Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean
Remember the hype? The real genuine hype, not this meme hype of today. Hype like people buying Zone of the Enders mainly for the Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo? The hype around Tomb Raider and how channel 4 did a show during the release of ‘Last Revelation’ of Lara’s history? Remember that hype?
The cynicism behind todays marketing feels more like Stockholm syndrome than real, honest hype. As the hundreds of suites with a default face pound on my door, telling me “You like this game, buy this game, you like it”. Or maybe it is I, who is cynical, looking for something to connect me to my past, to simpler times, to fell once more.
One game always stood out during those times, a game every magazine publication could not stop talking about well after its release. That game was Resident Evil 2. A game today still loved by many.
Naturally, in today’s climate, such a classic cannot remain in its original form, and a remake was inevitable.
Most people will already know of the Capcom Resident Evil 2 Remake that garnered critical and commercial success.
But there was a second remake some gamers may not know about, more akin to the classic- SteamForge’s Resident Evil 2 The Board Game.
Upon opening the box, you are greeted with ‘This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore’, the exact frame from the original Resident Evil 2; a fine detail any fan would admire.
Inside the box you will find over 20 tile pieces designed with Racoon city and Police Department. Over 30 pieces to create the terrain elements such as walls, stairwells, doors, corpses, typewriter and item box. 30 sustained effects and gameplay tokens such as item tokens and wound tokens. Then miscellaneous tokens such as the weapon dials to count your ammo, boss health dial, health/poison condition marker, ink ribbons, side pack, and your health tracker.
After the tiles, you will find various cards, 50 item cards (item deck A and item deck B) with explanation of items use- like handgun ammo giving you 8 bullets.
Weapon cards display more information- such as the weapons range, how many and/or what attack dice are needed.
Each character has a specific character card that indicate what weapons they can use along with a evade counter (number of evade dice the player uses), and how many items they can carry. The card also displays the characters special ability, a once a turn or round ability to aid the team’s survival. But mindful, enemies have their own reference card with special traits too.
Last set of cards is the tension deck, a card where after each player turn that alter the game world; some cards do nothing, others spawn enemies or other various effects that can foil your plan. Later scenarios will see you replenishing the cards with ink ribbons and typewriters, otherwise it’s game over.
And what is a boardgame without dice?
Resident Evil 2 has 5 attack dice- 3 blue dice for standard weapons and power weapons use 2 red dice. If that is not enough, when a player enters a new room you must also roll the encounter dice; maybe you’ll roll and its safe, or maybe you’ll roll and spawn a licker.
You like miniatures? Of course, you do, you dweeb. How about 4 playable characters, 12 zombies (with 3 variants), 2 lickers, 4 zombie dogs, a G-mutant, and a Birkin stage 3; all highly detailed, ready for you to paint them up like a quarantined Henry Cavill.
I know what you are thinking, ‘Jack, that is a hell of a lot of pieces’, and you are correct. The game is extremely bitty and for someone who is not akin to this style of boardgame, could seem overwhelming. However, don’t let this clutter discourage you, at the heart of Resident Evil 2, is a remarkably simple dungeon crawler.
A 1-4 player cooperative game tasks the team to complete and end in a certain area to complete objectives- occasionally scenarios will feature priority items that must be collected.
Each scenario has two points player 1 or player 2 to start; if you have more than 2 players, they will team up with either and/or both.
The 4 character to choose from are Leon, Claire, Ada and “oh, sorry about that, I thought you was one of them” Kendo.
Each player has 4 actions determined by the following: move (one square= one action), opening and closing a door (both take an action each), pick up or use item, trade and attack.
Attacks are performed by using the attack dice. What weapon you choose to attack with will display what and how many dice you use, followed by the affects. Example, the handgun uses one blue dice and uses one bullet. If you roll one bullet hole mark symbol; you push an enemy back one square. If you get the two-bullet hole symbol, that does one damage. Though some weapons have special affects too, like the handguns rapid fire ability will allow you to roll 3 dice using 3 bullets so you have better odd.
The game’s handy ammo wheel tracker makes keeping track of how many bullets you have used effortless and every weapon in the game has their own wheel for further ease.
After the action phase you have the reaction phase, were enemies within the same tile will move towards you. Though, leaving a door open means the tiles are linked, causing enemies on linked tiles to move towards you too. What an enemy can move is displayed on the enemy reference card, along with their health and damage they deal, plus any special traits- such as the Licker Scuttler move, allowing Lickers to react to movement in a players action phase.
If an enemy makes a basic attack, the player gets to make an evade roll. The same blue dice to attack are used for evading, however you must get the evade symbols. There are 3 different evade symbols that correspond with the size of enemy and if the evade is successful they push the enemy back. A zombie is a small enemy, any evade symbol is fine; yet a larger foe like a Licker, will need the evade second evade symbol or above. If the evade symbol is unsuccessful then the player takes damage and the enemy remains.
There are out-of-sequence reactions enemies make too, like making an attack will allow any other enemy within that or linked tile (besides the one you have attacked) move one space. Or if an enemy is in the same square, and the player is making an action other than attack- before the action is resolved the highest threat enemy will make a basic attack which the player must successfully evade; If that evade roll is unsuccessful the player suffers the effects of that attack, pushes enemy back, and the action is not resolved, yet still counts as a player action.
It’s after the reaction phase, a player picks up the Tension Phase.
Resident Evil 2 The Board Game manages to capture the spirit of the game extremely well. Rolling the encounter dice when stepping into a new room feels like playing the video game; waiting for the door animation to finish and finding what terror awaits.
The inclusion of ink ribbons and typewriters being a mechanic to replenish the tension deck really adds a level of urgency and strategy; like the video game before it, how you move is just important as where you move.
Knowing the original RPD building very well, looking at the scenario map SteamForge have done a tremendous job of recreating it. Though some sections cannot be recreated like-for-like, you’ll see the map and go ‘oh that’s there’ or ‘they have put that item in that room like the game’. A detail that not all will realise, though the fact they put that effort in goes to show they did not take this opportunity for granted.
It’s just a shame the game fails in the tile design. The tiles are extremely dark and hard to see what is displayed on them. The same is said of the door tiles too, especially the wooden doors; you can barely see if they are open or closed. There are plastic doors you can buy but at an unreasonable price, it feels like paying for a patch.
A lot of the time with the game will be setting. Ideally, you need people chipping in when setting up because there is just so many pieces and bits.
A shout out goes to the miniature design, well executed, with enemy variation giving it a little change and the detail, WOW. These miniatures look incredible, the rip clothes, the bits of ribs sticking out or the texture of a mutation- they just look outstanding.
The base game provides you with 8 scenarios with a play time of anywhere between 45 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes. A lot of content with the base game only, around £80, you do get your money’s worth. If you want to add on, you can, with the ton of expansions with a scenario B, Hunk… A lot of expansions just check them out.
I love how the game drip feeds the mechanics; allowing you to understand the games basic rules in the first few scenarios, then expanding in more in each scenario so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
As the game takes a little bit of that legacy style of board gaming, you will need a dedicated group to keep playing with you.
Resident Evil 2 the Board game is a good, solid and enjoyable dungeon crawler. Yes, it has its flaws, but mechanically the game is sound; it all works, and it all feels very Resi. The risk and reward, the character movement, the character placement, the encounter dice; SteamForge have translated the video game to board feels effortless; creating a new experience that feels familiar. Not only that, it’s just a lot of fun, rolling dice, killing zombies, working as a team, your plan being fumbled due to picking up a bad tension card; the game has enough challenge to not be boring but light enough to have fun… Just like the game. Board game fans will know this is a basic dungeon crawler but will have fun. Fans of the video game will like that translation to board.
If you’ve dabbled in board gaming, this is a great game because it’s simple and it drip feeds. If you don’t play board gaming but you like the video games and interested, I recommend picking it too; it’s a good level for new comers… just mind the bits. For me, this is the best Resident Evil 2 Remake.
Guest Blog Post by Jack @ThePnutbean
Die Hard Trilogy is much more than a game. It is an experience that many of us gamers smile about even in to 2020. I’m making specific reference to the Nakatomi Plaza campaign or rather the Die Hard campaign which sees John McClain jostle upwards through nineteen levels of terrorist action. Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard with a Vengence both add some fun play time but nothing quite compares to the forty of Die Hard.
We start out in the basement of the Nakatomi Plaza. The goal is clear, kill the terrorists and reduce the hostages which sounds simple but it’s not. Using the mini map is crucial to survival as it reveals both hostages and terrorists. It is possible to complete a level without rescuing all of the hostages (as I accidentally killed many) but you must wipe out every terrorist At this point a thirty second timer ticks over the screen and we must quickly scramble to the designated lift exit. Some of the larger levels make for an adrenaline fuelled, intense scramble to the lift. The relief you feel when you jump in to the lift and make your way to the next floor is explosive.
There’s a decent array of weapons to find on every level ranging from a pistol to an Uzi to a hand grenade and more. Be careful though as letting go of a hand grenade in a tight space will cause you serious damage if not death! Sadly I did this too many times on my Die Hard live streams. When you can land some shots on the enemies they go down fairly easily.
The PlayStation Classic has not had the best start. The console was launched 24 years after the original PlayStation released in Japan on December 3rd 1994. Over the last 24 years the PlayStation has been host to classic games (and franchises) like Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro The Dragon, Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo and more. In fact many, many more PlayStation Games have entertained us for years. I remember being completely stuck at the end of the first disc of Metal Gear Solid. Back then I did not have the luxury of checking out a guide/walkthrough on YouTube. I had to run down to a friends house to ask about the code on the back of the case. That will teach me for playing copied PS1 games.
Fast forward to 2018 and we are over five years in to the PS4 Generation of gaming (and of later years; PS4 Pro). Not only that we were all at the peak of excitement when Sony announced we’d be getting a PlayStation Classic. In essence; a mini PS1. How many games did Sony confirm? At the time of announcing the PlayStation Classic only five games were announced; arguably the stronger five. Without beating a regurgitating information we eventually got the list of PS Classic games:
What would have been deemed impossible for both the anime and movie industry 20 years ago, a Hollywood adaption of Ghost in the Shell was released. Masamune Shirow’s original manga of nearly 30 years ago is philosophical, sociological, psychological and essential reading, a feat echoed by the 1995 anime classic. Following its success on both eastern and western shores, and with the Playstation in full flight, Sony released a Shirow-designed video game just 2 years later.
Ghost in the Shell is an action-packed yet simple first/third person shooter on the PS1 and a great entry for fans of the franchise as a whole. Retaining the excellent animation and voice acting from the English dubbing, the highlights of this now-collectable PS1 title are most definitely the original cut-scenes that give the impression of an interactive movie of sorts. You play as the ‘Rookie’, a new recruit to Public Security Section 9 alongside Major Kusanagi, Batou, etc., as a new terrorist threat, the Human Liberation Front, claims to be responsible for the bombing of the Megatech Body Corporation building, but all is not as it seems.
It took me a while to find a game that I became obsessed with in the PlayStation 1 days. My first PS1 experience was with Porsche Challenge, Crash Bandicoot and International Superstar Soccer 1997 which are all super solid video games so it comes as a surprise to know that ESPN Extreme Games was my guilty pleasure game. ESPN Extreme games on the Playstation 1 (later renamed to 1Xtreme when the ESPN license expired) is not well received by all gamers. In fact a lot of gamers claim that they had never heard of ESPN Extreme Games. If you are one of those people then I urge you to ignore that bad reviews online. Instead give this blog a read then go and find a copy here. ESPN Extreme Games was a launch titles in North America and later came to PAL regions in December 1995 (then hitting Japan in May 1996). It is a racing game with a difference. In the 90’s the racing genre was dominated by traditional and arcade style racers like Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo, Wipeout and the various iterations of Kart Racers. ESPN Extreme Games boasts a very different set of vehicles namely Skateboards, Street Luges, Inline Skates and Mountain Bikes.
Do you remember the first time you came in to contact with the first zombie in Resident Evil on the Playstation 1? Can you hear the squelching sound of flesh being torn from the victim along with the atmospheric music? Now visualise yourself trying to turn Jill or Chris (depending on whom you were playing with) around as quickly as possible to evade suffering the same fate. Resident Evil on the Playstation 1 seemed intensely frightening back in 1996 and it was one of my first experiences with the genre of horror. The echoes of the Mansion and the deadly silence of the some of the rooms had been pitched perfectly in to the Resident Evil experience. Resident Evil wasn’t always about escaping the zombies or mutated zombie dogs but it was about trying to evade the silence and loneliness that consumed the mansion. Finding out what happened to Team Bravo seemed to be the forgotten quest in Resident Evil and what followed turned in to the discovery of the Umbrella Corporation’s experiment’s. We all know the story behind Resident Evil by now. Capcom fronted the legendary Shinji Mikami, acclaimed director of other powerful horror games like The Evil Within, Resident Evil 4 and producer of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3.
By Gemma @Juicy Game Reviews
2015 has been a remarkable year for gaming. Alongside the plethora of Triple A titles rattling around store shelves, I've had the pleasure of getting to know Dan and Terry after they broke the story of their Nintendo Playstation Prototype (SNES CD). I've long dreamt about this machine and always joked with my friends "they'll be a box of them sitting in a factory in Japan somewhere". Never for one second did I think I'd be talking to the owner of one! Today, I immediately text Dan and Terry once the story broke and punched the air a few times in absolute elation from the update.
By now you should know the story of how the Nintendo Playstation or SNES CD or Playstation Super Disc came to light. Many sources across our community made a huge noise about the prototype, including me when I reached out to Dan and asked for a Skype Interview and later when I released a video to try and silence the doubters of the validity of the Nintendo Playstation. Both videos were met with the normal levels of hostility with people suggesting the prototype was "a fake". Some people will still argue "it's a mockup, it's not real" which I highly contested and rightly so. Why would anyone go to such lengths to make a 'fake?'
Guest Blog by Ken Ashton
Having formulated the idea to begin a gaming collection some time ago I spent a little time floundering in the wilderness looking for some sense of direction or inspiration of how to proceed. What becomes obvious very quickly is that there is no right or wrong way to proceed but having listened to ideas from much more experienced gamers/collectors here are some ideas which have worked for me and may prove of use to others.
By Gemma ~@Juicygamereviews
It’s hard to believe that Ridge Racer, on the Playstation 1 was one of my favourite games back in 1995. Yes, I said “games’ not ‘racers’. I’m going to explain exactly why, in this review but before I do it’s clear to say that Ridge Racer has not aged all that well. Playing Ridge Racer now feels slightly painful. With a very blocky control system, chunky polygons and a lack of tracks and cars, I wonder why I was so obsessed with Ridge Racer back in the day? Let's find out...
By Gemma - @Juicygamereviews
Photo Credit: JP Professional Photography
For the last two years I've had the pleasure of attending the PLAY Expo in Manchester and Blackpool. Both events were packed full of every retro gaming console you could imagine. If that wasn't enough last years event had a huge arcade littered with my personal favourites like Outrun, Operation Wolf, Track and Field, Killer Instinct and a ton more. That's not all. The PLAY Expo let's you play your favourite pinball machines, enjoy cosplay shows and grab some of the most obscure games from some of the UK's top gaming vendors. Personally, I really enjoy wandering around aisle after aisle of retro gaming vendors. I was thrilled to pick up Secret of Mana boxed and complete from Warp Zone at the Blackpool event in May 2015. I can't wait to see what retro games I can grab in October. I'll see you there. Here's the official Press Release...
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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As my Youtube Channel was built around my love for retro gaming I decided that it was time to honour that passion through blogging. Here I review anything from the retro gaming world.
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