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Welcome Back to the West
By oneshotstop
Posted on 08/01/16
The only thing that stops the dust is the rain. It’s a sweet reprieve, but there is no middle ground. The land is either as dry as the Betty Ford clinic, or as wet as the ocean floor. Everything can be seen from the ridge overlooking Armadillo as John Marston gently bounces along atop...


TheDiesel TheDiesel's Blog
Daytona USA Review
Posted on Monday, November 14 2011 @ 10:48:56 PST

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

[Note: If GR reviews this, I'll most likely just copy and paste this onto member reviews, but since there's no review for it: it's going in here.  Enjoy!]

If you've ever stepped into an arcade before, you have seen the towering structures of eight, lined up like a starting line ready for the green flag to wave.  Daytona USA has been the king of speed for decades in the arcades, with multiple iterations spanned across arcades and consoles alike.  Now the popular racer has traveled its way onto the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3, looking to re-capture its former glory in HD.  Will the racer be able to keep up with the pack or burn out?

Daytona USA was Yu Susuki's racing gem in the 1990's, making an easy to pick up racer with unlimited replayability, shrouded with clutch moments that engrossed players into a, "just one more race" mentatlity.  As the driver of the #41 Hornet, players duke it out in three different courses, facing computer racers, battling for the top spot in victory lane.  Drivers can choose between automatic or manual transmission, with the manual transmission granted a higher top speed with the added difficulty, benefiting the drivers who are willing to do extra to get that faster lap time.  Sadly, these are the only choices in vehicles, as Daytona USA: Championship Edition added more vehicles in the later years.

The feel of top speed racing is portrayed well in the transition to current gen consoles.  Daytona's gameplay features a very tight but frantic driving style, allowing expert drivers to pull off drifts on hairpin turns while maintaining fast speeds.  Beginner drivers may find themselves all over the road since most racing titles have some implemented driver assist, so learning the proper speed during turns is crucial to success.

Daytona USA's graphics recieved a proper uphaul from its Sega Saturn days.  Though the signature blocky racecars remain in the game, the tracks are detailed and smooth.  With the graphical uplift, the HD textures on the game engine prove to be too much at times, with pop-in being a continual problem while racing.  Daytona's Expert course has the most pop-in issues, with most of the track around the first lap popping in during the race, having new racers get confused on where to go having the track suddenly emerge in front of them.  With the Expert course being as technically challenging as it is, most racers having issues with the pop-in may avoid this track at all costs.

In addition to the Arcade Mode, Daytona USA includes a series of game modes to extend the racing experience.  Time Trial mode has drivers racing to complete the fastest time across one of the three stages, posting their times on the leaderboard for top bragging rights.  Challenge Mode pits drivers in specific objectives on each stage to test driver's skills on the track.  Challenges include reaching a top speed on automatic or manual transmission, to finishing a number of laps before time runs out.  Elimination Mode has a drivers completing a marathon of laps, while slowly increasing a barometer until time runs out.  Performing stunts like taking a turn without applying brakes or passing other vehicles add time extensions so drivers can fill the barometer to the highest possible.  Karoke Mode is one of the more interesting, yet confusing modes in Daytona USA.  Players can sing along to the tunes of Daytona while driving to their favorite courses.  It's a funny, yet trivial mode that most players will try once and leave behind.

What most players will invest their time in is the new Online Multiplayer.  Drivers can duke it out in up to eight player races will fully customizable playlists.  Players can restrict which transmissions are used, to if AI vehicles drive the track or not, to mirroring the course.  Online multiplayer is a great amount of fun, though Daytona's fanbase is small as of its release, so finding an eight player lobby without prior get-togethers will be slim and none.  Also, surprisingly there is no local multiplayer, which I feel should be a staple in the franchise and should have never been left out.

Fans of Daytona will feel right at home with the HD re-release, but structural pop-in and its different driving mechanics may outcast newcomers to investing time in the classic racer.  But for what has made Daytona a classic title in the past still resonates today as a fun, fast, and cheap pickup for many to enjoy.

Final Grade: B-

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The Possible Closing of RedOctane and How I Will Miss the Music Game Genre.
Posted on Saturday, February 13 2010 @ 09:19:01 PST

Sup everyone,

In recent news: Activision has decided to listen to the masses and lower the amount of Guitar Hero video games being released in the future, but as a result of this; they are wiping out Underground Studios, the studio in charge of the not-so-amazing Guitar Hero: Van Halen, and possibly RedOctane, the co-owner of the Guitar Hero Franchise that sparked the American Peripheral Revolution for the years to come.  I know a lot of people are thanking their saviors for knowing that there won't be another 5-7 Activision-based music games to emerge in 2010, but I may be one of the very few who see this as the beginning of the death of one of my favorite genres.

Back in 2005, I remember my brother asking me a question of if I had ever heard of this new game called Guitar Hero, to which I had no idea what he was talking about.  He had told me about it: how he had played it at a party, and how it was one of the coolest things he had seen, and that he was gonna go and get it so me and him could play it.  Whenever I saw this game, I wasn't all too big in the music genre, with my only dive in that category being Dance Dance Revolution.  I was kind of confused and very interested on how this worked, and quickly my brother showed me how to play the game.  With all the different colors and a whole new way to play a game, I was quickly hooked onto this intriguing set-up.  I remember playing the game for hours, just trying to get to that higher difficulty and to see what new songs would show up.  Back then, I didn't know many of the songs on there [including most of the final tiers minus Pantera, not sure why I knew them but not Stevie Ray Vaughn.  Weird, I know.] and I couldn't wait to play them.  I remember that all elusive switch from Blue to Orange that everyone had the same problem with, don't say you didn't.  You did.  It was such a breath of fresh air to many of the people who had never heard of Beatmania, Guitar Freaks, or DDR.

When RedOctane and Harmonix came out with Guitar Hero II, I remember staying up until midnight waiting for the game to come out so I could see what they had made of it and what new songs they were introducing to me.  I think that was one of the biggest reasons I loved the beginning three compared to the rest of the series: the three games showed me venues of music I had never heard of; to the greatness of Megadeth, to the extremely obscure of Graveyard BBQ, it was all a refreshing experience with these songs I had never heard of before.  To be able to learn these songs through Guitar Hero gave every new iteration of the game a positive meaning for it actually coming out in my book.  The problem actually started with Guitar Hero III, when they decided to hit the fan favorites instead of songs that fit well with the game.

This is where many people believe this was the last great Guitar Hero game since it was the last to focus on just the guitar & bass perspective, I honestly believe it was the first in the steady downfall of the Music Genre.  What was so fascinating and interesting about the Guitar Hero games before Legends of Rock was that it was what Kotaku called an "instant cult classic", it was under the radar.  When Guitar Hero did not have to settle the masses with every type of music in one game [See: Guitar Hero 5], it allowed the flexibility to take risks in music and expand what you could play within what they picked.  To see the local Boston Rock and the confusing music of Made in Mexico and Freezepop be sacrificed to the likes of Dragonforce and AFI really hurt the credibility and the uniqueness of the game.  Once Guitar Hero hit mainstream, it lost that spark in which it had you guessing what you would be playing.  The only real guess from Legends of Rock and on was, "how many Spanish Rock songs would be on this time"?  The mainstream Guitar Hero became, a boring Guitar Hero. 

And in came Rock Band.

When RedOctane and Harmonix split due to Activision buying one but not the other, MTV Games and Harmonix gave the Music Genre that essential spark with the ability to have up to four people play at once.  The music was varied enough to be fun but not ridiculous, and the party value was un-heard of.  It was exactly what Guitar Hero was missing, Rock Band wasn't selling out to mainstream qualities and was a type of game that didn't need a sequel if they didn't want to make it.  But what Activision did was not to continue the qualities in which Guitar Hero used to get to the popularity that it had gained, but to follow the bandwagon to continue the mainstream profit that Activision knew it could make.  It was like watching your kid make it in the world, only for one dumb decision become multiple dumb decisions, and to see it plummet, knowing you can't do anything to help it get back up.  With Guitar Hero picking up the band equipment and releasing World Tour a year after Rock Band was released, the buzz of the multi-instrument layout was already seen, and the reaction Activision wanted was not there, already taken from them a year in the past, and again, Guitar Hero took a shot in popularity knowing it was not the monopoly of the Music Industry anymore.

So instead of going back to its roots and making a fun, unique game again, they went with the opportunity to make more games and not solidify a game that they spent the time and heart they did with the original games.  Having six different Guitar Hero titles coming out in 2009 alone, the series had gone to its thinnest thread, and most people were sick of the idea of anything peripheral-based.  Even I, who had stuck behind the game through all of its downfall, questioned buying Guitar Hero 5, and when I did, I didn't even send in for the free Val Halen game.  So after all this mess, Activision decided to close Underground Studios, and may be in the mist of shutting down RedOctane.

So where does this put the Guitar Hero franchise?  If RedOctane does go down, it would leave Vicarious Visions and other third-party developers the range to continue the franchise, but it will be without its two original creators.  If anything, this will give Harmonix's Rock Band 3 an even bigger pedestal seeing Guitar Hero crumble.  But with Rock Band 3 teasing to actually teach people the music in which they chose, I don't see as many people going to bite on that addition, and will bring the Music Game Industry to a perpetual slowdown.  More Guitar Hero games most will not want to play, and a Rock Band that looks like it's going to take the simple fun of the series to help actually train customers to play the instruments they've been pretending to play for years.  It just doesn't look good for the future of the Music Genre and will have to take a miracle to ever re-live the glory it once did during 2005-2007.

Just think about this for a second.  Remember the first time you played Even Rats by The Slip?  It's a simple, six minute song that was empowering enough to make you want to play it again and again; because it's good, clean music that signified that you don't need crazy 10-finger solos to qualify a Guitar Hero song.  It was all about the mood of the game, the venue in which your character was in, the feeling of every note at your fingertips, the powerful mentality of every power chord you hit.  It was an exciting feeling that never got old and brought you back for months.  Now look at Guitar Hero 5, with almost every song give or take a few has a ridiculous solo to help hit the hardcore group, the only group they have left.  To all the people wanting to Full-FC the games, the feeling is gone.  It's all about high scores and who can squeeze the last points out of a sustain.  Where did the enjoyment of just playing the song go?  The lightness of having that guitar in your hand while you played a song to show your friends how awesome the game is, not how awesome You are at the game.  Guitar Hero was all about making a name in a way that no real game had done yet: make a game that empowered the user with a simple mechanic.  The game doesn't need solos or 1 million points for people to enjoy the game.  All it needed was the ability to make someone feel like they were playing that song with their heart, not just their hands.

Something like a real Guitar Hero does.

Until next time,

[ 3 Comments ]        [ Post a Comment ]
Pre-Order Only Items and the Monopolization of GameStop
Posted on Sunday, December 6 2009 @ 01:40:35 PST

Hey guys, sorry it's been awhile since I've posted here, but I'm back with a bone to pick.  Gamers for the past two to three years have had to notice the steady increase in pre-order only items in stores like WalMart and GameStop.  But while WalMart will give away items like special T-Shirts for games like Madden 10, GameStop gives away parts of games that will never be unlocked unless you buy the game from that store or have to pay extra for it via downloadable content.  I believe this to be a classless form of stepping up against the competition and it shows a lot of shame in my eyes when the video game companies allow this to be done.

Now to set this straight, I don't mind when companies give special items to pre-ordering customers that include special posters to find secret items [ala Prototype] or access to weapons that people can obtain later in the game [ala Call of Duty: World at War], but what kills it for me is what X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Batman: Arkham Asylum did.  Pre-ordering at GameStop got you exclusive maps that were never given out to the public unless you pre-ordered from that retail store, and if you didn't, well you were out of luck and never got the chance to play that part of the game.  Locking a part of the game that was made for the public for the sake of a retail store's sales is cheating the consumer out of the $60 they're paying for that title.  It almost feels like a ploy to heighten sales because that company does not feel safe about their project's projected sales.  So what better way to boost sales then to add a part of the game that should already be unlocked by every one, and give it to customers who happen to buy from this particular store?  It just seems wrong to have to barter people like that if the company is already getting increased business by lofting food over the animal that he can't get unless he follows the certain path.  It's almost like GameStop is trying to monopolize the gaming-marketing industry, and it's working.

This has turned into a terrible ordeal in my look on where I buy games.  Remember when games were made to brighten one's imagination and take them through a journey of rememberance and hours and hours of gameplay?  Does anyone remember a part of that game that was locked due to not pre-ordering or paying for that part through "DLC"?  Though it's not a pre-ordering issue, Street Fighter IV is suspect of this when near $20 costumes only take up about 1MB; hmm.  Not pre-ordering the game as New and giving the company more share of the cut is like only getting 95% of the game because you didn't want to spend $60 at that moment for the game...really?  Now game companies & GameStop are punishing customers because they didn't pre-order and buy first day at that store?  As if getting money for video games isn't bad enough, you know.  Now we get gameplay tacked off if we don't sacrifice money at that time.

So what can be done to stop this from happening?  Not much honestly, but I hope gaming studios won't tamper with their finished game to tempt customers to stores like GameStop so they all can make more money off of us.  It just kills me seeing the commercials saying, "Receive this game content only when you pre-order at GameStop!"  Ugh, and the best part of it is their slogan:

"Power to the Players!"

Power to the players?  The power to fork over cash to your store so we can actually get all of the game we wanted to buy?  Beautiful.  Games get an incredible amount of sales nonetheless if it's pre-ordered or not.  If people believe the game is good, they'll pre-order it.  If they don't want it, they won't.  But GameStop is screwing the middle men who aren't going to slap down $60 for a game they're uncertain of yet.  So I don't get to get that challenge map since I didn't kiss your feet at your release date?  Screw that noise.  This is why I haven't played either of those.  I'm not buying a 95% completed game for any price.

Until next time,

[ 13 Comments ]        [ Post a Comment ]
Get Over Yourself People, It's Just Guitar Hero.
Posted on Wednesday, September 16 2009 @ 01:22:12 PST


Diesel here.  I don't understand people obsessed with music these days, with the most recent case being Guitar Hero 5's use of Kurt Cobain, who died due to Suicide.  The buzz around the internet minus-ing Courtney Love's awe...   read more...

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Guitar Hero Finals: A Tale of Broken Dreams and Broken Combos
Posted on Sunday, August 30 2009 @ 22:39:17 PST

Every person who plays games has a game where they want to show off to other people to show how good they are, for some people, it's First Person Shooters and the like.  If there's one game I love to play and play well, it's Guitar Hero.  N...   read more...

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Am I The Only One Happy For All The Delays?
Posted on Sunday, August 16 2009 @ 00:34:47 PST

Hey Everyone,

Diesel here.  2009 has been a very traumatizing year for gamers with the amount of delays plaguing the scene.  With Mass Effect 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and many others backing out into 2010: gamers are concern...   read more...

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Three Reasons Why Left 4 Dead 2's Boycott is Stupid
Posted on Sunday, August 9 2009 @ 22:57:08 PST

Hello Everyone,

Diesel here.  One thing I wanted to type about is the sudden urge or want to Boycott the upcoming title Left 4 Dead 2.  This is just a stupid concept to boycott a game and I don't see the problem with Valve coming...   read more...

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Next Batch of Reviews
Posted on Friday, August 7 2009 @ 02:55:48 PST

Hello Everyone,

I know the new Mothership Zeta review was a bit unexpected, but I had just finished it yesterday, so I figured I would post one up since I already had everything I needed for it.  Either way, here are some games that'l...   read more...

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B-Day enjoyment
Posted on Thursday, August 6 2009 @ 22:17:07 PST

Hello Everyone,

Diesel here.  And my B-Day was the 5th, sorry I didn't get an actual Blog up, but I've been busy.  I got the WANTED Review up and I'm pleased to see the five stars someone gave me, I certainly appreciate it. ...   read more...

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New Reviews on the way!
Posted on Monday, August 3 2009 @ 19:44:42 PST

Hello Everyone,

Diesel here, This'll be a short blog but I'm writing this to let you know about the three new reviews coming up:

WANTED: Weapons of Fate [I'm writing this one as I type.]
Guitar Hero: Metallica [Just need to...  

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