• Season’s Spookings

    Apologies for the lack of new articles this month. My favorite month of the year, no less! Believe me when I say I had plans for a handful of long-winded rundowns and reviews I wanted to get done for y’all, but my head just hasn’t been in the right space for writing.

    For one, I attended Portland Retro Gaming Expo, and planned to do a write-up of my three days spent there. I may still get to it, but of course, the longer I take to get it written the less relevant / the more foggy my recollection becomes. I definitely have some thoughts on the experience that I wanna share, and some neat photos I believe are worth displaying on here.

    Secondly, I’ve been frustratedly slow on delivering on a Patreon request, and bringing an article on X-COM: Enforcer to fruition. Again, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say about the game: I just haven’t been in a mindset to properly type them out. Making the promise to pledgers that I can write articles on games of their choosing is one I take very seriously, and I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long with this one.

    Another point I’m bummed out about is missing my self-imposed Halloween deadline to get an article done for 2009’s Ju-on: The Grudge on the Nintendo Wii, which I had planned as the site’s sort of “celebration” for the holiday. Instead, all I can offer is the archive of a livestream of me playing through the game (as seen at the top of the article), as recorded on the Bad Game Hall of Fame Twitch channel. Watching it may spoil the prospect of a potential future article on the game, but I want to be able to provide some sort of content for you guys on this most spooky of days.

    Regrettably, that’s really I’ve got to show for myself right now. I’ll be back to work on writing as soon as I’m able. Thank you all for your patience and your understanding.

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    GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

    “Why Save the World When You Can Rule It…”

    “Auf wiedersehen, GoldenEye.”
    (North American PS2 box art)

    The James Bond film franchise might just be the very definition of the term “problematic fave.” On the one hand; it’s impossible to overlook the rampant sexism, racism, and glorification of aggressive masculinity all on display in what are considered the classic entries of the series. On the other hand… well, there’s just something about them, isn’t there? They manage to present action movie shlock as polished art, and pass off some of the most objectively goofy of plots and premises as espionage intrigue. And so, it’s with some hesitation that I have to admit to being a fan of the film series, and to having watched [and re-watched] every last one of its currently twenty-four entries.

    But there’s more to the 007 brand than just the movies. Obviously, there’s the matter of the original novels that inspired the films in the first place, if written word is your cup of tea. Somehow though, I doubt you’ve come to this article for one of my book reviews. Yes, we’re obviously here to discuss the matter of James Bond video games, which have taken on something like a life of their own outside of the respective film series. Why, with software starring the world-famous spy starting to appear as early as 1982, you could argue that the history of the Bond games franchise is nearly as long and storied as that of the movie franchise! (For something like a look at pre-GoldenEye Bond games, might I recommend B.J. Brown’s article on James Bond 007 The Duel?) And of course – as is the case with any franchise as long-running as that – there are bound to be a few duds and misfires along the way.

    Today we set our sights on 2004’s GoldenEye: Rogue Agent: A title which dared to invoke the sacred name of the game franchise’s most cherished entry. Naturally, we’ll have to at least briefly discuss that particular bit of inspiration and what made it so special to begin with, as well as the range of releases that came in-between. Once we get all that sorted, we’ll be get into the messy business of dissecting what might well be the most reviled release in the 30-plus year history of the 007 video game series, and where exactly it went wrong. Do you reckon that’s enough material for one article? Well, sod that: I say the world is not enough for the Bad Game Hall of Fame, so we’ll also cover Rogue Agent’s handheld conversion too, and a bizarre bit of game franchise-crossover that came with that. As an on-screen comedy duo once quipped; “They always said the pen was mightier than the sword.” “Thanks to me, they were right.”

    Or twenty-five, if you wanna count Never Say Never Again. Hey, say what you will about it, but at least it’s not Live and Let Die.

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    “My Energy is Depleted… I’m Shaking!”

    “Suddenly, Tokyo began to shake and crumble!”
    (Japanese box art)

    If I might start this article off with something like a shameless plug: A couple of months ago, the Bad Game Hall of Fame launched a Patreon page, so that viewers like you could have a way to support the website if you so choose. Pledging as little as $1 gets you access to articles as they’re still “works in progress,” as well as some exclusive polls and other assorted nonsense to come. If you’re feeling particularly generous, a $5 pledge will see your named etched onto the prestigious walls of the Hall of Heroes. And finally – for those of you who are presumably as obsessed with bad games as I am – a one-time $20 pledge will allow you request a game for me to focus my efforts on in the form of a future article.

    Of course, I’m mentioning all this upfront for a reason; that reason being that today’s article is the first “pledger request” I’ll be fulfilling! With that in mind, I’d like to thank one Dustin Cooper (@GenioAugusti) for their contributions to the Bad Game Hall of Fame — and I’m not just talking about sending some of that precious paper my way, no siree bob. For one, Dustin has been a long-time reader and friend of the site, so I’m happy to try and give back in my own goofy way. In addition, they were accommodating enough to provide me with a handful of different suggestions from which to pick from, all in a similar vein: Japan-exclusive PC Engine / TurboGrafX-16 games. And while I’d like to keep the other two suggested titles secret for the time being – since all three games really did manage to pique my interest in different ways – I reckon you might be able to tell which release I ultimately landed on.

    So, here I am to cover 1989’s Energy: Released on the HuCard format for the PCE, as published by Masaya Games, and developed by the elusive Quasar Soft. Information on Quasar on the English-typing side of the web is both difficult to come by and inconsistent to boot, but by my guesstimation, they developed a grand total of five games before falling off the face of the earth. Curiously, this game is actually intended as a remake / conversion of one of their previous titles, so you could argue that they’ve only got four unique games to their credit? But perhaps the most confounding element in all of this is the fact that one video game can effectively demonstrate so much flawed design in such a small package. Of course, I reckon that means I’m just going to have to cover every last one of those flaws in painful detail, huh?

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    Medal of Honor: Underground (GBA)

    “Bonne Chance, Et Vive La Resistance!”

    “Join the resistance and battle the Reich from Paris to North Africa.”
    (North American box art)

    Remember when World War II first-person shooter fatigue was in full effect? For those of you who don’t, there was this nearly decade-long stretch of time that saw hundreds of largely interchangeable games released, all centered around the bonā fidē classic premise of killing Nazis. What finally brought this trend to an end wasn’t publishers kowtowing to upset alt-right assholes, or anything else similarly pathetic: All it took was the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to completely change the tides, and usher in a new era of largely interchangeable modern-day military shooters. Sure enough, it’s been nearly another decade since then, and now this new setting has seemingly run its course as well. Just recently (as of the time of this writing), Call of Duty: WWII has seen that series returning to its roots, as well as Battlefield travelling back to the 1940s for its upcoming fifth installment. You’ve gotta love how cyclical this goofy little industry is.

    But to what title do we owe that initial wave of World War II shooters, anyhow? Well, while it certainly wasn’t the first title of its kind, the credit for the fad is most certainly owed to the original Medal of Honor, released in 1999 for Sony’s PlayStation. With the involvement of one Steven Spielberg bringing with him a production value previously unseen in the genre, it was a game released to immediate critical and financial success; sure to inspire a slew of sequels, and soon at that. Sure enough, the next year would see Medal of Honor: Underground released for the same console, with a conversion slated to arrive two years later for… Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance? Well, surely, this would have to serve as a very different take on the source material. Maybe a top-down shooter, or some sort of action platformer? Hey, maybe even make it an RPG if you’re feeling — wait, what’s that? You’re telling me it’s still a first-person shooter, then? Huh.

    So, here we go folks: Our first foray into the fascinating world of Game Boy Advance first-person shooters. Yes, there’s more than just this one, and truth be told, most of them are actually pretty alright! But among this select group, Medal of Honor: Underground has the reputation of being the very worst. How can that be, though? For starters, any game about destroying Nazis can’t be all bad. And you know, that “Medal of Honor” branding used to be a real mark of quality — a title you could truly trust. Reputation be damned, I’m gonna give this game the benefit of the doubt going in. I mean, I reckon we’re gonna have to go ahead and ultimately compare the game against its source material, as well as to some of the other GBA FPS titles that preceded it; but I’ve still got a good feeling that the handheld Medal of Honor: Underground will stand the trials ahead of it! Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

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    Dirty Pair: Project Eden

    “Ro-Ro-Ro-Russian Roulette!”

    “You promised me that next time we went on vacation, we’d go topless and drive all the men wild!”
    Lovely angelic art by @SarahSSowertty.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Howdy there, Cass here! I’m happy to introduce our first article on the Bad Game Hall of Fame written by an outside contributor: Fellow kusogē connoisseur and dear friend of the site, Ant Cooke from Gaming Hell! As part of a little “cultural exchange” between our two sites, I penned an article on the Genesis wrestling title Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel for their webzone, while they were kind enough to help cross Dirty Pair: Project Eden off my list. Make sure that you read both articles very thoroughly, piece together all the hidden clues, and mail in the secret code to the usual address!

    Of the just-under-twenty games on the Famicom Disk System based on licensed properties- from tokusatsu shows, manga, anime to boy bands, thirteen of them were published by Bandai. That’s more games than Taito and Capcom-published games on the system combined. It shouldn’t be too much of a shock that Bandai dumped a lot of trash on the FDS of course, considering their reputation for publishing inordinate amounts of licensed guff on other systems, but given the relatively small size of the FDS library, it does stick out quite a bit.

    They were busiest in 1987, releasing eight games, then four in 1988, and finally petering out with two in 1989, a few years before the FDS would wind down. There’s a smorgasbord of crappy license staples here, such as Kininikkuman, three Ultraman games and the obligatory SD Gundam title, but personally, the most interesting of these is Dirty Pair: Project Eden, as it’s the only video game ever based on the property. A property that the writer happens to be a fan of, so we’ve been assigned by Cass to talk about it. Ant from Gaming Hell, then, will be your guide to the Lovely Angels’ first and only foray into video gaming!

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