From now on, instead of writing 2 different columns each week, my $20 GOTY and Buried Treasures sections will be combined into 1 big juicy post. This will ensure that you don’t miss anything, especially from the other writers. Also, this is important becuase this week will be extra big. You’ll know why as soon as you finish reading this sentence.

It’s the day after labor day, and while other news sites might chill out after the holidays, I double up! That means you get 2 articles this week. Oh waitaminute, it’s been 1 year since I started doing the $20 GOTY, so that means I gotta add in 1 more to celebrate. Two of these games you may have seen before, becuase they got lost when we switched to word press and they were so dope, I needed an excuse to look at them again. Besides, it will be a first time a lot of you will be seeing them anyhow, especially if you’re reading this on Area 4:51. So without further ado, come ride with me [to the bargin bin at your local gamestop].

taitolegends.jpg$20 Game of the week: Taito Legends (PS2, PC, Xbox)

Taito may not have had the arcade presence that was enjoyed by Capcom, Namco, or Midway, but they made some classics all the same. Along with one of the most influential games of our hobby’s early years (Space Invaders), they released several other good games such as Operation Thunderbolt, Rastan, and Bubble Bobble. This compiliation from last year is a collection of 29 of those games. Out of all the classic gaming compiliations released in recent years, this probably has the most variety in it’s lineup, as you’ll find sidescrollers, beat-em-ups, shooters, and even puzzle games, ranging from the straightforward (Thunderfox, Space Gun) to the unique and quirky (Qix, The New Zeland Story) to the outright bizzare (Great Swordsman, Ninja Kids). There is something on this disc for everyone and even though the presentation is pretty barebones (offering up a few ads and standard histories), it’s a great trip through time to find what’s missing in today’s games.

psiops.jpg$20 Game of the Week: Psi-Ops (PS2, Xbox)

With my MIIIIIIIIND, with my MIIIIIIIIIIND…..er, sorry about that. It’s just that I can’t get that coldplay song out of my head. Anyway, on to the game. As early as 2004, Midway’s been adopting a new strategy; create new IPs and revatilize old ones. While this strategy has been largely hit or miss, (chalk Gauntlet and Narc up in the miss column) this has given us some of thier best games in recent years, such as Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks, The Suffering, and this.

You play as Nick Scrier, an amnesiac field ops agent sent to bring down a terrorist organization from within. However, these people aren’t your garden variety Europeans with $5,000 suits, but these are sociopaths with powerful psychic powers. However don’t count yourself out just yet, you’ve got some special tricks of your own.

The psychic powers at your disposal (many of which you discover during the course of the game) add a whole new dimension of strategy to what could otherwise have easily been just another run of the mill shooter. For instance, you’re standing on the roof of a bunker full of enemies. In any other game almost, you’d drop in and shoot them before they killed you. Here however, you have a number of options. Should you cause an illusion and sneak by unoticed. Maybe you mind control one of the enemies, forcing him to kill the others before turning the gun on himself. Why not just levitate that piece of metal beside you to use it to fly overhead Green Goblin style? The game’s physics system makes psychic levatating even more fun. Lots of unlockables, including a 2-player mode will keep you playing even after you’re finished with Scrier’s adventure.

soulcalibur3.jpg $20 Game of the Week: Soulcalibur 3 (PS2)

Namco is an innovator of the 3-d fighting game genre, if not the innovator. With Sega’s Virtua Fighter 5 not due for some time, Capcom continually rehashing thier 2-d fighting games, SNK being somewhat stingy on the US releases of thier upcomming KOF games, and Mortal Kombat 7 a few months away, snatching the crown is easy for Namco to do without much effort. First revatilize the Tekken franchise, then you supercharge the last great game in your weapons fighting series by adding in more options and features. Soulcalibur 3 does this in spades. Along with 3 new characters, dozens of bonus characters (including some from earlier games), , a new story mode (with multiple endings and paths for each character), and a new soul arena mode (with various challenges to unlock), you also get a character creator and the ‘Chronicles of the sword’ mode (an RTS minigame featuring the bonus characters as well as characters made from the CAC.). While the character creator may seem limited, (mainly becuase I’ve been spolied by the CAWs in the WWE/F games) you can unlock more options in the shop, and you can create some familiar looking characters. In fact, on any site you can see characters such as Strider, Cloud, Jin Kazama, and others. In fact I created several members of the Dynasty Warriors cast as well as Resident Evil’s Jill Valentinte and Silent Hill’s James Sunderland. The only 2 things against it is that it’s a PS2 exclusive, and there is no online. 2 things that will hopefully be addressed in the next entry.

lethalenforcers.jpgLost Classics: Lethal Enforcers (Arcade, SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, PS1)

A few years before Time Crisis, Silent Scope, and House of the Dead blew open the shooter genre Konami created a classic with Lethal Enforcers. What made this game even more daring was that it was created in the midst of the Mortal Kombat controversy. While other shooter games around this time used animated graphics and 2-D sprites, this game used realistic looking digitized graphics in a real life setting. As one of Chicago’s finest, (or 2 if playing 2 player) you took down Bank Robbers, Gun Smugglers, Hijackers, and other unsavory types throughout 5 levels of shooting action. As shown here, the home versions came with thier own gun packaged in, as Konami claimes that the game was too hot to use the Superscope/Sega Menancer for the game. You could order a second one by mail for 2 player games, of you could play with the controller. The second one (colored in hot neon pink) plugged into a phone jack on the bottom of the first. A sequel was released which took place in the old west, and a compiliation pack was released on Playstation, along with it’s own gun as well.

manofwar.jpgLost Classic: Metal Warriors (SNES)

SO my friend of mine, who is a big metal fan, more specifically of Manowar, let me have the ‘pleasure’ of listening to the group’s album ‘Metal Warriors’. Needless to say, it was an intresting experience. A few years later, I’ve come to find out that there is a game based on thier unique brand of Metal.

metalwarriors.jpgOkay, not exactly. Turns out this game was made by Lucasarts and published by Konami, and it has nothing to do with Metal Bands. Years before Xbox Live, Socom and Halo, this gave us a unique brand of multiplayer mech action. It was only for 2 players, but the huge levels made it fun to play. It was kind of weird to see someone treat multiplayer as something more than a simple after thought during the 16-bit days. You had your choice of several mechs, each with thier own abilities and skill sets, and you could exit your mech to do battle on foot, or jack other mechs. When you finally did manage to peel yourself away from the multiplayer, there was a single player campaign with several stages, and some nice looking cutscenes. The music wasn’t too shabby either. Those few who managed to get a chance to play it were not at all dissappointed. It was pretty much like Mechassault’s grandfather.

Well, I’ve burnt myself out, so I’m gonna jet. See you next week!