Monday, November 4, 2013

The Retro Video Game Addict reviews: Tekken 2 for the PS1!

     We all remember when fighting games first became popular. Who could forget? The arcades were raking it in on popular fighting titles like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat and those two games ruled the 16-bit generation with their amazing home console releases. But that was just the beginning. In the mid 90's arcades were seeing more and more 3D fighting games with hits like Virtua Fighter and Tekken and people were exposed to a much more flowing style of one on one combat in digital form. One of which I'm going to review today, and that would be Tekken 2.
     Now, I didn't actually own Tekken 2 during the height of it's popularity, instead a friend of mine who was getting the original Playstation along with this game was the one who brought it to my attention. I had seen the ad's for the original Tekken but I was too caught up in Battle Arena Toshinden to pay it any mind. Both games were considered heavy hitters in the 3D fighting genre at the time but when Tekken 2 hit the arcades and the Playstation in late 1996 it helped to pull the Tekken franchise away to become the premiere fighting franchise of it's time. It was just heads and shoulders better than the first Tekken and sported slightly better graphics and fighters that had a crazy amount of flexibility to them while playing the game. Sure, Tekken 2 would soon be trounced by Tekken 3 (a far superior game) but for it's time Tekken 2 was considered the end all of home fighters and helped to move it's share of Playstation consoles.
     My friend was so in love with this game that when we talked about video games he often talked about Tekken 2 and how much he was playing it or how much the game meant to him. He must have played this game non-stop (along with NBA Live '97) on his Playstation for the better part of the year until he started getting more and more games, but I'll never forget how excited he was to be getting Tekken 2 and his Playstation for Christmas. Oddly enough, that Christmas I received an Atari Jaguar. Yeah, that may seem like a downer to most people reading this blog but the Atari Jaguar was a system I fell quite hard for and I really enjoyed a good chunk of it's library, despite the popular belief that the system was garbage.
     Honestly, I didn't own Tekken 2 until I re-purchased a Playstation out of nostalgia in the summer of 2007. At that time I had also purchased Tekken and far prefer it to Tekken 2, though both are really great games to own if you have a Playstation console in your collection. It was during this time that I would fall in love with the PS1 and play a huge number of games for it I've never experienced before, mainly the Tekken series and Final Fantasy VII, and I finally began to put it on a pedestal alongside consoles like the NES and SNES. It's funny too because I owned a Playstation upon launch in 1995, then I had re-bought one sometime in 2000 (getting rid of it soon after), and then got one again in 2007 out of nostalgic reasons. It was the 3rd time owning the console that did it for me and I've been playing it quite regularly since then.
     Anyhow, it's now time to discuss Tekken 2 as a game. To kick things off the game controls pretty smooth and has a nice breezy feel to it, I would rank this among one of Tekken 2's bright spots as it gives you a nice free flowing experience while engaging in combat. I wouldn't say the controls are perfect but it's certainly something that stands out when playing the game. Graphically it was probably a lot better looking back in 1997 than it is now in 2013 but that doesn't really matter one bit as I'm enjoying playing it again after quite a while and graphics NEVER sway my opinion on a game. It's blocky but it looks a lot better than the other 3D fighting games it was up against at the time like Virtual Fighter and Battle Arena Toshinden, both of which didn't have sequels as of yet when this game was released. Sure, the graphical difference between Tekken 3 and 2 are pretty vast but so wasn't the difference between part 2 and the original, so it's definitely improved upon it's previous game and that goes a long way. The music in this game is pretty standard fare as well as the sound effects, nothing really shines in this department and all in all I'd say it's nothing special and was even beat out by earlier PS1 fighters like Toshinden. That's a complaint I've always had with the Tekken games on the PS1, they just never nailed down a good audio track or gave us any good sound effects, they seemed to really want to deliver a pretty looking game and that was it. The music, if you're wondering, was not much more than cheesy sounding techno music that played while you were in combat.
     But it was fun, and at the end of the day that's really all that matters when it comes to video games. I enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it, and it still holds up among retro gaming fans who still love to fire up their original Playstation systems. And as long as original Playstation gamers are still retrogaming on their beloved PSone's than Tekken 2 will always have somebody to play it. A timeless classic? Nah. But it's a good fighting game that was a huge system seller back in the day and a title that was a part of a franchise that helped the PS1 dominate the gaming scene in the late 90's. And that's all it needs to be.

Graphics/Visuals - 8.0
Sound/Music - 6.5
Control/Handling - 8.5
Fun/Enjoyment - 8.0

Twitter - @OfficialRVGA

© 2013 Bill Mulligan

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Video Game Visits" by The Retro Video Game Addict

 Remember a time way back when you were young and there was something really special and magical about visiting a Toys R Us, Toy Works, Funcoland, or any random department store that sold video games? Sure you do, we all do. It's a feeling that's etched in out brains for eternity and brings us moments of joy when we look back on them. Well, today that's a base I'd like to cover on my blog through a little post I'm going to call, “Video Game visits”.
     I remember back when I was a kid and my mother would go out shopping and I would tag along and she'd stop off at places like the supermarket, or maybe a quick outing the mall for some clothes or housewares. It was always fun as a child to go out and go shopping with her, it's one of those cool childhood memories that will always live on inside my head. But sometimes, not always mind you, but sometimes I'd get lucky and she would be stopping into one of my favorite stores and I'd get a chance to visit the video game section. And what a joy it was!
     Now, back in the day when the NES was king of the mountain the local department stores proudly displayed their NES wares in giant glass cases that often donned the famous “World of Nintendo” light up display sign at the top. To flesh things out there would often be an NES hooked up to a monitor that would be displaying whatever the latest hit game was and you could play it for a few minutes before either someone else wanted a chance or the demo would loop back to the start screen. It was really quite a glorious time and something I remember quite fondly as a child. The games were marvelously displayed in the glass cases and it reached out and drew you in with colorful boxes that sported amazing artwork on the front that made you just want to beg your parents for a new game. It was the most colorful part of almost any department store aside from the toy section and the sounds coming from the games being demonstrated was enough to draw your attention from whatever your parents were looking at and put you into a state of pure bliss.
     Today it seems as if department stores don't even carry video games anymore, in fact not a lot do. I remember JC Penny, Woolworths, Sears, Caldor, Ames, Bradley's, and other major stores all used to carry video games but now many of those companies are out of business and the remaining ones sell mainly clothing and housewares without a trace of video games to be found. Sad isn't it? Yeah, now you can only find video games at Walmart or Target, unless you're seeking out a destination store like Best Buy or Gamestop. Heck, even Toys R' Us doesn't sell video games in the bulk they used to. Yup, their video game department has been somewhat renovated into a general electronics department that houses video games among many other gadgets.
     Back in the day Toys R' Us had rows and rows of video games, almost as far as the eye can see, and they also had systems set up so you can try out whatever the hottest new release was. But I remember the TRU by me didn't have the games stored in glass cases, instead they had the backs of the game boxes laminated on a single sheet with tickets attached that you would take up front when ready to purchase whatever title it was you desired. The great part about that was that you could see screen shots of the games on the laminated sheets and read the descriptions on the backs as you browsed, it was really quite genius of Toys R' Us to do that. These days they have the games out in protective cases for the consumer to grab, which is more convenient but since they don't stock much it doesn't really matter anyway because nobody buys games at TRU anymore.
     Once in a while I was lucky enough to be treated to something special and my mother or father would take me to the store specifically to buy a new video game. Man, knowing that when I returned home I would have a brand new game to play and a whole new experience to endure was really quite a feeling and the ride home was always so painfully long. Yeah, those long car rides home where you had the box in your hands and you would read the back of it along with the manual a dozen times over before finally arriving home and being able to play the game. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
     This didn't happen too often though, most of my video games came on birthday's and on Christmas, only on a few occasions before my mid teens did I ever get to enjoy a trip to the store to actually buy a game. But man, when it happened it was always the best. Birthday's was always a big time for me to get a game or two and knowing that I'd be receiving one always made the week leading into it a slow and painful one. Same went for Christmas and it was probably ten times worse knowing that I may even be getting a whole new console. The Christmas I got my SNES I had found out about a month before and let me tell you, that month dragged ass like you wouldn't believe.
     Anyway, I'm rambling on and on and I just wanted this to be a quick blog about those special feelings you'd get whenever you visited the video game section of a department store or had the chance to actually go to a Toys R' Us or any of the various other toy stores out there to look at or purchase a new game. There was just something special about it back then that seems to be lacking here in the ol' 2013, I guess the wonder of gaming has been lost to the sands of time and the age of “uniform” gaming displays within retail is upon us (or has been for some time).
   No matter what though, those classic feelings and the memories we have of our childhood and going to the store to look at video games, or to buy one, will live within us all until the end of our days. It's comforting enough for me to know that all I have to do is close my eyes and envision these moments and I can be taken back to a time where retail treated their video games with respect. These moments may be lost to the sands of time but yet they're so alive and vivid in my head, and yours too. Gotta' love it!

Twitter - @OfficialRVGA
© 2013 Bill Mulligan