GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


The Lion King Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 28 Jul 2015 02:33 PM PDT

The Lion King Review - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0tNC-Tno1E

"It Starts…"

In 1994 Disney released The Lion King, a classic animated movie that is said to be loosely based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet. There have been numerous theories and controversies surrounding the film, such as the idea that it was actually an unofficial copy or remake of Kimba the White Lion; a Japanese manga from the 1950's that was made into an anime in the 60's. The similarities are quite striking, but were not here to talk about the movie, oh no, we're here to talk about the video game!Lion King was developed by Virgin Interactive for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. Unlike Aladdin that came out the year before, they also got to release it on the Super Nintendo, as Capcom no longer had the exclusivity of developing Disney games for Nintendo consoles. This means that both versions are essentially the same, apart from a few minor visual and audio differences. The games aren't completely different this time around!

"Everything the Light Touches Is Our Kingdom"

The first thing that hits you is the detail and quality of the game. The music, graphics and animation are absolutely superb. Each level and character feels authentic to the movie, thanks mostly to the digicel technology that was used in the previous Aladdin Mega Drive game. The second thing that hits you though is the frustrating difficulty. The first level is an absolute breeze to play through, but then we begin to hit a few problems…The main issue here is the collision detection when making jumps. Often it can be hard to tell the exact point to latch on to. You make a jump that looks and feels right only to fall to your death. There's also two parts in the second level where you have to time ducking and jumps on the back on an Ostrich. The double jump is hard to get the timing right, even with the help of arrows warning you. The next time you ride it removes these helpful arrows completely and it can be a REAL test of your patience. Most people seem to get stuck here or during the stampede level.

"...But What About That Shadowy Place?"

I strongly recommend you stick with this though as after a couple of playthroughs you do begin to get a feel for the games rhythm. Once you are more familiar with the level layouts, jumping distances and boss battle patterns, it becomes far less frustrating to play through.When you start the game you are limited to jumps and a fairly ineffective roar which only really works on stunning smaller creatures. Later on you get to play as the adult Simba which opens up a new variety of moves where you can swipe and throw enemies. These can be a bit tricky to pull off at times, so make sure you're using a 6 button pad to simplify things. You also take less damage from enemies as an adult which makes the game feel easier. This is another issue with the game; whereby the difficulty is a little inconsistent. Aladdin went from easy to hard, whereas this game takes a huge dip in the middle. I'd have preferred a much smoother and linear transition.

"Hakuna Matata"

Throughout the game there are also a few bonus levels where you get to play as Timon and Pumba. These are short and sweet, and break up the gameplay nicely. I really loved these characters in the film, so it was nice to get a chance to play as them and earn some much needed extra lives.I'm not sure if this review comes across as fairly negative, as it isn't intended to be. The game can be difficult and frustrating, but it is worth the effort in my opinion. Overall, the Lion King is a great platformer and a shining example of how movie licensed games can be made. The graphics and music really capture the essence of the film and I can be quite happy just listening to all the midi renditions of the popular classic songs from the original soundtrack.

"I Laugh in the Face of Danger!"

The final stage is hard, especially without any checkpoints, but this is how games used to be; challenging! Even when I used to play this game as a kid and totally sucked, I still got a lot of enjoyment from it and have kept coming back for more over the years. As Rafiki once said; "Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it."If you're a fan of the movie or enjoy a challenge I'd say you need this game in your collection. Well, even if you're not I think it's still worth purchasing. The Lion King is a game that's full of charm and would still be good in it's own right, even without the movie license and characters. I would have to say that it's one of the best Disney games on the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.Did you play this as a kid or have fond memories of the game? Let me know in the comments below.

Jurassic Park Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 18 Jun 2015 07:37 AM PDT

Jurassic Park Sega Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqEE_nbRqAgIn 1993 Steven Spielberg brought his vision of Michael Crichton's novel to the silver screen with ground-breaking computer generated imagery and superbly detailed animatronics from the talents of Stan Winston and his team; famous for many special effects used in films such as The Terminator, Predator and Aliens.Now I can remember my Dad taking me to see this movie at the local cinema and that moment when the dinosaurs first appeared on screen. I was completely blown away!Over the next few months, Jurassic Park the video game was released on the NES, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive or Genesis. They were quite different, but in this review we're going to focus on the Sega version.Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 01

"Welcome to Jurassic Park"

In Jurassic Park you can choose to play as a Velociraptor or Dr Grant. These offer two different perspectives and play styles which add a nice bit of variety to the game.Playing as Dr Grant is the default option if you just jump in and makes for quite a well paced adventure, where you must use your wits and weapons to defeat dinosaurs and escape the park. This is the most challenging character to play as, but there is a password system in place to help you continue if you die.Opting for the Raptor is a little more action-orientated. Your goal is still to escape the park, but the approach to each level is slightly different and you must kill enemies using your teeth and claws. It's a little shorter than Dr Grant's adventure as it misses out the boat vehicle level, but it's lengthy enough and an enjoyable addition.Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 02The graphics in Jurassic Park are pretty impressive. You can see the developers were inspired by the film and tried to achieve an authentic look and experience, considering the technical constraints of the 16-bit system. Games based on movies often feel like quick and lazy cash-ins, but you can see here that a lot of effort went in to the animation and environments. I was really quite surprised to see the detail of the intro sequences, the variation in Dr Grant's movement, traversing the environment and how good the dinosaurs actually looked.The sound is great too and whilst the theme tune from John Williams is unfortunately missing, the audio does a good job with plenty of ambient sound effects which help immerse you in the gameplay.It's a shame that so many movie tie-ins don't appear to put this much effort in their games. Jurassic Park is an excellent example of paying tribute to the film and offering players a way to experience and enjoy that world and setting for themselves.

Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 03

The only real downside is that the game is a bit on the short side. This is compensated a little by the presence of two characters to play as, but overall it won't take you too long to finish once you've mastered the weapons, level layouts and the initially slightly tricky learning curve. I died quite a few times in the beginning, but with a little patience and persistence I did get a handle on the gameplay mechanics and found this a very enjoyable adventure.This game would have been worth renting back when it was released and hard to recommend a purchase. However, as it can be found quite cheap now I would say pick it up if you find it for a reasonable price.

Top 5 Games to Start Your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive Collection

Posted: 01 Jun 2015 03:53 PM PDT

Top 5 Games to Start Your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive Collection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx4cUoQ0QDAThe Sega Mega Drive or Genesis is one of my all time favourite games consoles.When I look around the web and talk to people on social sites like Twitter, it seems like the Super Nintendo is the most popular for collecting. It makes a lot of sense as Nintendo made and still produce some of the best quality and most enjoyable games of all time.The thing I love about collecting for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis though is that it's often much cheaper than Nintendo, plus the condition of items is so much better. This is because they used plastic cases, instead of cardboard.So, if you're into the Sega Mega Drive, starting collecting or just interested what it has to offer, I decided to make a list which highlights what I think are the top 5 games to start your Mega Drive or Genesis collection.There's a lot of incredible games out there, but I've decided to focus mainly on the games which are fairly easy to find in good condition for a reasonable price. I've tried to avoid some of the rarer classics as I'll save that for another video/article. This is purely to help get you started.

5: Mega Games 2

Starting at number 5 I've chosen Mega Games 2. There were a few "Mega Games" compilations on the system, but this one is my favourite. You get Revenge of Shinobi, Golden Axe and Streets of Rage all on one cartridge. This is probably the best value for money so it's an ideal place to start. There are 2 others with some good games, plus a 6-in-1 version which is a little harder to find. I recommend you look for it, but go for this if you can't find it.Revenge of Shinobi is a classic game where you get to play as a Ninja. It's quite hard with some really clever platforming and awesome graphics. Great if you enjoy a challenge. You also get to fight against Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk in later levels!Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are side-scrolling beat-em-ups. These have aged a bit, but are still fun to play with a friend. Streets of Rage has some fantastic music and they both have a lot of replay value.

4: Lemmings

At number 4 we have Lemmings, which is one of the most addictive puzzle games I have ever played. It's full of character and even has a 2 player mode. The aim is to help your Lemmings reach the goal by assigning abilities to different characters and avoiding various traps. The learning curve is well paced and I'm really surprised how cheap this often sells for. I reviewed it about a month ago and consider it an essential part of anyone's Mega Drive collection.

3: Aladdin

At number 3 we have Aladdin which is a fantastic example of what the Mega Drive can do. It was actually a tough choice between this and Comix Zone, but this won me over thanks to it being a bit more accessible and cheaper to get hold of. The graphics and animation are really impressive and it does a great job of looking like the film! The levels are enjoyable, but it does get quite hard later on. I still enjoy playing it a lot regardless and it's one of my favourite games on the system.

2: Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers

At number 2 we have Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers. Okay, so this one can get a little expensive at times, so feel free to go for Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition if you're trying to keep to a lower budget. They're both great games, but this is my favourite version thanks to the additional characters.I'm a big fan of Mortal Kombat and fighting games in general, but I feel Street Fighter has a much wider appeal. I've had several gaming nights where this has been more popular than any other multiplayer game. The art style, characterisation, smooth movement and tight controls make this fun for almost anyone!Chances are you're probably already well aware of what Street Fighter is and it's likely you've played this game before… a LOT of times. But, if you're just starting your Mega Drive or Genesis collection, you NEED this game!

1: Sonic 3

How can you own a Mega Drive and NOT have a Sonic game? At number 1 I've chosen Sonic 3. There's a lot of debate about which Sonic game is the best and to be honest I've not come to my own conclusion on this yet. The reason I picked this particular game is because it has great graphics and music, save states, a bit more narrative than the other games, plus if you get Sonic & Knuckles later on, this is the best option to expand on with new levels and routes. So you get a bit more for your money. To be honest though you can't go wrong with Sonic 1, 2 or 3. Just avoid Sonic 3D or Sonic Spinball for now.

Honourable Mentions

Doing a list like this is always hard and there's quite a few games that almost made it. I feel that I have to mention Road Rash 2, Desert Strike, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Comix Zone and Streets of Rage 2 as honourable mentions.If you have any great recommendations or would like to know of any awesome games for the Mega Drive or Genesis, please let me know in the comments below.

Tower Of Guns Review (Xbox One)

Posted: 05 May 2015 10:26 AM PDT

Tower of Guns Xbox One Review

Tower Of Guns Review for Xbox OneI once built a tower of guns when I was around 8 or 9. Taking every action figure in my (frankly mammoth) collection and stripping them of their accessories, I created my own little weapons cache in a corner of my bedroom. There was no real point to it, I just wanted to see how high all the little guns would reach when stacked on top of each other – not very, was the answer. In a weird way, Terrible Posture Games' Tower of Guns feels as though it was built on the same principle of piling a load of fun elements together (guns, loot, stuff to blow up) and then seeing what happens. There isn't any consistent back-story to it, in fact on one play-through the narrator made a great nod to the overblown exposition of more naval-gazing FPS's like Bioshock. Instead, the tower just seems to exist to be conquered. As with many rogue-likes, you find yourself starting afresh as a new character each time you die (and by God will you die a lot!) with your choice of gun and one perk (your only tools) with which to shoot, run and circle-strafe your way through the tower.Tower of Guns Screenshot 5It's a tower that is never the same twice though. Each level consists of a series of rooms to traverse before tackling a boss robot. Every one of these rooms is randomly generated, not just the inhabitants and loot, so no two sessions are the same. It can take a little getting used to, particularly when doors are placed in unexpected positions, but I've yet to encounter a broken room that I cannot escape. When you see the complexity of some of the environments, it's really quite amazing.The gunplay itself is clearly influenced by the PC shooters of old with the handful of guns initially on offer each providing satisfying feedback and the ability to upgrade them as you make your way up the tower. The speed you charge around the levels with harks back to the glory days of Unreal Tournament while the drab and oppressive interiors feel like the demonic offspring of Quake and Borderlands. As someone who misses this old style of shooter tremendously, the game is a joy to be let loose in and some of the weapon upgrades (not to mention hidden weapons) give the Cerebral Bore from Turok 2 a run for its money as my favourite method of death-dealing in an FPS.Tower of Guns Screenshot 3There are a few issues on the performance front though. ToG relies heavily on sheer weight of numbers in order to provide spectacle, and it largely succeeds. Unfortunately, once you reach points with dozens upon dozens of enemies charging about, using certain weapons that release insane numbers of projectiles can result in quite a bit of slow-down. It's not game-breaking by any means but it can become a little frustrating.The music did start to grate after a little while as well and is a slightly missed opportunity. A game as bombastic as ToG feels as though it should be set to some kick-ass power-rock anthems. Instead, ToG goes for slightly unsettling synth background music which felt like a good fit at first when I had no idea what was going on, but eventually doesn't match up with the action on screen once you settle in to the game's rhythm and are more tooled-up than John Matrix.Tower of Guns Screenshot 1They're minor quibbles though and only stand out because the core mechanics of the game feel so right. I've just ended my 11th run and have yet to break the beast, but I'm keen to go back for more. There's always the promise of a random weapon upgrade that changes everything being just one loot drop away. In fact the developer themselves describe it as the perfect lunch-hour game and it's hard to argue with that. After a testing day at work, a quick 20-minute blast through a few levels on ToG can be just the thing to unwind. Hell, after a particularly bad day at the start of the week, many of the Hug-Bots felt my wrath. I felt no remorse but did soon pay for my brutality as the difficulty level goes up for every one of the lovable little droids that you slaughter. It's this combination of depth and dark humour that separates ToG from a lot of the other rogue-likes out there and I recommend that anyone who's a fan of classic PC shooters to give it a go.

The New Nintendo 3DS: Is the Upgrade Worth Buying?

Posted: 30 Apr 2015 03:02 AM PDT

New Nintendo 3DS Upgrade Review

After two months of commuting with the New Nintendo 3DS, does the upgrade feel worthwhile?Nintendo has an uncanny knack of releasing new hardware to coincide with spare cash appearing in my bank account. The GameCube launched in a matter of weeks after my 16th Birthday, while the Game Boy Advance SP, Nintendo DS and Wii U all appeared within a month of promotions at various jobs, making it impossible to argue against buying them. With such considerate timing of their releases, it would be tremendously rude of me to shun the Kyoto outfit's latest offerings, right?Almost predictably, the New 3DS arrived a mere 3 weeks after a promotion at work that would require me to commute several times a week to London. Nintendo, you're really just too thoughtful sometimes!New Nintendo 3DS Photo 001I already owned a Nintendo 3DS XL, so now £150 poorer and after several weeks of owning this version (using it both at home and on my travels), was purchasing the New 3DS worthwhile? Was it a good decision?As an original 3DS owner (with ambassador status no-less), I had been itching for an increase in screen size. That 50% screen size increase feels, for me at least, to be the absolute sweet-spot between increased screen real-estate and keeping the unsightly jaggies to a minimum. I would urge anyone considering the upgrade to try out both sizes first, especially if the screen size versus resolution issue is going to decide your buying preference. A friend of mine has the New XL and Monster Hunter 4 is truly a sight to behold on that mammoth panel.What tipped me towards the new model in the standard/smaller size was the portability. It's far more pocket friendly than the XL. I was also drawn towards the SNES button colour scheme and those cover plates. Jesus, those cover plates! Nintendo seems to have struck real gold with the Amiibo craze at the moment and it looks as though the clip-on plates are heading for a similar degree of success, albeit with a slightly smaller market to sell to. Some of the particularly collectible ones, like the recently released Xenoblade Chronicles Monado cover, have sold out within minutes on the Nintendo store and now command a hefty price on eBay.New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 1New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 2

That's enough about the window-dressing, what's it like to play with?

In almost every area the New 3DS has been a more pleasant experience than the original model to use. It's made of a lovely matt plastic that immediately feels more comfortable to hold, particularly with its rounded edges versus the harsh, angular nature of the original 3DS. I've clocked up about ten hours on Mario Kart 7, 2 hours in a single session, without experiencing the dreaded "DS Claw" once.The control layout is generally very good with the new c-stick nicely placed with a minor recess in place on the hinge to allow your thumb room to travel a bit when applying pressure to it. At first I found this peculiar nub really strange to use but I now wouldn't trade it for anything. It works perfectly for controlling a camera or activating the smash moves in Smash Bros. But it probably isn't as good a fit for games requiring dual-stick FPS controls (much like it's inspiration - the GameCube pad). The software library for the 3DS features very few of these games however, so it's not likely to be an issue.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 002Other major improvements are that the volume slider has been moved to the top screen mirroring the 3DS slider. Both of these controls now allow you to click them into place when turning them down to zero which is a useful touch, particularly where you might want your volume to stay off in a silent coach for example. The screen can also be locked into two positions in the same way as the larger XL model does. I found this really useful when watching videos on the unit with it sat on my tray.Where some of the button positioning goes wrong, though, is the new ZL and ZR buttons. Now, I understand the need to shoe-horn the contents of the ill-fated circle pad pro onto the system. It's just that there really isn't much room around the back of these handhelds to start adding multiple buttons. It won't be an issue where their use is limited, but if you are regularly needing to use these additional buttons you're going to get some pretty severe hand-cramp. Both of these are a mere footnote next to the truly contemptible power button though. The issue is that by putting it on the outside of the system, Nintendo have been forced to set it up so it can't be turned on or off accidentally. In doing so, they've made it really fiddly to use when you genuinely do want to turn your system on or off. The little button is recessed just enough to make it difficult to press in. When you do, it's hard to tell if it's registered your press with a tactile click being hidden away behind a fair amount of "spongey" travel. It's at its worst when turning off the system as it seems to have an intentional delay requiring you to hold in the button for a second or two before registering a shut-down request. It's not the end of the world obviously, but after several weeks of of this it's really started to annoy me and I often just snap the unit shut at the end of a journey rather than turning it off properly. One further annoyance is the cartridge slot. Don't get me wrong, moving it to the front of the machine was a great move, but why oh why does the cartridge face down?! It's a similar story with the stylus which has moved to the front – great move, but then been shrunk down making it fiddly to use – dick move.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 003

Improved 3D Functionality!

The changes aren't limited to new buttons and layout though, the New 3DS' real party trick is its super-stable 3D feature that tracks your face to ensure the 3D effect isn't broken. It's a feature that works really well and has made 3D usable on public transport at last! I've been jostled and jolted while gaming on the way to work, but the 3D effect rarely breaks and, if it does, it quickly finds your position and adjusts itself. If you're one of the large number of existing 3DS users who plays with the 3D off, you should really give these new units a look. The 3DS library features some incredibly well constructed 3D titles and you're really missing out if you've been limited to playing them in 2D up to now.The only areas of improvement that feel truly under-used are the ones that have been made under the bonnet. While there were lots of impressive videos at launch showing how much faster the new models booted or loaded up internet pages, it's very rare that I've found myself doing anything other than playing games and for those, there's little change. The system can swap between your in-game action and the home screen faster, but it's not something many are likely to notice. The promise of more software on the horizon requiring the additional processing grunt is completely absent at this point so it's very hard to recommend the upgrade on the grounds of software alone. The new HTML 5 browser compatibility does open up the opportunity to view YouTube videos in 3D, but I've found this to be very hit and miss with few videos set up to work with the 3DS properly. If the YouTube app is ever updated to cater for these properly, then maybe this will improve though.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 004

To Buy, or Not to Buy? That Is the Question.

This brings us nicely to the overall problem here with what is unarguably an amazing piece of gaming technology. Existing users who maybe don't game on their 3DS all that often or just don't have any complaints about the existing hardware will probably come away from these new iterations disappointed by the lack of truly tangible benefits. It could be argued that Monster Hunter 4 really needs that C-stick to be properly playable, but aside from that there's no killer-app that cannot be played without switching to the new hardware, even if Xenoblade Chronices 3D is a tempting proposition.But if you've got an original 3DS or if you're unhappy with the 3D effect of your XL, this is a purchase you should really be considering. If you game primarily on the 3DS then, again, you'll get more than enough out of the upgrades to make it worthwhile.If you've yet to discover the world of 3DS ownership though (and by God you really should, for my money it's Nintendo's greatest handheld of all time at this point) then the New 3DS really can't be ignored.

Mortal Kombat Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 14 Apr 2015 01:19 AM PDT

Mortal Kombat 1 Review

https://youtu.be/h0030O2q9y8In 1992 a new, brutal and exciting fighting game franchise blasted onto the scene and punched Street Fighter 2 right in the balls! It was everywhere and the gore, the violence, mixed with an impressive level of realism (for the time), created a controversial whirlwind in the media. Just about everyone was outraged, apart from those who dwelled in the arcades, uppercutting their friends into a pit of spikes.We're talking about Mortal Kombat and within a year later it was ported to the home consoles! In this review, we'll be looking at the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive version.

The Blood Code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B)

The main advantage this had over the Super Nintendo was that it included all the gore. By entering the blood code during the grey startup screen, you had a more faithful port of the original arcade game. As you can imagine this made it much more popular than Nintendo's censored version.

"Get Over Here"

Mortal Kombat 1 features 7 characters to play as, which by today's standards feels really limited. What Midway did though was give each character a brief but interesting back story and separate ending, which paved the way for their now renowned universe and mythology.Each character has a unique style and series of moves, from harnessing the power of fire, ice and lightning, to acrobatic skills and brute strength. The graphics are also made up of digitised real actors, which is why they are a lot more lifelike when compared to other fighters from around that time.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 1

"Fatality"

What made Mortal Kombat stand out most though was not just the pools of blood, but the Fatalities! The concept of finishing off your opponent was original, shocking and exciting. Prior to this you would land a finishing punch or kick, but now you could rip their head off!Creators Ed Boon and John Tobias are said to have created this game in just a mere 10 months with John Vogel and Dan Forden. The full arcade release used 8 megabytes of graphics data, with each character having 64 colors and around 300 frames of animation.In the Mega Drive home conversion, there are a few differences which make it not quite perfect, such as the lack of various sound samples and missing some key frames of animation. Although, it's still pretty damn close and quite a technical achievement for the hardware and time of release.

"Test Your Might"

Thankfully, this game has an options screen which you can set to "easy" for the single player mode. Mortal Kombat is known for being brutally hard and often the AI uses cheap tactics to beat you. One rumoured trick I read about was that the AI reads your controller input and quickly uses a counter move, making things slightly unfair. I don't know much about the coding, but I often find this game much harder than most others. I remember having serious problems with Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 3 for example, making M. Bison feel like a friendly stroll in the park by comparison!The single player mode is enjoyable thought and Goro is one of my favourite characters in the series. During progression, there's also a few fun "test your might" mini games to break up the battles. One slightly annoying flaw though is that you cannot pause the game during fights as that button is used to block. Which is not ideal when your dinner is ready!Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 2

"Finish Him"

The most important area for a fighting game to shine is in it's multiplayer mode. The characters in Mortal Kombat are well balanced, requiring you to use various moves and tactics to beat your opponent. Blocking also opens up a countering mechanic which I believe was new for the time and there was room for some small combos, which was also expanded on in later games and has influenced a lot of other titles.One major downside to Mortal Kombat 1 is that compared to modern fighters, it does feel very slow and a bit clunky. When it comes to playing old games you have to get in the mindset of what it was like to experience during its original release. Failure to do this often results in misconceptions that a game is rubbish, as by today's standards not every "retro classic" can keep up.It is for this reason that I personally love this game, but find it very hard to recommend. For someone interested in fighting game history, the origins of Mortal Kombat or just a hardcore fan of the series, I would say definitely pick this up if you haven't already. I think that's a clear and easy decision to make.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 3If you are just looking for a great fighter on the Mega Drive, I would urge you to try out Mortal Kombat 2 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, as they improve on the great foundations set by this game. The series as a whole is an incredibly enjoyable one even though they've made a few bad decisions over the years (Here's looking at you Mortal Kombat Mythologies). I think it's fun to explore these and overall, the Mortal Kombat franchise is definitely up there with the likes of Street Fighter.Another title worth looking at is Eternal Champions, which I hope to review in the near future along with Mortal Kombat 2 and 3. But for now, that's all for this review. So please let me know what you think of the game in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching and I'll see you again soon!

Lemmings Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:28 AM PDT

Lemmings Review Sega Mega Drive and Genesis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7y31Ty2I50Lemmings first appeared on the Amiga back in 1991 and was developed by a company called DMA Design, who would later become Rockstar North; known for their excellent Grand Theft Auto series and many other popular titles.This fairly simplistic-looking adventure puzzle game was a huge success and was practically ported to every possible system you can imagine from around that time. In my research it amounted to over 25, without including the remake on PSP and PlayStation 3. In this video, quite predictably, we're going to look at the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis version, which was the first I ever got to experience and still enjoy playing today.

"Let's Go!"

In this game it is your job to help guide as many lemmings as possible to the exit by assigning abilities to specific individuals. There are eight in total, which range from climber, digger and bridge builder, to a stopper and self destruct. Yes… you heard me right, but more on that in a minute.These creatures literally have no mind of their own and will walk in a set direction until they reach a wall or worse. If you don't stop them they will fall down a hole, drown in water or melt in lava. It's horrible and you don't want that to happen, do you? No!...… If you do though, there is a "self destruct" button that causes them all to explode!This mindless following is based on the popular misconception that Lemmings commit mass suicide in the real world, thanks to false information in the media such as "White Wilderness" - a documentary by Walt Disney Productions in the late 1950's which staged footage of them walking off a cliff to their own demise.The game characters bare no resemblance to the cute real life rodents, who do in fact migrate in large volumes when they become overpopulated to seek out a new habitat. Unfortunately this can result in death when crossing strong rivers and difficult terrain, but not quite in the same way the media built this myth.

But anyway, back to the game!

As you can tell from the video, the graphics aren't terribly impressive. Don't let this put you off though as in this case it really isn't that important. They work well enough to do the job and the backgrounds have quite a nice style to them. The main draw for Lemmings is how incredibly addictive and enjoyable the gameplay is! Things start off simple enough, introducing you to abilities and challenges, but it's not long before you're going to start scratching your head to try and think of the best way to save as many of your little friends as possible.There are well over 100 levels to sink your teeth into and whilst there isn't a save option, there is a password system in place to help continue from where you last left off. The difficulty curve is just about right and you will be playing it time and time again to get past that next level, or to improve your efficiency in a previous one.The controls are easy to pick-up and use, especially considering that you are using a game pad instead of a mouse. I can't think of many examples where a conversion was handled so well. You can even pause the action to look around the level, plan your strategy and select the appropriate ability and Lemming.The music consists of cheerful midi versions of classic tunes that may feel similar to some, depending on your age or exposure to such things. There's certainly nothing to complain about here.

Fun with a Friend

Whilst replaying this game I discovered a two player mode. To think I owned this game for so many years and didn't try it or just plain forgot about it. Well, I gave it a quick try and found (much to your surprise I'm sure) that it's great fun!There's around 20 levels that are more or less symmetrical in which you and a friend must save the most amount of Lemmings. You can of course create havoc for the other player by disrupting their strategy and stealing … or destroying… their Lemmings to your gain. So that's another plus!

The Verdict

Lemmings is easily one of my favourite Mega Drive / Genesis games or infact just generally one of my favourite puzzle/strategy games of all time. There is plenty here to keep you occupied for hours, days, weeks, months or even years. You can play a few quick levels here and there or enjoy longer sessions. It's totally up to you, but you will no doubt keep coming back for more.

Desert Strike Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 19 Feb 2015 07:52 AM PST

Desert Strike Review Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8_OGpjZgSkAfter the success of previous mature titles such as Road Rash and F-22 Interceptor, Electronic Arts launched what was to be another great new franchise. In 1992, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf hit the shelves and took the world by storm, due to both it's overall quality and controversy surrounding the subject matter.You see, some people felt that it capitalised on the recent Gulf War, impersonalising it through the use of heavy weapons. There were also reports of Veterans burning copies of the game in protest, which when you look at games today shows just how far the boundaries have been pushed in terms of war, realism and entertainment.But let's not focus too heavily on desensitisation in media and public perception for this video. Instead, let's take a look at what's on offer here;

"Get to the Chopper!"

As you heard at the start of this video, Desert Strike has one of the best sounding intros for the Mega Drive (in my opinion anyway). It really gets the blood pumping, preparing you for action and excitement! Although… that doesn't quite reflect the pace of the game.The sense of urgency only really comes from limited resources; most notably the fuel. Your Apache Helicopter comes loaded with a machine gun and two types of rockets which vary in quantity and power. The balance is good here, it feels fair, and additional fuel and ammo can be found via the map screen.

Gameplay

During gameplay, you navigate each level with freedom to explore and carry out the order of certain objectives. This approach helps Desert Strike feel less linear and allows for flexibility and strategy that can affect the difficulty.For example; in earlier missions you must seek and destroy the enemy radar system. In later levels it's not a set objective, but in doing so it can weaken their forces giving you an advantage. This can be crucial to survival as your helicopter cannot take much damage, so planning and efficiency is key.Thankfully, there is a password system in place should you need to continue progress or restart a level, as save states weren't very common back then.

Graphics & Sound

As the name implies this game does take place over desert land, so there isn't much in terms of different locales. You will see sand… and lots of it! I often find that desert or ice levels in games are a bit dull, but somehow Desert Strike manages to keep things interesting. The game is displayed from an isometric perspective with wonderfully detailed graphics. Little buildings, trees, camps and outposts scatter the landscape. The pixel art here impressed me back then and still does today.As far as sound goes it's a bit of a mixed bag, but not necessarily for bad reasons. The intro and cutscenes are good, but there isn't any music during the missions. All you can hear is sound effects such as your helicopter, gunfire and explosions. This, mixed with the lack of a HUD (Head-Up Display) actually makes the experience more immersive.

A Few Minor Issues

There are a few minor issues that make this title not quite perfect. Such things as targeting enemies can be a little tricky at times and some people may wish for a bit more variety in the level locations, but nothing here prevents Desert Strike from being a well polished game. Later instalments do offer more variety, but this was my favourite in the series.Have you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.

Help Me Create More Retro Gaming Videos

Posted: 16 Feb 2015 03:07 AM PST

Support MyGamerXP with Patreon

Have you seen my latest video reviews for classic retro Sega Mega Drive and Genesis games? If not, you can check them out here. It's all part of my continuous goal to keep creating better content about the games I love.Sega Mega Drive and Genesis ReviewsI've had some really positive feedback so far and I'm trying to improve each one I make. It's something I have a lot of fun doing and I can't wait to create more! I have a huge list of games I want to cover, not just for the Mega Drive / Genesis, but for SNES, NES, Master System, PlayStation, N64, Dreamcast and loads more! There's years worth of content - and that's purely talking about the reviews and retrospectives. That doesn't even begin to cover all the other great game related videos I want to make.This is all a hobby, some fun, an interest and enjoyable way of spending my free time. At the moment I can't commit to a set schedule, although I aim to make roughly two of these videos a month. I'd like to do more, but that is pretty much my maximum capacity for the moment and this is where you come in... how you can help!

Become a Patron of MyGamerXP

I've recently signed up to a website called Patreon, which allows supporters to contribute to projects on an ongoing basis. My videos will always be free, this just works more as a kind of tip jar, where you can offer thanks through a small donation per video - if you want to.

What do I get out of it?

Well, in addition to the usual videos, you can be rewarded with exclusive extras, all of which are detailed on my Patreon page. More will be added over time, so keep checking back for updates.

What about "Let's Play's" and Pick-up Videos?

These won't count. The Patreon page is strictly only for what I deem as quality content - something that has required effort to produce. Pick-up and Let's Play videos are nice and can be entertaining, but I feel these should be treated as supplementary content. So if you pledge $1 per video (for example), it won't count for these types of videos. They will just come as a free extra.

I have more questions!

Then please e-mail me, leave a comment below, or contact me on twitter. I'll be more than happy to answer any of your questions. I want to be as clear and transparent as possible.

How Will This Help?

Any contributions made will help make more videos in numerous ways. Any amount, large or small, will allow me to purchase new games, new equipment, or even take time off work to create these instead. That would be the dream! It's not essential, and as I've said before my content will always be free! This is just an idea to help make better content on a more regular basis.I'd really love your support and to hear your feedback (good or bad) in the comments below. Please let me know what you think of this idea or if you have any important questions.You can view my Patron page at www.patreon.com/mygamerxp

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 07:38 AM PST

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IUiOWXYIvIIn the early days of 8-bit home consoles, Sega tried to establish their own mascot to rival Nintendo's Super Mario. What they came up with Alex Kidd; a franchise that had a few ups and downs over the years, but is often fondly remembered as the "built-in game" of most people's Master Systems.Alex Kidd in Miracle World was a great title, but after that there were some arguably poor decisions made in trying to put him into different games - something I may save for another video at a later date. For now, we're going to look back at his first and only outing of the 16-bit era; Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

The game's plot is nothing special - a common trait of many side-scrolling adventure titles from around that time. You play as Alex who lives on Aires; a planet which is controlled by his brother King Igul. After hearing a rumor that his long-lost father, King Thor, is still alive on Planet Paperock, he travels there to look for him.The world stages are varied, offering a number of collectables and hidden areas. Whilst this game won't blow anyone away with its graphics, the simplicity does carry a certain level of charm, which is enough to make it pleasing to look at.Enemies can be defeated using Alex's punches and kicks, as well as a range of power ups and vehicles. I used to love the motorcycle, pedicopter and pogo stick, as they offered a nice change of pace during each level.

Janken!

One element that I feel does affect this title's popularity is the use of Janken - which is essentially a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". For various items and boss battles, skill is pushed aside for a system that relies purely on chance, resulting in you succeeding... or dying and having to restart the entire level again.The game can be challenging enough due to the fact that Alex Kidd dies in one hit and starts the game with fairly limited continues, but this frustrating and cheap tactic makes completing it either fairly straightforward or nearly impossible depending on your luck.It's a real shame as Janken didn't frustrate me too much as a kid. Games generally were a lot less forgiving in the past as a way to increase longevity. The old me would just shrug his shoulders and start again, but nowadays I find it harder to overlook it - and I think other gamers would do too. Especially newcomers who aren't armed with a good measure of nostalgia.As far as controls go, it's not quite perfect there either. They are responsive and the collision detection is fair, but the surfaces seem to act as if they are coated in a slippery surface, which can make some platforming action a little tricky.

Alex Kidd in Today's World

Due to this game's rather weak reception and the development of their much cooler mascot Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega haven't released another Alex Kidd title since. He hasn't been forgotten though, as there has been the odd reference and cameo appearance in games such as Shenmue and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.Whether or not you should pick up this game is a tough question to answer. For me personally, it holds quite a lot of nostalgic value. Me and my sister had a great deal of fun playing this when we were little. As a collector, Alex Kidd does have some importance in Sega's history, so for that reason I would pick it up if you haven't already. As a gamer experiencing this fresh though, it can be challenging and fun, but some of the key elements that rely purely on chance… well… they may grind a little bit. So I think the decision will depend on your patience and accepting the Janken gameplay flaw going into it.

Your Experiences

Have you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching!

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


The Lion King Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 28 Jul 2015 02:33 PM PDT

The Lion King Review - Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0tNC-Tno1E

"It Starts…"

In 1994 Disney released The Lion King, a classic animated movie that is said to be loosely based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet. There have been numerous theories and controversies surrounding the film, such as the idea that it was actually an unofficial copy or remake of Kimba the White Lion; a Japanese manga from the 1950's that was made into an anime in the 60's. The similarities are quite striking, but were not here to talk about the movie, oh no, we're here to talk about the video game!Lion King was developed by Virgin Interactive for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. Unlike Aladdin that came out the year before, they also got to release it on the Super Nintendo, as Capcom no longer had the exclusivity of developing Disney games for Nintendo consoles. This means that both versions are essentially the same, apart from a few minor visual and audio differences. The games aren't completely different this time around!

"Everything the Light Touches Is Our Kingdom"

The first thing that hits you is the detail and quality of the game. The music, graphics and animation are absolutely superb. Each level and character feels authentic to the movie, thanks mostly to the digicel technology that was used in the previous Aladdin Mega Drive game. The second thing that hits you though is the frustrating difficulty. The first level is an absolute breeze to play through, but then we begin to hit a few problems…The main issue here is the collision detection when making jumps. Often it can be hard to tell the exact point to latch on to. You make a jump that looks and feels right only to fall to your death. There's also two parts in the second level where you have to time ducking and jumps on the back on an Ostrich. The double jump is hard to get the timing right, even with the help of arrows warning you. The next time you ride it removes these helpful arrows completely and it can be a REAL test of your patience. Most people seem to get stuck here or during the stampede level.

"...But What About That Shadowy Place?"

I strongly recommend you stick with this though as after a couple of playthroughs you do begin to get a feel for the games rhythm. Once you are more familiar with the level layouts, jumping distances and boss battle patterns, it becomes far less frustrating to play through.When you start the game you are limited to jumps and a fairly ineffective roar which only really works on stunning smaller creatures. Later on you get to play as the adult Simba which opens up a new variety of moves where you can swipe and throw enemies. These can be a bit tricky to pull off at times, so make sure you're using a 6 button pad to simplify things. You also take less damage from enemies as an adult which makes the game feel easier. This is another issue with the game; whereby the difficulty is a little inconsistent. Aladdin went from easy to hard, whereas this game takes a huge dip in the middle. I'd have preferred a much smoother and linear transition.

"Hakuna Matata"

Throughout the game there are also a few bonus levels where you get to play as Timon and Pumba. These are short and sweet, and break up the gameplay nicely. I really loved these characters in the film, so it was nice to get a chance to play as them and earn some much needed extra lives.I'm not sure if this review comes across as fairly negative, as it isn't intended to be. The game can be difficult and frustrating, but it is worth the effort in my opinion. Overall, the Lion King is a great platformer and a shining example of how movie licensed games can be made. The graphics and music really capture the essence of the film and I can be quite happy just listening to all the midi renditions of the popular classic songs from the original soundtrack.

"I Laugh in the Face of Danger!"

The final stage is hard, especially without any checkpoints, but this is how games used to be; challenging! Even when I used to play this game as a kid and totally sucked, I still got a lot of enjoyment from it and have kept coming back for more over the years. As Rafiki once said; "Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it."If you're a fan of the movie or enjoy a challenge I'd say you need this game in your collection. Well, even if you're not I think it's still worth purchasing. The Lion King is a game that's full of charm and would still be good in it's own right, even without the movie license and characters. I would have to say that it's one of the best Disney games on the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.Did you play this as a kid or have fond memories of the game? Let me know in the comments below.

Jurassic Park Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 18 Jun 2015 07:37 AM PDT

Jurassic Park Sega Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqEE_nbRqAgIn 1993 Steven Spielberg brought his vision of Michael Crichton's novel to the silver screen with ground-breaking computer generated imagery and superbly detailed animatronics from the talents of Stan Winston and his team; famous for many special effects used in films such as The Terminator, Predator and Aliens.Now I can remember my Dad taking me to see this movie at the local cinema and that moment when the dinosaurs first appeared on screen. I was completely blown away!Over the next few months, Jurassic Park the video game was released on the NES, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive or Genesis. They were quite different, but in this review we're going to focus on the Sega version.Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 01

"Welcome to Jurassic Park"

In Jurassic Park you can choose to play as a Velociraptor or Dr Grant. These offer two different perspectives and play styles which add a nice bit of variety to the game.Playing as Dr Grant is the default option if you just jump in and makes for quite a well paced adventure, where you must use your wits and weapons to defeat dinosaurs and escape the park. This is the most challenging character to play as, but there is a password system in place to help you continue if you die.Opting for the Raptor is a little more action-orientated. Your goal is still to escape the park, but the approach to each level is slightly different and you must kill enemies using your teeth and claws. It's a little shorter than Dr Grant's adventure as it misses out the boat vehicle level, but it's lengthy enough and an enjoyable addition.Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 02The graphics in Jurassic Park are pretty impressive. You can see the developers were inspired by the film and tried to achieve an authentic look and experience, considering the technical constraints of the 16-bit system. Games based on movies often feel like quick and lazy cash-ins, but you can see here that a lot of effort went in to the animation and environments. I was really quite surprised to see the detail of the intro sequences, the variation in Dr Grant's movement, traversing the environment and how good the dinosaurs actually looked.The sound is great too and whilst the theme tune from John Williams is unfortunately missing, the audio does a good job with plenty of ambient sound effects which help immerse you in the gameplay.It's a shame that so many movie tie-ins don't appear to put this much effort in their games. Jurassic Park is an excellent example of paying tribute to the film and offering players a way to experience and enjoy that world and setting for themselves.

Jurassic Park Sega Screenshot 03

The only real downside is that the game is a bit on the short side. This is compensated a little by the presence of two characters to play as, but overall it won't take you too long to finish once you've mastered the weapons, level layouts and the initially slightly tricky learning curve. I died quite a few times in the beginning, but with a little patience and persistence I did get a handle on the gameplay mechanics and found this a very enjoyable adventure.This game would have been worth renting back when it was released and hard to recommend a purchase. However, as it can be found quite cheap now I would say pick it up if you find it for a reasonable price.

Top 5 Games to Start Your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive Collection

Posted: 01 Jun 2015 03:53 PM PDT

Top 5 Games to Start Your Sega Genesis or Mega Drive Collection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx4cUoQ0QDAThe Sega Mega Drive or Genesis is one of my all time favourite games consoles.When I look around the web and talk to people on social sites like Twitter, it seems like the Super Nintendo is the most popular for collecting. It makes a lot of sense as Nintendo made and still produce some of the best quality and most enjoyable games of all time.The thing I love about collecting for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis though is that it's often much cheaper than Nintendo, plus the condition of items is so much better. This is because they used plastic cases, instead of cardboard.So, if you're into the Sega Mega Drive, starting collecting or just interested what it has to offer, I decided to make a list which highlights what I think are the top 5 games to start your Mega Drive or Genesis collection.There's a lot of incredible games out there, but I've decided to focus mainly on the games which are fairly easy to find in good condition for a reasonable price. I've tried to avoid some of the rarer classics as I'll save that for another video/article. This is purely to help get you started.

5: Mega Games 2

Starting at number 5 I've chosen Mega Games 2. There were a few "Mega Games" compilations on the system, but this one is my favourite. You get Revenge of Shinobi, Golden Axe and Streets of Rage all on one cartridge. This is probably the best value for money so it's an ideal place to start. There are 2 others with some good games, plus a 6-in-1 version which is a little harder to find. I recommend you look for it, but go for this if you can't find it.Revenge of Shinobi is a classic game where you get to play as a Ninja. It's quite hard with some really clever platforming and awesome graphics. Great if you enjoy a challenge. You also get to fight against Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk in later levels!Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are side-scrolling beat-em-ups. These have aged a bit, but are still fun to play with a friend. Streets of Rage has some fantastic music and they both have a lot of replay value.

4: Lemmings

At number 4 we have Lemmings, which is one of the most addictive puzzle games I have ever played. It's full of character and even has a 2 player mode. The aim is to help your Lemmings reach the goal by assigning abilities to different characters and avoiding various traps. The learning curve is well paced and I'm really surprised how cheap this often sells for. I reviewed it about a month ago and consider it an essential part of anyone's Mega Drive collection.

3: Aladdin

At number 3 we have Aladdin which is a fantastic example of what the Mega Drive can do. It was actually a tough choice between this and Comix Zone, but this won me over thanks to it being a bit more accessible and cheaper to get hold of. The graphics and animation are really impressive and it does a great job of looking like the film! The levels are enjoyable, but it does get quite hard later on. I still enjoy playing it a lot regardless and it's one of my favourite games on the system.

2: Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers

At number 2 we have Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers. Okay, so this one can get a little expensive at times, so feel free to go for Street Fighter 2 Championship Edition if you're trying to keep to a lower budget. They're both great games, but this is my favourite version thanks to the additional characters.I'm a big fan of Mortal Kombat and fighting games in general, but I feel Street Fighter has a much wider appeal. I've had several gaming nights where this has been more popular than any other multiplayer game. The art style, characterisation, smooth movement and tight controls make this fun for almost anyone!Chances are you're probably already well aware of what Street Fighter is and it's likely you've played this game before… a LOT of times. But, if you're just starting your Mega Drive or Genesis collection, you NEED this game!

1: Sonic 3

How can you own a Mega Drive and NOT have a Sonic game? At number 1 I've chosen Sonic 3. There's a lot of debate about which Sonic game is the best and to be honest I've not come to my own conclusion on this yet. The reason I picked this particular game is because it has great graphics and music, save states, a bit more narrative than the other games, plus if you get Sonic & Knuckles later on, this is the best option to expand on with new levels and routes. So you get a bit more for your money. To be honest though you can't go wrong with Sonic 1, 2 or 3. Just avoid Sonic 3D or Sonic Spinball for now.

Honourable Mentions

Doing a list like this is always hard and there's quite a few games that almost made it. I feel that I have to mention Road Rash 2, Desert Strike, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Comix Zone and Streets of Rage 2 as honourable mentions.If you have any great recommendations or would like to know of any awesome games for the Mega Drive or Genesis, please let me know in the comments below.

Tower Of Guns Review (Xbox One)

Posted: 05 May 2015 10:26 AM PDT

Tower of Guns Xbox One Review

Tower Of Guns Review for Xbox OneI once built a tower of guns when I was around 8 or 9. Taking every action figure in my (frankly mammoth) collection and stripping them of their accessories, I created my own little weapons cache in a corner of my bedroom. There was no real point to it, I just wanted to see how high all the little guns would reach when stacked on top of each other – not very, was the answer. In a weird way, Terrible Posture Games' Tower of Guns feels as though it was built on the same principle of piling a load of fun elements together (guns, loot, stuff to blow up) and then seeing what happens. There isn't any consistent back-story to it, in fact on one play-through the narrator made a great nod to the overblown exposition of more naval-gazing FPS's like Bioshock. Instead, the tower just seems to exist to be conquered. As with many rogue-likes, you find yourself starting afresh as a new character each time you die (and by God will you die a lot!) with your choice of gun and one perk (your only tools) with which to shoot, run and circle-strafe your way through the tower.Tower of Guns Screenshot 5It's a tower that is never the same twice though. Each level consists of a series of rooms to traverse before tackling a boss robot. Every one of these rooms is randomly generated, not just the inhabitants and loot, so no two sessions are the same. It can take a little getting used to, particularly when doors are placed in unexpected positions, but I've yet to encounter a broken room that I cannot escape. When you see the complexity of some of the environments, it's really quite amazing.The gunplay itself is clearly influenced by the PC shooters of old with the handful of guns initially on offer each providing satisfying feedback and the ability to upgrade them as you make your way up the tower. The speed you charge around the levels with harks back to the glory days of Unreal Tournament while the drab and oppressive interiors feel like the demonic offspring of Quake and Borderlands. As someone who misses this old style of shooter tremendously, the game is a joy to be let loose in and some of the weapon upgrades (not to mention hidden weapons) give the Cerebral Bore from Turok 2 a run for its money as my favourite method of death-dealing in an FPS.Tower of Guns Screenshot 3There are a few issues on the performance front though. ToG relies heavily on sheer weight of numbers in order to provide spectacle, and it largely succeeds. Unfortunately, once you reach points with dozens upon dozens of enemies charging about, using certain weapons that release insane numbers of projectiles can result in quite a bit of slow-down. It's not game-breaking by any means but it can become a little frustrating.The music did start to grate after a little while as well and is a slightly missed opportunity. A game as bombastic as ToG feels as though it should be set to some kick-ass power-rock anthems. Instead, ToG goes for slightly unsettling synth background music which felt like a good fit at first when I had no idea what was going on, but eventually doesn't match up with the action on screen once you settle in to the game's rhythm and are more tooled-up than John Matrix.Tower of Guns Screenshot 1They're minor quibbles though and only stand out because the core mechanics of the game feel so right. I've just ended my 11th run and have yet to break the beast, but I'm keen to go back for more. There's always the promise of a random weapon upgrade that changes everything being just one loot drop away. In fact the developer themselves describe it as the perfect lunch-hour game and it's hard to argue with that. After a testing day at work, a quick 20-minute blast through a few levels on ToG can be just the thing to unwind. Hell, after a particularly bad day at the start of the week, many of the Hug-Bots felt my wrath. I felt no remorse but did soon pay for my brutality as the difficulty level goes up for every one of the lovable little droids that you slaughter. It's this combination of depth and dark humour that separates ToG from a lot of the other rogue-likes out there and I recommend that anyone who's a fan of classic PC shooters to give it a go.

The New Nintendo 3DS: Is the Upgrade Worth Buying?

Posted: 30 Apr 2015 03:02 AM PDT

New Nintendo 3DS Upgrade Review

After two months of commuting with the New Nintendo 3DS, does the upgrade feel worthwhile?Nintendo has an uncanny knack of releasing new hardware to coincide with spare cash appearing in my bank account. The GameCube launched in a matter of weeks after my 16th Birthday, while the Game Boy Advance SP, Nintendo DS and Wii U all appeared within a month of promotions at various jobs, making it impossible to argue against buying them. With such considerate timing of their releases, it would be tremendously rude of me to shun the Kyoto outfit's latest offerings, right?Almost predictably, the New 3DS arrived a mere 3 weeks after a promotion at work that would require me to commute several times a week to London. Nintendo, you're really just too thoughtful sometimes!New Nintendo 3DS Photo 001I already owned a Nintendo 3DS XL, so now £150 poorer and after several weeks of owning this version (using it both at home and on my travels), was purchasing the New 3DS worthwhile? Was it a good decision?As an original 3DS owner (with ambassador status no-less), I had been itching for an increase in screen size. That 50% screen size increase feels, for me at least, to be the absolute sweet-spot between increased screen real-estate and keeping the unsightly jaggies to a minimum. I would urge anyone considering the upgrade to try out both sizes first, especially if the screen size versus resolution issue is going to decide your buying preference. A friend of mine has the New XL and Monster Hunter 4 is truly a sight to behold on that mammoth panel.What tipped me towards the new model in the standard/smaller size was the portability. It's far more pocket friendly than the XL. I was also drawn towards the SNES button colour scheme and those cover plates. Jesus, those cover plates! Nintendo seems to have struck real gold with the Amiibo craze at the moment and it looks as though the clip-on plates are heading for a similar degree of success, albeit with a slightly smaller market to sell to. Some of the particularly collectible ones, like the recently released Xenoblade Chronicles Monado cover, have sold out within minutes on the Nintendo store and now command a hefty price on eBay.New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 1New Nintendo 3DS Majora's Mask Cover Plate 2

That's enough about the window-dressing, what's it like to play with?

In almost every area the New 3DS has been a more pleasant experience than the original model to use. It's made of a lovely matt plastic that immediately feels more comfortable to hold, particularly with its rounded edges versus the harsh, angular nature of the original 3DS. I've clocked up about ten hours on Mario Kart 7, 2 hours in a single session, without experiencing the dreaded "DS Claw" once.The control layout is generally very good with the new c-stick nicely placed with a minor recess in place on the hinge to allow your thumb room to travel a bit when applying pressure to it. At first I found this peculiar nub really strange to use but I now wouldn't trade it for anything. It works perfectly for controlling a camera or activating the smash moves in Smash Bros. But it probably isn't as good a fit for games requiring dual-stick FPS controls (much like it's inspiration - the GameCube pad). The software library for the 3DS features very few of these games however, so it's not likely to be an issue.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 002Other major improvements are that the volume slider has been moved to the top screen mirroring the 3DS slider. Both of these controls now allow you to click them into place when turning them down to zero which is a useful touch, particularly where you might want your volume to stay off in a silent coach for example. The screen can also be locked into two positions in the same way as the larger XL model does. I found this really useful when watching videos on the unit with it sat on my tray.Where some of the button positioning goes wrong, though, is the new ZL and ZR buttons. Now, I understand the need to shoe-horn the contents of the ill-fated circle pad pro onto the system. It's just that there really isn't much room around the back of these handhelds to start adding multiple buttons. It won't be an issue where their use is limited, but if you are regularly needing to use these additional buttons you're going to get some pretty severe hand-cramp. Both of these are a mere footnote next to the truly contemptible power button though. The issue is that by putting it on the outside of the system, Nintendo have been forced to set it up so it can't be turned on or off accidentally. In doing so, they've made it really fiddly to use when you genuinely do want to turn your system on or off. The little button is recessed just enough to make it difficult to press in. When you do, it's hard to tell if it's registered your press with a tactile click being hidden away behind a fair amount of "spongey" travel. It's at its worst when turning off the system as it seems to have an intentional delay requiring you to hold in the button for a second or two before registering a shut-down request. It's not the end of the world obviously, but after several weeks of of this it's really started to annoy me and I often just snap the unit shut at the end of a journey rather than turning it off properly. One further annoyance is the cartridge slot. Don't get me wrong, moving it to the front of the machine was a great move, but why oh why does the cartridge face down?! It's a similar story with the stylus which has moved to the front – great move, but then been shrunk down making it fiddly to use – dick move.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 003

Improved 3D Functionality!

The changes aren't limited to new buttons and layout though, the New 3DS' real party trick is its super-stable 3D feature that tracks your face to ensure the 3D effect isn't broken. It's a feature that works really well and has made 3D usable on public transport at last! I've been jostled and jolted while gaming on the way to work, but the 3D effect rarely breaks and, if it does, it quickly finds your position and adjusts itself. If you're one of the large number of existing 3DS users who plays with the 3D off, you should really give these new units a look. The 3DS library features some incredibly well constructed 3D titles and you're really missing out if you've been limited to playing them in 2D up to now.The only areas of improvement that feel truly under-used are the ones that have been made under the bonnet. While there were lots of impressive videos at launch showing how much faster the new models booted or loaded up internet pages, it's very rare that I've found myself doing anything other than playing games and for those, there's little change. The system can swap between your in-game action and the home screen faster, but it's not something many are likely to notice. The promise of more software on the horizon requiring the additional processing grunt is completely absent at this point so it's very hard to recommend the upgrade on the grounds of software alone. The new HTML 5 browser compatibility does open up the opportunity to view YouTube videos in 3D, but I've found this to be very hit and miss with few videos set up to work with the 3DS properly. If the YouTube app is ever updated to cater for these properly, then maybe this will improve though.New Nintendo 3DS Photo 004

To Buy, or Not to Buy? That Is the Question.

This brings us nicely to the overall problem here with what is unarguably an amazing piece of gaming technology. Existing users who maybe don't game on their 3DS all that often or just don't have any complaints about the existing hardware will probably come away from these new iterations disappointed by the lack of truly tangible benefits. It could be argued that Monster Hunter 4 really needs that C-stick to be properly playable, but aside from that there's no killer-app that cannot be played without switching to the new hardware, even if Xenoblade Chronices 3D is a tempting proposition.But if you've got an original 3DS or if you're unhappy with the 3D effect of your XL, this is a purchase you should really be considering. If you game primarily on the 3DS then, again, you'll get more than enough out of the upgrades to make it worthwhile.If you've yet to discover the world of 3DS ownership though (and by God you really should, for my money it's Nintendo's greatest handheld of all time at this point) then the New 3DS really can't be ignored.

Mortal Kombat Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 14 Apr 2015 01:19 AM PDT

Mortal Kombat 1 Review

https://youtu.be/h0030O2q9y8In 1992 a new, brutal and exciting fighting game franchise blasted onto the scene and punched Street Fighter 2 right in the balls! It was everywhere and the gore, the violence, mixed with an impressive level of realism (for the time), created a controversial whirlwind in the media. Just about everyone was outraged, apart from those who dwelled in the arcades, uppercutting their friends into a pit of spikes.We're talking about Mortal Kombat and within a year later it was ported to the home consoles! In this review, we'll be looking at the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive version.

The Blood Code (A, B, A, C, A, B, B)

The main advantage this had over the Super Nintendo was that it included all the gore. By entering the blood code during the grey startup screen, you had a more faithful port of the original arcade game. As you can imagine this made it much more popular than Nintendo's censored version.

"Get Over Here"

Mortal Kombat 1 features 7 characters to play as, which by today's standards feels really limited. What Midway did though was give each character a brief but interesting back story and separate ending, which paved the way for their now renowned universe and mythology.Each character has a unique style and series of moves, from harnessing the power of fire, ice and lightning, to acrobatic skills and brute strength. The graphics are also made up of digitised real actors, which is why they are a lot more lifelike when compared to other fighters from around that time.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 1

"Fatality"

What made Mortal Kombat stand out most though was not just the pools of blood, but the Fatalities! The concept of finishing off your opponent was original, shocking and exciting. Prior to this you would land a finishing punch or kick, but now you could rip their head off!Creators Ed Boon and John Tobias are said to have created this game in just a mere 10 months with John Vogel and Dan Forden. The full arcade release used 8 megabytes of graphics data, with each character having 64 colors and around 300 frames of animation.In the Mega Drive home conversion, there are a few differences which make it not quite perfect, such as the lack of various sound samples and missing some key frames of animation. Although, it's still pretty damn close and quite a technical achievement for the hardware and time of release.

"Test Your Might"

Thankfully, this game has an options screen which you can set to "easy" for the single player mode. Mortal Kombat is known for being brutally hard and often the AI uses cheap tactics to beat you. One rumoured trick I read about was that the AI reads your controller input and quickly uses a counter move, making things slightly unfair. I don't know much about the coding, but I often find this game much harder than most others. I remember having serious problems with Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat 3 for example, making M. Bison feel like a friendly stroll in the park by comparison!The single player mode is enjoyable thought and Goro is one of my favourite characters in the series. During progression, there's also a few fun "test your might" mini games to break up the battles. One slightly annoying flaw though is that you cannot pause the game during fights as that button is used to block. Which is not ideal when your dinner is ready!Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 2

"Finish Him"

The most important area for a fighting game to shine is in it's multiplayer mode. The characters in Mortal Kombat are well balanced, requiring you to use various moves and tactics to beat your opponent. Blocking also opens up a countering mechanic which I believe was new for the time and there was room for some small combos, which was also expanded on in later games and has influenced a lot of other titles.One major downside to Mortal Kombat 1 is that compared to modern fighters, it does feel very slow and a bit clunky. When it comes to playing old games you have to get in the mindset of what it was like to experience during its original release. Failure to do this often results in misconceptions that a game is rubbish, as by today's standards not every "retro classic" can keep up.It is for this reason that I personally love this game, but find it very hard to recommend. For someone interested in fighting game history, the origins of Mortal Kombat or just a hardcore fan of the series, I would say definitely pick this up if you haven't already. I think that's a clear and easy decision to make.Mortal Kombat Sega Review Screenshot 3If you are just looking for a great fighter on the Mega Drive, I would urge you to try out Mortal Kombat 2 and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, as they improve on the great foundations set by this game. The series as a whole is an incredibly enjoyable one even though they've made a few bad decisions over the years (Here's looking at you Mortal Kombat Mythologies). I think it's fun to explore these and overall, the Mortal Kombat franchise is definitely up there with the likes of Street Fighter.Another title worth looking at is Eternal Champions, which I hope to review in the near future along with Mortal Kombat 2 and 3. But for now, that's all for this review. So please let me know what you think of the game in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching and I'll see you again soon!

Lemmings Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 02:28 AM PDT

Lemmings Review Sega Mega Drive and Genesis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7y31Ty2I50Lemmings first appeared on the Amiga back in 1991 and was developed by a company called DMA Design, who would later become Rockstar North; known for their excellent Grand Theft Auto series and many other popular titles.This fairly simplistic-looking adventure puzzle game was a huge success and was practically ported to every possible system you can imagine from around that time. In my research it amounted to over 25, without including the remake on PSP and PlayStation 3. In this video, quite predictably, we're going to look at the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis version, which was the first I ever got to experience and still enjoy playing today.

"Let's Go!"

In this game it is your job to help guide as many lemmings as possible to the exit by assigning abilities to specific individuals. There are eight in total, which range from climber, digger and bridge builder, to a stopper and self destruct. Yes… you heard me right, but more on that in a minute.These creatures literally have no mind of their own and will walk in a set direction until they reach a wall or worse. If you don't stop them they will fall down a hole, drown in water or melt in lava. It's horrible and you don't want that to happen, do you? No!...… If you do though, there is a "self destruct" button that causes them all to explode!This mindless following is based on the popular misconception that Lemmings commit mass suicide in the real world, thanks to false information in the media such as "White Wilderness" - a documentary by Walt Disney Productions in the late 1950's which staged footage of them walking off a cliff to their own demise.The game characters bare no resemblance to the cute real life rodents, who do in fact migrate in large volumes when they become overpopulated to seek out a new habitat. Unfortunately this can result in death when crossing strong rivers and difficult terrain, but not quite in the same way the media built this myth.

But anyway, back to the game!

As you can tell from the video, the graphics aren't terribly impressive. Don't let this put you off though as in this case it really isn't that important. They work well enough to do the job and the backgrounds have quite a nice style to them. The main draw for Lemmings is how incredibly addictive and enjoyable the gameplay is! Things start off simple enough, introducing you to abilities and challenges, but it's not long before you're going to start scratching your head to try and think of the best way to save as many of your little friends as possible.There are well over 100 levels to sink your teeth into and whilst there isn't a save option, there is a password system in place to help continue from where you last left off. The difficulty curve is just about right and you will be playing it time and time again to get past that next level, or to improve your efficiency in a previous one.The controls are easy to pick-up and use, especially considering that you are using a game pad instead of a mouse. I can't think of many examples where a conversion was handled so well. You can even pause the action to look around the level, plan your strategy and select the appropriate ability and Lemming.The music consists of cheerful midi versions of classic tunes that may feel similar to some, depending on your age or exposure to such things. There's certainly nothing to complain about here.

Fun with a Friend

Whilst replaying this game I discovered a two player mode. To think I owned this game for so many years and didn't try it or just plain forgot about it. Well, I gave it a quick try and found (much to your surprise I'm sure) that it's great fun!There's around 20 levels that are more or less symmetrical in which you and a friend must save the most amount of Lemmings. You can of course create havoc for the other player by disrupting their strategy and stealing … or destroying… their Lemmings to your gain. So that's another plus!

The Verdict

Lemmings is easily one of my favourite Mega Drive / Genesis games or infact just generally one of my favourite puzzle/strategy games of all time. There is plenty here to keep you occupied for hours, days, weeks, months or even years. You can play a few quick levels here and there or enjoy longer sessions. It's totally up to you, but you will no doubt keep coming back for more.

Desert Strike Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 19 Feb 2015 07:52 AM PST

Desert Strike Review Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8_OGpjZgSkAfter the success of previous mature titles such as Road Rash and F-22 Interceptor, Electronic Arts launched what was to be another great new franchise. In 1992, Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf hit the shelves and took the world by storm, due to both it's overall quality and controversy surrounding the subject matter.You see, some people felt that it capitalised on the recent Gulf War, impersonalising it through the use of heavy weapons. There were also reports of Veterans burning copies of the game in protest, which when you look at games today shows just how far the boundaries have been pushed in terms of war, realism and entertainment.But let's not focus too heavily on desensitisation in media and public perception for this video. Instead, let's take a look at what's on offer here;

"Get to the Chopper!"

As you heard at the start of this video, Desert Strike has one of the best sounding intros for the Mega Drive (in my opinion anyway). It really gets the blood pumping, preparing you for action and excitement! Although… that doesn't quite reflect the pace of the game.The sense of urgency only really comes from limited resources; most notably the fuel. Your Apache Helicopter comes loaded with a machine gun and two types of rockets which vary in quantity and power. The balance is good here, it feels fair, and additional fuel and ammo can be found via the map screen.

Gameplay

During gameplay, you navigate each level with freedom to explore and carry out the order of certain objectives. This approach helps Desert Strike feel less linear and allows for flexibility and strategy that can affect the difficulty.For example; in earlier missions you must seek and destroy the enemy radar system. In later levels it's not a set objective, but in doing so it can weaken their forces giving you an advantage. This can be crucial to survival as your helicopter cannot take much damage, so planning and efficiency is key.Thankfully, there is a password system in place should you need to continue progress or restart a level, as save states weren't very common back then.

Graphics & Sound

As the name implies this game does take place over desert land, so there isn't much in terms of different locales. You will see sand… and lots of it! I often find that desert or ice levels in games are a bit dull, but somehow Desert Strike manages to keep things interesting. The game is displayed from an isometric perspective with wonderfully detailed graphics. Little buildings, trees, camps and outposts scatter the landscape. The pixel art here impressed me back then and still does today.As far as sound goes it's a bit of a mixed bag, but not necessarily for bad reasons. The intro and cutscenes are good, but there isn't any music during the missions. All you can hear is sound effects such as your helicopter, gunfire and explosions. This, mixed with the lack of a HUD (Head-Up Display) actually makes the experience more immersive.

A Few Minor Issues

There are a few minor issues that make this title not quite perfect. Such things as targeting enemies can be a little tricky at times and some people may wish for a bit more variety in the level locations, but nothing here prevents Desert Strike from being a well polished game. Later instalments do offer more variety, but this was my favourite in the series.Have you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.

Help Me Create More Retro Gaming Videos

Posted: 16 Feb 2015 03:07 AM PST

Support MyGamerXP with Patreon

Have you seen my latest video reviews for classic retro Sega Mega Drive and Genesis games? If not, you can check them out here. It's all part of my continuous goal to keep creating better content about the games I love.Sega Mega Drive and Genesis ReviewsI've had some really positive feedback so far and I'm trying to improve each one I make. It's something I have a lot of fun doing and I can't wait to create more! I have a huge list of games I want to cover, not just for the Mega Drive / Genesis, but for SNES, NES, Master System, PlayStation, N64, Dreamcast and loads more! There's years worth of content - and that's purely talking about the reviews and retrospectives. That doesn't even begin to cover all the other great game related videos I want to make.This is all a hobby, some fun, an interest and enjoyable way of spending my free time. At the moment I can't commit to a set schedule, although I aim to make roughly two of these videos a month. I'd like to do more, but that is pretty much my maximum capacity for the moment and this is where you come in... how you can help!

Become a Patron of MyGamerXP

I've recently signed up to a website called Patreon, which allows supporters to contribute to projects on an ongoing basis. My videos will always be free, this just works more as a kind of tip jar, where you can offer thanks through a small donation per video - if you want to.

What do I get out of it?

Well, in addition to the usual videos, you can be rewarded with exclusive extras, all of which are detailed on my Patreon page. More will be added over time, so keep checking back for updates.

What about "Let's Play's" and Pick-up Videos?

These won't count. The Patreon page is strictly only for what I deem as quality content - something that has required effort to produce. Pick-up and Let's Play videos are nice and can be entertaining, but I feel these should be treated as supplementary content. So if you pledge $1 per video (for example), it won't count for these types of videos. They will just come as a free extra.

I have more questions!

Then please e-mail me, leave a comment below, or contact me on twitter. I'll be more than happy to answer any of your questions. I want to be as clear and transparent as possible.

How Will This Help?

Any contributions made will help make more videos in numerous ways. Any amount, large or small, will allow me to purchase new games, new equipment, or even take time off work to create these instead. That would be the dream! It's not essential, and as I've said before my content will always be free! This is just an idea to help make better content on a more regular basis.I'd really love your support and to hear your feedback (good or bad) in the comments below. Please let me know what you think of this idea or if you have any important questions.You can view my Patron page at www.patreon.com/mygamerxp

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)

Posted: 09 Feb 2015 07:38 AM PST

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IUiOWXYIvIIn the early days of 8-bit home consoles, Sega tried to establish their own mascot to rival Nintendo's Super Mario. What they came up with Alex Kidd; a franchise that had a few ups and downs over the years, but is often fondly remembered as the "built-in game" of most people's Master Systems.Alex Kidd in Miracle World was a great title, but after that there were some arguably poor decisions made in trying to put him into different games - something I may save for another video at a later date. For now, we're going to look back at his first and only outing of the 16-bit era; Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle for the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

The game's plot is nothing special - a common trait of many side-scrolling adventure titles from around that time. You play as Alex who lives on Aires; a planet which is controlled by his brother King Igul. After hearing a rumor that his long-lost father, King Thor, is still alive on Planet Paperock, he travels there to look for him.The world stages are varied, offering a number of collectables and hidden areas. Whilst this game won't blow anyone away with its graphics, the simplicity does carry a certain level of charm, which is enough to make it pleasing to look at.Enemies can be defeated using Alex's punches and kicks, as well as a range of power ups and vehicles. I used to love the motorcycle, pedicopter and pogo stick, as they offered a nice change of pace during each level.

Janken!

One element that I feel does affect this title's popularity is the use of Janken - which is essentially a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors". For various items and boss battles, skill is pushed aside for a system that relies purely on chance, resulting in you succeeding... or dying and having to restart the entire level again.The game can be challenging enough due to the fact that Alex Kidd dies in one hit and starts the game with fairly limited continues, but this frustrating and cheap tactic makes completing it either fairly straightforward or nearly impossible depending on your luck.It's a real shame as Janken didn't frustrate me too much as a kid. Games generally were a lot less forgiving in the past as a way to increase longevity. The old me would just shrug his shoulders and start again, but nowadays I find it harder to overlook it - and I think other gamers would do too. Especially newcomers who aren't armed with a good measure of nostalgia.As far as controls go, it's not quite perfect there either. They are responsive and the collision detection is fair, but the surfaces seem to act as if they are coated in a slippery surface, which can make some platforming action a little tricky.

Alex Kidd in Today's World

Due to this game's rather weak reception and the development of their much cooler mascot Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega haven't released another Alex Kidd title since. He hasn't been forgotten though, as there has been the odd reference and cameo appearance in games such as Shenmue and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.Whether or not you should pick up this game is a tough question to answer. For me personally, it holds quite a lot of nostalgic value. Me and my sister had a great deal of fun playing this when we were little. As a collector, Alex Kidd does have some importance in Sega's history, so for that reason I would pick it up if you haven't already. As a gamer experiencing this fresh though, it can be challenging and fun, but some of the key elements that rely purely on chance… well… they may grind a little bit. So I think the decision will depend on your patience and accepting the Janken gameplay flaw going into it.

Your Experiences

Have you ever played this game? If so, please let me know what you think of the game and your experiences in the comments below.If you enjoyed the video, please click on the like button and subscribe... and as always; thanks for watching!

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