Category Archives: Reviews

Phantasy Star IV: A Nintendo kid’s visit to a world beyond Final Fantasy.

The original Phantasy Star series is one that I’ve been meaning to get around to playing for years. With my default platform being the SNES back during the console war days, my Phantasy Star options were pretty limited. Sure, we could have borrowed a Genesis console from a friend; but none of my friends that owned a Genesis were into or allowed to play RPG’s at the time, so that option was out the window. Could I have rented the game and console? Yes, but we all know how long these games can take to finish and on such a limited budget; extended rentals could get expensive.

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As the years have gone by, I’ve slowly acquired the majority of the Phantasy Star games on the Genesis and was just waiting for a good opportunity to play one of them. Which one though? Do I start with 2, 3 or 4? Every single person I talked to said that if I had to choose a Phantasy Star game to start with to go with 4. So, during some time off during the holiday season I popped in the 4th game in the series and my dive into a Genesis RPG began.

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The story starts out with a two person team of monster hunters tasked with cleaning up a research facility, but this quickly escalates to a larger plot where many lives are at stake and eventually the entire universe. This is all presented with terrific music, simplistic menu navigation and manga like cut scenes that help the player get more into the universe. As much as I love Final Fantasy 3/6, Phantasy Star IV really fires on all cylinders with developing and presenting its plot. Could you imagine if they would of made this available for the Sega CD with actual animated cut scenes and voice overs? Redbook Audio mixes of the soundtrack?! That would have been quite a presentation.

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The game has plenty to offer in terms of exploration. I never visited a town or dungeon that looked like it was copy and paste job from the last one. Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see, you find yourself on another planet with its own set of towns and dungeons. One of my favorite features in the game is the ability to “talk” to your characters in the party. Doing so will not only allow you to see your characters personalities come out, but will explain the current direction you need to take to advance the game. That feature alone is nice for players who may not have an opportunity to play the game through on a regular basis.Phantasy Star IV (USA)-163

After a few very long nights that went into the early AM each time, I managed to finish the game and I can say I fell in love with it as much as I did when I finished Final Fantasy 3/6 on the SNES. The game has certainly moved into one of my favorites on the platform. Now, I’m left with the dilemma on what game in the series I should play next. 2? 3? I will give myself some time before I make the commitment to it, but I’m looking forward to visiting the universe of Phantasy Star again. If only I could go back in time and convince one of my friends to give these games a try back in the day! Just so I could play them of course.

Star Wars: The Battle of Endor with the Oculus Rift DK2

It’s every Star Wars fan’s dream…

Seriously, how many times did the thought of “Man, I wish I could pilot an X-Wing and blow up a few TIE Fighters!” run through your head during one of the many awesome space battles in the Star Wars movies? Since the creation of the films, we’ve been able to experience that feeling in some degree. Some of us might have done that through the Star Wars rides at Disney or playing with a replica toy ship as a kid. Many of us have it least once revisited those battles with the large amount of Star Wars video games available, but none of these compare to the experience that the Oculus Rift DK2 and “Battle of Endor” tech demo can give you.

5 seconds into the demo you hear the very familiar words “It’s a trap!” over your headset. Those words put every Star Wars fan in sync to the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi. The Rebels have mounted an attack on the “unfinished” second Death Star, only to discover that they were given bad information and that the Death Star is it least functional. With the Oculus on your head, you find yourself as one of the many X-Wing Pilots in a fight to the death; taking out Tie-Fighters, Star Destroyers and more!

Never has a virtual dog fight felt so real with how easy it is to look around your ship by just moving your head in the direction you want to look. Armed with this and a great set of headphones, you truly feel the look, sound and scope of this massive space battle. You truly can’t believe the experience unless you try it yourself, but it least try to convey the amazement with this video! Check it out!

Red 5…out!

Super Retro RDP – Duo Pack – Review

After having a good experience with Retro-Bit’s NES Dog Bone Controller and SNES style controller included with the Super Retro Trio, I decided to see how well the company’s SNES brand of controllers stacked up to originals. Retro-Bit recently released new controllers for the system called the Super Retro RDP, so I decided that I would check them out; due to their unique design.

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The shape of this controller is an interesting hybrid of a Sega Saturn controller and the NES MAX, minus the analog pad of course.While I found the design intriguing, a fancy design and shape doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t fit comfortably in your hand and gives you easy access to buttons. Thankfully, this controller is plenty comfortable and allows your hands to reach all the buttons quickly. The controller is built sturdy and should be able to handle any unfortunate drops (Or throws). The D-PAD also takes very minimum time to break in, which makes it an easy controller to use for fighting games like Street Fighter 2 or Killer Instinct.

The connecting cable is 6 feet long, which is decent; but is actually shorter then the standard SNES  controller wire meaning you may have to scoot yourself closer to the TV if you are use to using the full wire length of the original controller.The connecting wire does feature a wider gauge wire then other Retro-Bit controllers I’ve tried, which takes the worry away of the wire snapping in case its pulled or tripped on. That’s always a plus!

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With a MSRP of $11.99, you can grab a two pack of these controllers and be pretty set for your next SNES retro gaming experience. If the price of original SNES controllers keep soaring the way they do, picking up this two pack is a no brainer.

  • Compatible with Official SNES®, Retroduo®, Retroduo® Portable and other third-party 16-bit consoles
  • Cable length: 6 feet
  • Ergonomic and simple design
  • Original controller color scheme
  • 8 function buttons plus D-pad
  • 2 Controllers included
  • Color: Red