PS1 Games- Ehrgeiz: (1998)

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When we think about cool 3D fighting games from the 1990’s Ehrgeiz is one of the few games that instantly come to mind especially for those who were fans of Final Fantasy VII.  Ehrgeiz was originally received an arcade release in Japan during 1998 before being ported to the PlayStation console back in 1999.  This was a pretty cool game because of the inclusion of Final Fantasy VII characters in the PlayStation version of Ehrgeiz.  Along with Ehrgeiz having its own characters players had the opportunity to choose people from Final Fantasy VII including Cloud Strife, Sephiroth, Tifa Lockhart and others.  Ehrgeiz was probably one of the first games where you play as Final Fantasy characters in a fighting title.  The gameplay for Ehrgeiz was also very exciting because unlike most popular 3D fighting titles of the 90’s such as Tekken and Virtua Fighter players had the ability to move around in a 36o motion.  Many 3D games that were popular during the 90’s only allowed players to sidestep while moving back and fourth in terms of gameplay.  The way Dream Factory had developed Ehrgeiz was fantastic because it made this title stand out more in comparison to many other 3D games that utilized the same style of gameplay.  Along with having innovative 3D gameplay the Quest mode was one of the features that stood out the most.

The Quest mode in this game made the game feel like an Action RPG title even though it was a fighting game.  When it comes down to contemporary gaming in relation to fighting titles many people would probably agree that we often see a lack of creativity in terms of game modes. Generally, fighting titles of the 2010’s feel limited because they include basic game modes such as arcade, versus, training, survival and online.  Back in the 90’s and early 00’s video game developers were more creative in terms of trying to make a particular game series stand out from its competitors when a title was released within the genre.  Ehrgeiz is one of the few 3D fighting titles that stood out during the 90’s for reasons that one would not expect. The concept for Ehrgeiz along with the fighting mechanics had contributed to the overall appeal of this title because it was something that was different from what we got from some of the mainstream 3D games within that genre.  Ehrgeiz may not  have been one of the most popular 3D fighting titles of the 1990’s but it was definitely one of the more interesting games to have been released during the later part of the decade.

Retro Gaming- Sega Rally 2: (1998)

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The arcade racing classics of the 90’s were so much fun for many people who grew up during that time period.  There were so many popular arcade titles including the Outrun series that many people loved to play and had absolutely no problem spending countless quarters on in order to complete each game in its entirety.  When Sega Rally Championship had first received its arcade release in 1994 many people were impressed by the 3D graphics and visual presentation that game itself had to offer. The original Sega Rally Championship game seemed like it was ahead of its time when it was first released because 2D gameplay was still very popular during the 16-bit era.  However, when games like Sega Rally Championship was released during the early 90’s it stood as something special because it gave people an idea about what the future of gaming would look like.  After Sega Rally Championship was released in arcade centers worldwide along with being ported to various home consoles many people were eager to see what the sequel for this game would look like.

A sequel for Sega Rally Championship was eventually made in 1998 when it made its arcade debut on the Sega Model 3 arcade system.  Sega Rally 2 included both single player and multiplayer gameplay and was just as exciting as its predecessor.  As exciting as the arcade version of Sega Rally 2 was many people believe that the Dreamcast port was so much better because of the ten year championship mode which was included in the game.  Sega Rally 2 allowed players to race in many different parts of the world  including Great Britain, Monaco, Sweden, America and Japan.  Players also have the ability to choose multiple cars to race with including Toyota’s, Lancia’s, Subaru’s along with Misubishi Lancer Evolution cars.  Whether one choose to set their transmission to manual or automatic the driving experience in Sega Rally 2 was very exciting because the quality of the game itself was close to the arcade version of the game.  Around the late 90’s 3D racing games were very exciting to play for many people.  If one was a fan of the Dreamcast back in the day then Sega Rally 2 was almost the equivalent to what Gran Turismo was for the Sony PlayStation.

Retro Gaming- Street Fighter EX 2: (1998)

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We all remember how popular the Street Fighter series was in the 90’s and still is today. While most of the popular Street Fighter games were in 2D during the 1990’s there were also some unique titles in the series that featured 3D graphics specifically the EX series that was featured on the Sony PlayStation.  Many people were impressed by the visual presentation of the very first Street Fighter EX game which was released by Capcom in 1997.  In the following year Akira had developed a sequel to the original Street Fighter EX game which was originally released in arcade centers during 1998.  After its arcade release an updated version of the game was released for the Sony PlayStation entitled Street Fighter EX 2 Plus in 1998.  Street Fighter EX 2 had featured several popular characters from the Street Fighter II series including Ryu, Chun-Li, Ken, Guile, Zangief, Blanka and Dhalsim.  This  game also included the returns of characters of characters from the original Street Fighter EX game including Darien Mister, Garuda and Skullomania along with introducing some new people such as Sharon and Hayate.  The gameplay for Street Fighter EX 2 looks similar to the prequel but one of the interesting things about this game included the fighting mechanics.

The “Free Excel” along with the “Super Cancel” were both features that made the gameplay for EX 2 more exciting.  In fact, the excel combos in this was similar to the custom combo feature that was used in Street Fighter Alpha 2 & 3 which was also pretty cool.  Another feature about Street Fighter EX 2 is the bonus stages mostly because are different than those that many people are familiar with from the Street Fighter II series.  As opposed to breaking cars and barrels players have to complete tasks such as utilizing excel combos to knock down opponents or destroying satellites within a certain amount of time.  The arcade mode in Street Fighter EX 2 was pretty decent but one of the problems that some people had with it was the lack of endings after completing the game.  Despite, some of the things that people many felt was missing in Street Fighter EX 2  such as more game modes it was still a nice 2D game with 3D graphics. Not only were fans of the Street Fighter series graced with the release of Street Fighter EX 2 but they also got a chance to enjoy the third Alpha game in the SF series within the same year during 1998.

Classic Gaming- Spyro the Dragon: (1998)

There were many great games that were released for the original PlayStation during the mid to late 90’s. It was also a time period where the genre of platform gaming started evolving from 2D side scrolling action into 3D landscapes and adventures. While there were many games that were very popular in the 90’s Spyro the Dragon was definitely one of the best PlayStation had to offer.  Spyro the Dragon was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer in 1998.  The idea and concept for this game was original because the setting for this title occurs in a fictional realm known as the Artisan Realm which is one of the five in the Dragon Kingdom.

The game starts with a live broadcast in the Artisan Realm were a dragon is interviewed.  However, the dragon insults the main antagonist Gnasty Gnorc who lives in a seperate realm by himself.  Gnorc gets offended and uses a magic spell and captures most of the dragons in the realm with the exception of Spyro.  In this game the player is charged with the task of rescuing the other dragons and restoring the realm back to normal.  The idea that Gnorc lives in a sixth realm by himself would indicate that he was a threat not only to the Artisan Realm but also the Peace Keepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, and the Dream Weaver realm as well.

Just like platform titles the plot is very basic and does not involve a devious plot from a villain who is focused on world domination.  Some people may argue that Gnorc motives revolved mainly around revenge when in reality he felt resented. Either way, the developers was able to create an adventurous title that featured excellent gameplay and a basic plot that allows players to easily understand the game itself. Shortly after its initial release GameSpot scored Spyro the Dragon in the eight point bracket out of ten.  Also, IGN scored the game in the nine point bracket due to many factors including its creativity and innovative gameplay.  As good as this title was the series would improve during the release of the second installment entitled “Spyro Year of the Dragon”  in the year 2000.

Classic Gaming- Marvel Vs. Capcom Clash of Super Heroes: (1998)

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If you were a fan of fighting games back in the 90’s you remember how great this game was when it was first released in arcades around the world.  Marvel vs. Capcom Clash of Super Heroes was initially released by Capcom in 1998.  Marvel vs. Capcom similar to its two predecessors Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter (1997) and X-Men vs. Street Fighter (1996) was a crossover game taking characters from different universes and placing them into one action packed game.  Many people speculate on whether or not this game was the best of the three crossover games in the 1990’s.  While opinions may vary among gamers many critics would argue that Marvel vs. Capcom was probably the best out of the three crossover games.  However, this does not mean that X-men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter was not just as fun.  In fact the two preceding games helped develop the groundwork for this crossover classic.

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Marvel vs. Capcom includes many of our favorite characters from both worlds with a variety  of different team combinations leading to unique offensive combat tactics that can be utilized throughout the game.  While the Capcom had retained some of our favorite characters such as: Ryu, Chun-Li, Captain America, Hulk, Spider-Man and Wolverine they also added new characters along with removing others.  New characters that were added to this game included Captain Commando, Jin Saotome, Mega Man, Morrigan Aensland, Strider Hiryu, Venom and War Machine.  This game had also saw the return of Gambit from X-Men vs Street Fighter and while some people were thrilled about it others felt more characters from that title should have been brought back into Marvel vs. Capcom.

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Marvel vs. Capcom includes a variety of fun stages along with various different BGM’s for each character adding more life and excitement to the game itself.  One of the major changes Marvel vs. Capcom from the two previous installments includes the final boss .  After the player defeats a series of teams they must battle Onslaught instead of Apocalypse.  The level of difficulty in battling Onslaught generally varies among players while some may argue that he is easier to defeat than Apocalypse others think the opposite.  However, almost anyone who has played all three crossover games would mutually agree that Onslaught is easier to defeat than Cyber-Akuma from Marvel vs. Street Fighter.    Not only did Marvel vs. Capcom have a great roster but they also include hidden characters such as: Roll, Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom and Lilith.  Another exciting feature added to this game included limited assists from non playable characters such as Cyclops, Rouge, Storm and many others.

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After its arcade release Marvel vs Capcom was ported for PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast.   While the Sega Dreamcast was praised for being exactly like the arcade version the PlayStation port had the same problems the previous two games had.  The restrictions of the PlayStation port had prevented the game from being exactly like the arcade version and required a mirror match in order to compete in cross over battles.  Despite the PlayStation version falling short of the expectations of many gamers the Dreamcast version was well received by critics and scored a five star rating from GamePro magazine.  Marvel vs. Capcom was probably one of the most exciting 2d fighting games of the late 90’s featuring various characters from different titles.  If anything negative can said about game it would pale in comparison to most of the positive aspects of this title which makes it an instant classic in the eyes of many who have played it.

 

Retro Gaming-Street Fighter Alpha 3: (1998)

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Street Fighter Alpha 3 is another gaming classic that was developed by Capcom in 1998.  This game had included some brand new features that separated it from its 1996 predecessor Street Fighter Alpha 2.  Street Fighter Alpha 3 had included a much larger roster and probably the biggest in the game’s  series.  One thing that is great about Street Fighter Alpha 3 is the fact than many characters throughout the game series from Street Fighter II and Alpha 2 were included.  This game had also saw the inclusion of new characters such as Karin, R. Mika,  Juni, Juli, and Cody from Final Fight.  Street Fighter Alpha 3 had also featured different soundtracks for each character which were uniquely different from the preceding games.  While the soundtrack for Street Fighter Alpha 3 varies among critics many will definitely agree that this game was more challenging than previous titles.

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Street Fighter Alpha 3 had present a significantly more difficult arcade mode than its predecessors.  Also, Street Fighter Alpha 3 had included the most offline gameplay that was seen probably in any game in the series.  This game had included Dramatic battle, Survival Mode, and World Tour mode which allows players to spend hours enjoying this title.  Anyone who has played through World Tour mode knows how fun and challenging it truly is.  World Tour mode allows players to choose any character they want in order to travel around the world and fight various opponents with added stipulations.  While some opponents where easy to defeat others were difficult to a point were some players thought they were impossible to beat.  Trying to defeat a CPU controlled Ryu and M. Bison who have an unlimited super gauge was a very tough challenge.  Also, trying to defeat Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma who can be unlocked after defeating them was almost as difficult.  But once some completes World Tour mode they will feel as if they have significantly improved in mastering the game.

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The gameplay for this title was probably one of the best in any Street Fighter game because it allows players to choose 3 different types of fighting modes including X-ism, A-ism, and V-ism. Street Fighter Alpha 3 had maintained most of the gameplay that was present Alpha 2 while making a few enhancements that made the game more exciting.  After its release in 1998, the game had become ported to multiple consoles such as PlayStation, Dreamcast, Gameboy Advance, etc.  While both the PlayStation and Dreamcast version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 was praised by fans gaming publications gave the slight edge to PS1.  GamePro had given the PS1 version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 a five star rating while IGN had scored between the 9.0 and 10.0 bracket.  Street Fighter Alpha 3 was probably one of the best fighting games Capcom had produced in the series and while some people may not like it as much as Alpha 2 many still regard it to be a great fighting classic.

Retro Gaming- F-Zero X: (1998)

There have been many great racing games that were released throughout the 1990’s including the two Mario Kart games for both the Super Nintendo and the Nintendo 64.  Another game that would probably come close to some of the Mario racing games includes F-Zero X which was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998.  F-Zero X was a direct sequel to the original game which was released in 1990.   This game had included some of the previous stages of the original F-Zero game including “Mute City” and “Big Blue” which were probably two of the most popular stages in the series. Along with being the first 3D F-Zero title ever released this sequel had included outstanding gameplay that exceeded the expectations of many people who have played it.  The Nintendo 64 allowed people to play older stages in a completely different way by turbo charging through the air and going through loops;  this was something that could not have been done for the original F-Zero for the SNES due to the limitations imposed by 2D graphics.

Thankfully, F-Zero X had added many features other than 3D graphics to make the game more enjoyable in comparison to its SNES predecessor.  F-Zero X included more game modes including vs battle, death battle and others that would contribute to the high replay value of this title.  This game was also very challenging because not only were players expected to race against 29 other opponents during grand prix mode but they also have to race to survive.  Along with stiff competition in the game there are multiple difficulty levels ranging from Novice (easiest) to Master (hardest).  Completing the game on Novice or even standard (medium) is one thing but trying to go any further with the amount of competition faces is a true challenge that will either force players to quit or to continue trying.

This game was well received by many gaming publications including Allgame, GamePro, GameSpot, and IGN for having great graphics and innovative gameplay.  Many people would agree that F-Zero X was miles ahead of its predecessor for the SNES and that it would also be considered one of the best racing games for the Nintendo 64 game console.