trial game allows you to play the first stage of five, choosing from one of two humanoid weapon systems known as “Triggerhearts”. There isn’t too much difference between the two apart from the onscreen representation of these cute anime inspired mecha girls and the different fire patterns employed. Exelica uses a wide fire pattern while Crueltear has concentrated straight forward fire only.

The novelty of this game is the use of the anchor. Fired straight ahead via the “B” button this allows the player to grab enemies, spinning them around the triggerheart before hurling them back to cause damage. If an enemy is too large the anchor acts as a lock-on allowing you to concentrate on dodging incoming shots which is extremely useful for the end of stage boss encounters.

Triggerheart Exelica takes no prisoners and it won’t be long before all but the most proficient shoot ‘em up players see the “continue” screen. As a result of the difficulty it’s hard to see how this could appeal to the casual gamer, but if you’re a die hard fan of shooters then this is worth a try.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Back from Winter Park

I’ve now returned from a fantastic snowboarding holiday in Winter Park and I can safely say it had some of the best snow and trails I’ve ever experienced. Ah, the memories… No bones were broken, just some minor sprains, and my body clock is now returning to normal after a few days of confusion from jet lag and a very long return journey when our flight was cancelled because of very high winds in London.

As you can probably imagine I was a bit too preoccupied to play any games on the DS while away as I'd hoped. I’m only just settling back into normality here in the UK and catching up with the latest goings on with our beloved hobby, but as soon as I'm back in the flow you can expect the usual run of impressions and reviews to continue.


Friday, 22 February 2008

Heading for the Slopes!

Just a brief post to say that there won’t be any updates for a while as I’m embarking on another Snowboarding trip soon. This time I’m off to Winter Park, Colorado, USA and I can’t wait to hit the slopes!

Also, I found out yesterday from a colleague that the site hasn't been displaying correctly on Internet Explorer since Wednesday. This has now been fixed and I'll have to ensure I check the site with other browsers more often. Apologies!

I’ll be posting as usual upon my return and I’ve a few improvements planned for Consolation Prize which I didn’t want to implement before the trip. Until then, whatever game you're playing, have fun!


N+ Leaves a Positive Impression

This weeks Xbox Live release for 800 MS points is N+, a game that stays true to the “game play over graphics” philosophy and looking beyond its minimalist art design there lies a highly entertaining action puzzle platform game.

The game is split into fifty odd episodes with each episode split into five levels. The aim is simple, guide the ninja to the exit in as little time as possible before the time runs out while avoiding any hazards. At the start of each episode you’re allocated 90 seconds and the remaining time is carried over from level to level. However each level is littered with gold which can be collected to increase your time.

Depending on the level there could be a number of hazards standing in the way of your ninja and the exit. Some are passive that effect the level like doors, trapdoors and launch pads, while others such as homing missile turrets, laser drones, and gauss turrets will have a very detrimental effect on the ninja’s life expectancy. Death at some point is inevitable, but luckily you have an infinite number of lives until the timer runs.

Each level gets progressively more difficult and you have to rely not only on your reflexes but also some grey matter to figure out the best path to the exit. It’s addictively compelling stuff, something simple yet very playable.

N+ has a retro feel to it. Not only do the simple graphics feel like they could have originated from a decade ago, but the choice of music and text font all solidify that feeling. To some this brave style choice may be a bit too bland but I applaud the minimalist approach to the design and in this case less is certainly more.