Mstation Games Review Valid RSS

Fri, 28 Jan 2005

Feb comments

Sometimes you wonder if people writing on this subject (games!) are fantastically ignorant or whether they're in the pay of evil forces.

"Pretend so-and-so doesn't exist and there's a Bermuda bank account for ya son" or something like that. The first console to spring to mind in connection with this is Nintendo's GC. The facts are that it has been profitable for years and there are more of them out there than Xbox's. To hear some people, you would think they were on their last legs and had one user out there.

Another is the N-Gage. It is not in the same postion as the GC but the company keep plugging away at it and their games are coming along well, yet there are snide asides in some mags that should know better, and even the spread of rumours that Nokia are about to give up.

Why is this? Do they want there to be one console and one handheld? Mstation doesn't. We like choice, and that comes from diversity obviously.

So, anyway, we'll be looking at quite a few N-Gage titles as they come up and whatever else interesting we can find.

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N-Gage: Shadowkey, Vir21 Studios

This is only on N-Gage and is the first adventure game I've seen for the platform. It supports one or two players as well.

To start with, as is usual with this sort of game, you construct your character from a range of different sorts like Knight, Mage, etc and you get to choose some sub-qualities as well. After that you're let loose in a 3D world where, as you close an object that you can do something with, you get a message on the screen. Enemies such as giant rats don't have a message but it's fairly obvious that the use of one of your weapons is necessary.

Players of these sorts of games won't find any difficulty in figuring out what's going on or what to do and I wouldn't think first-timers would have much of a problem either. One thing is that, on the big consoles, this sort of gaming is being bypassed by the big publishers who can only see the genre du jour. The way to keep this sort of thing alive is to support it. (kerfoham)

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N-Gage: Colin Mcrae Rally, Codemasters

Not too bad at all. The graphics are nicely judged, with the level of detail about right for a small screen. The physics are impressive as you crash into trees and banks and maybe suffer a rollover or two. There isn't quite enough grunt in the CPU or memory to show after accident damage but you do get nice touches like a flashing taillight or two.

Starting off in a time trial soon reveals you only get to play in one place, but opting for a single rally soon changes the scenery. Graduating from that, you can miss planes, trains, and busses by going for a full championship and seeing a wide variety of scenery from all around the world.

You can create driver profiles that include what nationality and skill you are along with which car from a limited number of car choices. Once you're going along in a rally, you might damage the car and, like a real rally, you get to make choices of what you can repair within the time limit. (furd)

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Mario, Metal Gear Solid, Blinx 2

Nintendo DS: Super Mario 64 DS, Nintendo The conventional wisdom is that Nintendo didn't have time to produce a game to thoroughly make use of the DS's capabilities and so gussied up ole Mario. The conventional wisdom is also that they did a tip-top job. PS2: Metal Gear Solid 3, Konami Franchise extender adds all kinds of detail that could be self-parody but could also be wonderful. Xbox: Blinx 2, Artoon Hardcore gamers find this time lord update annoyingly bereft of something to munch on. It could be quite OK for kids though.

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