437: All According to Ka-ki-ku-ke-ko

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This week! Nintendo gets into the mobile games business, announces new hardware, Hideo Kojima to leave Konami once MGSV is done, Atari blocks next-gen system TxK. Plus: We talk Rogue Legacy, Counterspy, Phantasy Star II, The Order 1886, Xeodrifter and Elliot Quest. Join us, won’t you?

Magic Leap’s AR Game reel
DexDrive
Bleem!

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 15 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:31:55

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436: Clash Fighter’s Card

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This week! Uncharted is delayed, there’s a new Xbox One bundle, new PS4 OS update with suspend/resume coming, PlayStation Gear Store, YouTube stars, Apple Watch, Out Run 3D, Olli Olli 2, Pure Pool, Shadowrun Returns, Counter Spy, Codename STEAM and much, much more. Join us, won’t you?

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 15 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:30:24

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Posted in Best Of, Episodes, Video Games | 3 Responses

435: Doesn’t Actually Sit On Your Face

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This week! GDC, VR, Rock Band 4, Olli Olli 2, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars and some other stuff.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 54:07

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WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL – Midnight Raiders

MidnightRaiders_MCD_US_Box_FrontPublisher: Sega
Developer: Stargate Films
Released: 1994

By 1994 full-motion video games had fallen into a few different formulas. There were the multithreaded stories fashioned after Night Trap, running stories riddled with timed button presses a la Dragon’s Lair, and basic shooting galleries like the offerings from American Laser Games.

In mid-94 Sega and developer The Code Monkeys hit on a new formula that was quite engaging with the game Tomcat Alley. At its most basic this fighter jet simulator was a shooting gallery, but it featured an innovative system to randomize the encounters by using small clips of the characters saying generic lines or the planes flying across screen to hide the seek time for the next encounter footage.

Midnight Raiders is basically the same game. You play as Joker, a rookie gunner on a team of two helicoptors sent on a mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist being forced to develop a lethal toxin. As this is a rail shooter, you have no control over where you go, only over what you shoot.

The actual shooter bits are arguably better than Tomcat Alley. The very fact that you’re in a helicopter allows for more interesting enemy types, as the closing speed is slow enough that you can see your enemies for a longer period of time.
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Unfortunately the transitional bits are pretty terrible. There are a lot of really jarring cuts and nonsensical bits butting up against each other.

Midnight Raiders goes a step further, though. Along with the sections in the chopper, Joker actually spends part of the game on foot. Here you have to be ready to shoot anyone you see, as well as reload your gun before the clip runs out of bullets. These levels should offer a welcome reprieve to the flying sections, but I found them to be frustrating as hell. Everything is too dark and too fast to get a read on your targets (remember, this game does not support light guns, it’s all controller driven), and I never seemed to have any luck reloading my weapon before the next cinematic scene played (rendering controller inputs null).

Tomcat Alley was a triumph. It showed that FMV games could be exciting again. But while Midnight Raiders apes the formula almost exactly it completely fails to capture the excitement.
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This is one of a handful of FMV games that was developed (in whole or in part, it’s not totally clear) by a company called Stargate Films. There isn’t a lot of information around about the company at the time, though it still exists today as a special effects house called Stargate Studios that’s contributed to some major films and television shows, including The Walking Dead.

Stargate worked very closely with Sony Imagesoft on further FMV titles for the Sega CD, which Sony apparently abandoned as soon as it changed course and began planning the release of the PlayStation. The story is that Sony abandoned the games and failed to pay Stargate. A couple of the games – Bug Blasters and Star Strike – were eventually picked up and released by Good Deal Games years later. They both follow the exact same formula used in Tomcat Alley and Midnight Raiders.

Posted in Sega, Sega CD, WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

434: 50 Shades of Phillips

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This week! Guest Rich Grisham joins Greg and Mike (gasp!) for some good talkin’. Thrill to conversations about The Order 1886, Rock Band, games as a service, VR headsets, Life Is Strange, The Wolf Among Us, Apotheon and more! Join us, won’t you? Support the show via our Patreon!

Be sure to check out the other shows Rich is on – the Press Row Podcast and the Doddcast.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:21:52

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433: In Theory, Well-Made and Brief

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This week! Guests Pete Dodd and Rich Grisham join Greg and CJ for some video game chat. We talk The Order 1886, new Rock Band, Twitchcon, Majora’s Mask 3D, The Last of Us: Left Behind (SPOILERS!), The Wolf Among Us (SPOILERS), Pokémon Shuffle and a whole lot of other stuff. Join us, won’t you? Support the show via our Patreon!

Follow Pete Dodd on Twitter @atpetedodd and check out DoddScientifics.com or listen to the Doddcast wherever you listen to fine podcasts.

Be sure to check out the other shows Rich is on – the Press Row Podcast and the Doddcast.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:58:31

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432: You’re Thinking of Battle of Olympus

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This week! Guest T.J. Lauerman joins Greg, Phil, and CJ for some firey video game chat. We talk New 3DS, that RPS interview with Peter Molyneux, cheap PlayStation TVs, Majora’s Mask 3D, King Kong, Rogue Legacy, Peggle Blast, 10000000, Zelda 2 and a whole lot of other stuff. Join us, won’t you? Support the show via our Patreon!

Check out T.J.’s site thatsportsgamer.com, Operation Sports’ Press Row Podcast, and follow him on Twitter @ThatSportsGamer.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:14:23

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431: Counterclockwise Swirl

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This week! Kevin Larrabee joins Greg, Phil, and CJ for some video game chat. We talk prepping for the New 3DS, Netflix doing a Zelda TV series, Club Nintendo rewards, Splatoon voice chat, Persona 5, Apotheon, Metroid Prime, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, Game & Watch Gallery 3 and a whole lot of other stuff. Join us, won’t you? Support the show via our Patreon!

Check out Back In My Play at backinmyplay.com, The Fitcast at thefitcast.com, and follow Kevin Larrabee on Twitter @kevinlarrabee. Get the BIMP Next-Gen shirt here.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:42:34

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430: The End of Near is Near

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This week! Rich Grisham joins Greg, Phil, and CJ for some video game chat. We talk Code Name: STEAM, Grim Fandango Remastered, Little Big Planet 3, Far Cry 4, Fire Emblem The Sacred Stones, Gunman Clive 2 and Framed. Join us, won’t you? Support the show via our Patreon!

Be sure to check out the other shows Rich is on – the Press Row Podcast and the Doddcast.

Check out Greg’s web series Generation 16 (Episode 14 now available) – click here. And take a trip over to Phil’s YouTube Channel to see some awesome retro game vids.

Own an iPhone/iPod touch? We’ve got an app for that–the Player One Podcast player app is available now. Play shows new and old, read show notes, access the show Twitter, website, email, and more! Click here to download.

Got an Android device? You can now download our app on the Amazon Android Appstore. Find out all about it here.

Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/p1podcast.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to visit our new web site at www.playeronepodcast.com. Don’t forget to join our forums if you haven’t already!

Running time: 1:22:13

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WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL – Microcosm

Microcosm_MCD_US_Box_FrontPublisher: Psygnosis
Developer: Psygnosis Advanced Technology Group
Released: 1993

Microcosm is yet another entry in what seems like a neverending list of full-motion video shooters that seemed to infect the market back in the early 90s. Much like Sewer Shark, this is simply a sprite-based, into the screen shoot em up that runs over an FMV background.

It’s not a very good one, either.

The plot is straight out of the dystopian future science fiction handbook, where mega corporations are all-powerful and murder appears to be standard operating procedure in the name of corporate espionage. It is the year 2051 and two companies – CyberTech Industries and Axiom – are battling it out for global dominance. Axiom blames CyberTech for its president’s recent death. It plans to take revenge on CyberTech by injecting its president with a virus that will take over his body. You’re the lucky soul who gets to go all Fantastic Journey in an attempt to neutralize the virus and save the president. Actually, InnerSpace might be a better example.

This is all conveyed through a lengthy opening cut scene featuring laughable voice acting and terrible lip syncing. Apparently the reason behind this is two-fold: no one in the video is a professional actor and all of the original dialogue was recorded in Japanese. More on that later.

When the game proper finally does begin you find yourself flying through what appear to be veins or…well, somebody’s insides. One of the major problems with this premise is that each level, no matter how well the video has been rendered, kind just looks like you’re flying through slimy crimson corridors.

The gameplay is generally poor, with the disconnect between the FMV backgrounds and the sprite-based enemies and projectiles making it rather difficult to discern exactly how close each threat is to your ship. Not only does this make things kind of difficult to avoid, but it also has an adverse affect on your ability to properly aim your weapons.
MICROCOSM001
The exception to this rule is most of the boss battles. Outside of a few sections where you chase an enemy through yet another slimy corridor, the bosses are all represented by full-motion video as well. This makes them some of the more impressive looking bits of the game, though the fact that they are limited to the video being streamed off the disk, their movements and patterns are extremely predictable and can’t change even a little bit to react to whatever it is the player is doing. Not only that, but any projectiles they fire don’t look like they belong at all thanks to them being, you guessed it, sprite based.

Despite its general mediocrity, Microcosm is an interesting game for a few different reasons. Psygnosis had been around for quite a while by the point they started development on this game, but Microcosm marked their first foray into CD-ROM technology, as well as one of the first instances of a developer streaming video in the background of an otherwise traditional game. In fact, Psygnosis was so ahead of the curve that the lead platform for development was the rather obscure Fujitsu FM Towns computer, based mostly on the fact that it was one of the only computers at the time which featured an onboard CD-ROM drive.

Fujitsu eventually bought the game engine directly from Pysgnosis as it was preparing to unleash its FM Towns Marty console and desperately needed games for the platform. Unfortunately that meant that Psygnosis’ flagship CD-ROM game went largely unnoticed in the western world, as the FM Towns Marty never made it out of Japan. Microcosm does have the honor of being featured on the first of Edge Magazine Issue #1, however.
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It wasn’t until a while later that Microcosm made its way west, appearing on the Sega CD, 3DO and DOS operating system. None of those versions were created by the original team, however, and I believe the console versions were cut back in one way or another. Either way, by the time the game came to these shores it really didn’t seem like anything special.

More importantly, though, the game got Psygnosis some much-needed recognition. In particular it attracted the attention of Sony, which was gearing up to launch its own CD-based game console in 1994. Sony bought Psygnosis, which went on to produce some of the system’s earliest AAA titles, such as Destruction Derby, F1 and Wipeout. Psygnosis apparently had a major hand in early development tools for the PS1 as well.

Psygnosis was eventually reorganized into Studio Liverpool.

Posted in Sega, Sega CD, WELCO METOT HENEX TLEVEL | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment