Friday, 26 November 2010

Sony Playstation Special Part 2

The stealth genre seemed to divide gamers in the late nineties and I was a big fan of two games in particular. The first was, predictably, the playstation update of Metal Gear Solid, a smooth and classy version of the classic series that welded in some amazing graphics, concepts and gameplay elements (who can forget the controller trick?) to superb effect. I remember being so blown away when I first loaded it up, that I spent the first hour just using the binoculars to study the enemy base.

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins took the MGS sci-fi setting and moved it to feudal Japan, in the process much simpifying the gameplay. Playing either the male (Rikimaru) or female (Ayame) ninja, your ten missions involved either terminating various wrong-doers or helping Lord Gohda against his rival Lord Mei-oh. Tenchu and MGS were both games that rewarded the patient; going in all guns/swords blazing would not only likely result in death for your character but also a low amateur rating in the ninja game. I think in terms of technical achievement and level of involvement Metal Gear Solid is a superior game; however once completed MGS I never went back to it, but even after defeating Lord Mei-oh, I returned many times to Tenchu in order to try and achieve those perfect "Grand Master" ratings. I bought a game called Ninja on the strength of Tenchu and was disappointed to find it a pretty but basic beat 'em up after all that cunning and sneaking.

To be honest, these are the games that continued to dominate my Playstation gaming. I tried a wealth of others of course: Dino Crisis used the same engine as Resident Evil but dinosaurs didn't hold my attention as much as zombies; I completed a brace of Duke Nukem 3rd person shooters in Time to Kill and Land of the Babes and found them great fun, if a little insignifcant. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was another game I played a lot of without ever quite getting the hang of the two planes upon which the game jumped between.

My time with a playstation wasn't helped by the acquisition of a new PC. Fancy graphics cards were commonplace, and in a direct opposite to the situation now, PC games were clearly far superior to their console counterparts. Half-Life, Baldur's Gate and the Jedi Knight games were far more beautiful and involving than the PS could ever compete with.

So I missed out quite a bit on the Playstation. I never played any of it's renowned RPG's such as the Final Fantasy series, Grandia, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms or the Breath of Fire games. Many other games I played on the PC instead - Grand Theft Auto, Carmageddon, Alien Trilogy, Tomb Raider, Hexen, Doom were generally better on a computer - and other genres such as 2D platformers (The Oddworld games, Rayman) and the fancy early 3D games (Pandemonium, Tekken, the Crash games) all passed me by.

Retrospectively the RPG's are the games I want to try and experience now - but these are generally still quite expensive - so I'm hoping the future lies, one day, in downloading these classics to - in my case - enjoy as if it was 1997 all over again.


  1. Haha, I've got MGS but I still haven't gotten around to playing it! :P I did like Tenchu though but found it rather tough :|

  2. I've only ever played on a Playstation once in my entire life and that was at a mates. Cannot even remember what we played it was so long ago.