Alien Storm: A Retro Review.

In the nineties, when I was just a young madhatter, one of my favorite game genres to play was a fighting game. Any one-to-one combat peaked my interest and kept my attention till I had blisters on my fingers from playing too long. Brawler and side-scrolling games, like Alien Storm, gave me multiple enemies to fight and a good enough story line to keep me entertained. This combined with a science fiction theme where aliens disguised themselves as humans and mailboxes, trash cans, and more!

Alien Storm, made by Sega, hit the US in 1991. Aliens from somewhere in the universe, invade earth. It is up to the Alien Busters to fight these creatures and save the world. The Sega Genesis version (there were several official versions, on different game platforms, released and re-releases later on) had three characters you could play as. There was an arcade mode, duel mode, and a two-player mode.  Each character has a specific weapon and a special ability. You can play as Gordon (thunder bazooka, gunship), Karla (fire blaster, ballistic missile), or Slammer (Electric whip, self-destruct technique). Using special attacks drain your energy and unless you’ve acquired energy by killing certain aliens or in the 3-D shooting range that auto-rolled, where you enter a building and save all the trapped citizens; the citizens that have not turned into aliens yet that is!

Alien Storm was quite the challenging game to play. There were a number of different aliens that had different moves and fighting styles. It was imperative to learn each alien and what moves/weapon was needed to kill them efficiently.  Along with your character’s major attack and special attack, there were “special stunts” (jumps and attacks) that helped. In the arcade game play, you had but three credits (technically four lives) to last you until the end of several missions and bosses.

Alien Storm gave us a game play that combined two great elements for the time period, side-scrolling and brawler. You were given the opportunity to beat alien scum to dust with weapon combat and the element of surprise with not knowing what was coming next. For the time the graphics were the normal and the game was decently popular.

If you are looking for a retro game to download, or want to try a game from the early nineties, get Alien Storm. It is fun and addicting.

Game play

4 Hats 4 out of 4 hats


3 Hats 3 out of 4 hats


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photo-feb-24-7-46-00-pm 3.5 out of 4 hats

IndieBox Unboxing Nefarious 

Unboxing May’s IndieBox, this month is Nefarious. IndieBox contains a beautifully boxed and designed Collector’s Edition version of an epic indie game. The box includes a Steam Key, DRM-free Standard Edition, soundtrack, and exclusive collectible items. Be sure to check them out.

Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure is a cute and unique chess inspired turn-based strategy game.

Auro is an indie strategy game from the team at DinoFarm Games. On the surface Auro sounds like Zelda combined with Hoplite style gameplay. For the most part it was. You’ve got your dungeons, strange monsters, special powers and hex-based levels. What makes it different from the two, is the heavy influences from another very popular and classic game Chess.

You play as Prince Auro, using your magical skills to fight monsters throughout the hex-based dungeon. Right off the bat, you will acknowledge the great character design and animation. Each character has its own distinct look and power. Some of them shoot water, fire or they simply bump you. Auro does have a distinct look and runs very smoothly. I was playing Auro on Steam with a Windows PC. Never did I notice and frame rate issues or bugs.

Even with the cool animation and design what really makes Auro stand out, it’s the gameplay. The idea is you must strategically bump off your opponents out of the game board. Prince Auro could move around the board one space at a time. Some magic will give him the ability to move multiple spaces. Auro also has the power to summon elements like water or fire, to bump off the enemy’s. Since the game is turn based, it actually helps to understand all the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. While also knowing your character’s limitations. It helps to strategically plan your moves ahead of time. Sometimes it is best to use your magic early and occasionally you’ll need to save it for stronger enemies. These are things as the game progresses, you will understand better.

Auro does get very challenging, but never to the level when you get upset and you want to fling your keyboard at the monitor. The idea is to always think a few moves ahead. I would have liked a multiplayer mode. It would be cool to challenge your friends to an Auro dual. Possibly it would be added later with an update.

If you desire to play a fun and challenging game. Definitely give Auro a try.

photo-feb-24-7-46-00-pm 3.5 out 4 Hats

Tribeca Games Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival presented to us for the first time Tribeca Games Festival. Yes, a festival within a festival, and the inaugural event premiered in style. I and my fellow MadHatter had the pleasure of attending the opening night. Upon entering we were offered wine (alcohol and games pair quite nicely) and a mysterious envelope to a game that started right away containing clues to win prizes. The room, with dimmed lighting and orange tic tacs up for grabs, was inviting to all who walked through those doors. The atmosphere lured us in from the start. From the smiling servers to the developers and professionals who are in the gaming industry, Tribeca Games became a welcoming and promising night of fun, games, drinks, and a perfect platform to network.
The mystery game, presented by Mailchimp- an email marketing platform, sparked our curiosity quickly, and we started to gather clues together right away within our own party. We soon realized to truly solve the mystery, we needed to branch out and talk to other guests attending. Mystery plus problem-solving plus the chance to win a prize equalled to meeting different people and working together. What a brilliant way to break the ice and start mingling and networking. By the way, we won a prize!

Telltale Games brought their Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series game with a crowd play of the first episode. We all logged into the game with our smart phones (cell reception was top notch) and played along while we watched gameplay and game video. The crowd cheered, laughed, sighed, and applauded throughout the gameplay. This was an engaging and delightful experience, a refreshing way to be exposed to gaming. What better choice for a game to interact with. The storyline was light-hearted and fun, filled with action from our beloved Guardians.

There were six different booths, games to test and play on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, VR, and more that were an unexpected treat to attendees. All booths were inviting and questions and comments were welcomed. We thoroughly enjoyed putting our drinks down, putting on the headphones, grabbing the controllers and diving into the game.

The room never felt too crowded either, nor was it too long a wait or difficult to have access to any booth, which can sometimes be a downside to gaming events as wait times can be overbearing. Tribeca did a superb job on opening night!

Opening night ended with a bang thanks to Mura Masa, a British electronic music producer and instrumental music artist and DJ. With futuristic and New Age music, the night went on with chill vibe that kept the mood going. What a way to end a game themed event.

Tribeca went above and beyond our expectations of the first ever Tribeca Games  Festival and gave us a promising reoccurring event that will hopefully stay with us year after year.

Is Andromeda a welcome addition to the Mass Effect series?

Mass Effect: Andromeda is BioWare’s latest entry in the Mass Effect series. The last entry into the series was released 5 years ago and met with a little backlash because of the game’s ending. Other than that the series has been critically acclaimed for its graphics, gameplay and complex storyline.

Andromeda begins in 2185, between the events of the second and third games in the original trilogy. The four Citadel Council races and the Quarians are planning to populate new home worlds in the Andromeda Galaxy as part of a strategy called the Andromeda Initiative. Each race sends 20,000 citizens on a one-way, 600-year journey to the Andromeda aboard their own transportation vessel, called an Ark, and selects a leader, known as a Pathfinder. Once the races arrive, they help build the Nexus, a huge space station that serves as a center of government and diplomacy, a living area, as well as a base of operations for the Pathfinders. You play as the Pathfinder Ryder, tasked with getting a new home for the species.

I remember when the original game was released in 2007. It has some issues, merely it was groundbreaking. Since then BioWare has had a smashing run. Andromeda is welcomed, but flawed addition to the Mass effect series. Just like the previous ones before you could customize your character, everything from looks to alien species. Right away you could assign any skills that you want and build towards a specialty over the course of the game. For example, if the you choose to invest solely in biotic skills, Ryder will unlock the adept profile, which results in bonuses related to that play style. Experience points assigned to each accomplishment can be constantly reallocated so that players can experiment with multiple gameplay approaches without having to restart their games and build up their skills from scratch again. This was a great idea on their part, in the previous games the character you chose had its own set unique set of accomplishments but you couldn’t customize it much.

The original trilogy was more of action RPG with elements of exploration. Andromeda is the opposite, exploration RPG with action. Which goes with the story, you’re searching for life sustaining planets to create outposts. That’s not to say there isn’t any action, trust me there is a good deal. That brings me to the game’s combat. Bioware out did themselves with this. What makes the combat system so interesting and good, was the added addition of booster pack. It adds more depth and strategies to your fighting style. The player has the ability to choose between hiding behind a wall, go guns a blazing or using the boosters to get around the enemy. On top of that the action is more fast paced and exciting. Weapon and armor customization is back; it does take a while to become used to the new customization screen. After practicing it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it. Apply it and learn it well, it gives players the added power needed for some of the crazy boss battles. Be prepared some of these conflicts could be long.

Mass Effect has always pushed the limits with its graphics and facial animation. This is where things start to break down for Andromeda. There are moments when its graphics are astonishing. When you are driving your rover through some elaborate and beautiful landscapes. Then out of know where you will reach a rock that isn’t there or the game freezes to load up. Facial animation is 50/50, once in a while it looks swell, other times ok and sometimes just plain out stiff. After playing it for over a week, I found a few more bugs. One mission I had to investigate a group of scientist. I got to the waypoint to find no one there. I moved back, saved it, restarted the game and they magically appeared. Other times I was walking on air because it didn’t load up the ground. When I pressed the home button and proceeded back to the game the ground reappeared. Most of the glitches aren’t big, but they do sometimes carry you away from the game. I understand video game developers have a deadline to fulfill. Another few months in development would have made this game the classic it should have been. Hopefully we will get an update that will fix these issues.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is a fun and lengthy, but the glitches keep it from greatness.


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Resident Evil Double Feature Review 

Resident Evil 7
This year, Capcom celebrates the 20th anniversary of Resident Evil. The series took off strong and was ground breaking. It even opens the door for survival horror. But with five, six and the survivor series, Capcom had dropped the ball. Finally, we get a Resident Evil game that goes back to basics and brings back the survival in survival horror.
Basically the premise is pretty simple. The protagonist receives a video from his girlfriend, that has been missing for three weeks. He finds out her location and decides to look into. In the process, he literally passes through hell and back. While on the cover it appears simplistic. There’s a lot of things going on here. Since this review is spoiler free. Let’s just say Resident Evil 7 has a very interesting narrative. Make sure to play all the videotapes. The tapes further develop the story and adds additional gameplay.
Capcom was smart they took the best components of the original game, Nemesis, P.T. (Silent Hills demo) and Outlast (If you haven’t played Outlast you should definitely check it out) and gives it its own spin. They got rid of the third person perspective and decided to go with first person. Which gives the game a more intense experience. This is definitely one scary game and that’s what I love about it. I mean inside the first hour I must have jumped up at least three times. I could only imagine how intense the VR experience is. The antagonists add to the games atmosphere. Just how Nemesis was an unstoppable force. The same could be said here. No matter how much you stab, shoot, run them over with a car or burn them. It just doesn’t make a bit of difference. You’re pretty much screwed either way.
Which brings me to the game’s combat. Resident Evil’s combat system has always been a bit off. The same could be said today. It’s nothing too horrible. Only when the game gets intense, you will notice it. You have your basic puzzles, they’re just really easy to solve. I would have liked the puzzles to be more challenging. I feel that Capcom got lazy with the puzzles. The first walkthrough should take at least 8 to 10 hours to beat that’s with all the videotapes too. I was hoping it was going to be longer.
Another area where this game shines. Are in the graphics. It’s gritty, dirty, scary and disturbing. The detail in this game is simply amazing. From the facial animation to dark old rooms it’s chillingly realistic. In truth the only complaint I have about its graphics. Are sometimes the characters’ hair looks pixilated. Other then that the game looks outstanding.
Resident Evil 7 delivers everything that made the series a classic. Not perfect, but great.


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photo-feb-24-7-46-00-pm 3.5 out 4 Hats


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter 

The movie begins with Alice giving a synopsis of the why the world is in the state it’s in- the Umbrella Corporation and the creation of the T-virus. The T-virus ended up having effects that were irreversible and soon begun to wipe out humanity. In this sixth and final installment of the Resident Evil movie series, the Red Queen reveals to Alice there is an antivirus that can change the world. It is now Alice’s quest to return to Raccoon City where the Umbrella Corporation still operates underground, retrieve the antivirus and thus saving what is left of humanity.

Noble as the plot may seem coupled with some amazing action scenes, The Final Chapter fell short. It felt like I was watching snap shots of a story. The entire movie was too fast-paced. Most scenes were rushed with a flood of details about what was going to happen next with over explanations of every single detail. Yes, a scene with what must have been tens of thousands of infected beings running toward Alice was mind blowing to watch on a big screen. I definitely had some adrenaline running through my system. But the substance, the story line that should carry amazing imagery and cinematography was just missing.

Over the years we have watched how the T-virus destroyed the world. A cure created by a father who just wanted to save his child and how a power and money hungry corporation refusing to shut down the whole operation as they watched it destroy the world. We find out that there is a possible antivirus, there is now some hope! Why are we not excited? Because the movie felt like we were watching a story in fast forward. And we did not need every single detailed explained either. This is the sixth movie. If we have not had a grasp of the details, we never will.

The rest of the movie is filled with predictable twist and turns and not so original punchlines. Watching the movie in the theater was not a total loss. There are some awesome fighting scenes and CGI clips that are meant to be watched on a large screen.

The ending left for a bittersweet taste (hold the sweet) and confusing finale. Alice is seen driving off explaining (she was always explaining) that it would take some time, years, for the airborne cure to spread throughout the world. Makes sense. Then Alice is followed by large flying creatures who want to kill her. She has more work to do…final chapter? Yes, maybe, who knows as they pretty much left the story open-ended.

If you want visually thrilling movie of a matinee ticket price and have some free time to kill, watch in theaters. Otherwise wait for the movie to be available for purchase and download.

Overall Resident Evil: The Final Chapter gets

1half-hat 1.5 out of 4 hats