Forgotten Gems

‘Jet Force Gemini’: Lost in the shuffle of great Rare titles

Despite the awkward interim development and ugly 3D of its graphics, the N64, with its eerily shaped controller and under-utilized “camera” buttons (hint: that’s what C stood for, on all four of ’em) gave birth to a staggering amount of first and second party classics during its six year run, thanks in no small part to a little studio called Rare.

‘Final Fantasy XIII-2’ remains one of the greatest RPGs of our time

One of the most common requests that has reverberated from the RPG community has been the desire for a true Chrono Trigger successor. What fans have spent years pining for was the dream of a modern game that featured all of the great ideas which made CT the instant classic that it was: time-travel, vastly different timelines, paradoxes, and choices that showed consequences over the course of thousands of years. What very few people realize is that this highly anticipated ideal of a game has already come and gone under a different title: Final Fantasy XIII-2.

‘Blast Corps’ makes for hours of gleeful destruction

While there’s a long and varied laundry list of games that have challenged you to save the world, and more than a few that have challenged you to destroy it, Blast Corps must be the first game to task you with saving the world by destroying it.

‘Spyro the Dragon’ delights with humor and heart

These days, when you mention dragons, people automatically think of Toothless and his fanged friends from the How To Train Your Dragon series. In the days of old (1998), before Toothless won us over, there was only one dragon on everyone’s mind, Spyro. I was introduced to Spyro the Dragon when I was a wee lass back in high school, when the only console to play on was the Playstation.

Spyro the Dragon

Insomniac Games

Sony Computer Entertainment America

PSX

These days, when you mention dragons, people automatically think of Toothless and his fanged friends from the How To Train Your Dragon series. In the days of old (1998), before Toothless won us over, there was only one dragon on everyone’s mind, Spyro. I was introduced to Spyro the Dragon when I was a wee lass back in high school, when the only console to play on was the Playstation.

‘Body Harvest’ crafts endless ingenuity hampered only by its hardware

The graphics are so awful and the draw distance so shallow, that the perpetually foggy landscape becomes an enemy itself, endangering the player with unseen chasms and veiled ravines. The controls are so clunky when on foot and so floaty when on vehicles, that following the simplest road is a challenge worthy of the Paris-Dakar circuit. Gunfights with gargantuan bugs, which have come to harvest humans on Earth, are so confusing, such a fuzzy tangle of rainbow lasers and gelatinous blobs, occasionally interrupted by the smoky remnant of an explosion, that your Orange Glo soldier becomes lost in the visual chaos. Secrets scattered throughout each level are tucked into such distant valleys and improbable mountain ranges (cubist sculptures that only distantly resemble geological formations), that finding them is almost not worth the effort. Body Harvest has all the makings of a colossal failure, comparable, in its own generation, to Superman 64 and Small Soldiers. And yet, it is known as one of the best titles for the Nintendo 64.

‘AudioSurf’ builds a unique musical ride

Music has the power to make you move, to inspire great works, and to touch your soul. But as the year draws to a close, Christmas music prepares to blast our eardrums for what seems like an eternity, music becomes the enemy (I love Christmas, but can we at least wait till Thanksgiving is over before we deck the halls?). Before we all stuff our ears with cotton, let’s reflect on a game that really brought music to life in the distant year of 2008.

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