Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sony Playstation Special Part 1

As with most of my consoles, I came late to the Playstation party, finally getting one around winter 1997. By then there was already an impressive array of games available for the machine as developers squeezed more and more out of the little grey wonder.

My personal killer app for the machine was Resident Evil. I had heard and read much hyperbole about this game and despite the dissenting voice of a close friend who detested it with a passion, I basically bought a Playstation just to play Resident Evil.

In the end I purchased The Director's Cut from Electronics Boutique for £30 and remained addicted to it for weeks and weeks. The survival horror elements were intriguing, but the appeal to me lay in the freedom of movement and strategy involved in preserving ammunition as well as the tricky puzzles - ironically enough the parts of the game that my aforementioned friend always took issue with.

I played RE through until completion, and then with the other character, Jill Valentine. With regards to the other criticsms of the game, I didn't mind the creaking dialogue as this held a certain charm and the movement was so fresh that it didn't feel clunky at the time. The only thing that sometimes annoyed was the animated door sequences but even this added to the tension when entering a new room. Nevertheless, RE on the PS has aged badly, but it still looks good on an old CRT telly. One day I will play it again, although the Gamecube REmake trumped it for me, offering a bigger and more attractive world to roam around in.

I've never been keen on racing games, but I got into a corker on the Playstation: Codemasters' Toca Touring Car. After initially struggling with the game, I jettisoned my old controller and got one of the spangling new analogue versions; suddenly the game became so much easier, but trickier at the same time! Toca offered realistic damage to the car and a tough challenge, and the themselves handled very well. I never understood how it stood in the shadow of the overrated Gran Turismo.

The Playstation also re-introduced me to Light gun games. I'd never really enjoyed them up until then, and if I'm honest not much since, but a 3d party pistol and the game Die Hard Trilogy left me in shooting heaven for some time. The 2nd part of this game (based obviously around the 2nd film, Die Harder) started off in the airport terminal and moved to the various locations featured in the movie. It worked very well and as I love the Die Hard movies, was hugely enjoyable. I never got into the third game - you drive around the city trying to defuse bombs - but the third person game set around the Nakatomi building I played over and over again. It's simple fun rescuing hostages and shooting bad guys. What more could you want?

1998 was the year of stealth, but before we get to that, there's a couple more games I want to tell you about. First was an early entry on the now-painful Medal of Honor series, Medal of Honor Underground. Somehow (can't remember exactly how) I got over my natural distaste of FPS games on a console (no keyboard/mouse control, natch) and hugely enjoyed this war-themed adventure through occupied France. Of course, along came MOH: Allied Assault on the PC a few months later and that was the end of Underground for me, but I did complete it eventually. Also, a natural progression from the RE games was Silent Hill which had atmosphere you cut with a knife and some genuinely terrifying moments. I gave up halfway through though as the puzzles - much trickier than Capcom's - just taxed me a little bit too much.


  1. Did you ever try "Toca - World Touring Cars"? I think it was the 3rd game in the series, and it's still my favourite racing game on any console....

  2. Nice piece, JD. I too was late to the PS party. I've never liked survival horror games so I haven't played RE or SH much but I did like TOCA. It's one of the few driving games where the inside-car view really enhances the driving experience for me. It was rather difficult but great too :)