Busy week as usual it seems.

First up was my Considered Gamer column for GamePeople. I took a look at the original Final Fantasy now available on the iPhone for £5.99 (yes it costs that much!). Enjoyable but nothing like later Final Fantasys.

Final Fantasy is a nostalgic piece of gaming history. However, beyond the sentimentality of revisiting the past the grinding nature of the game exposes how far the series has come in the intervening years.

Full column

Then there was Darwinia+ for VideogameUK.

Darwinia+ is bizarre yet brilliant. I mean just look at the plot synopsis. Darwinia was a digital theme world for artificially intelligent polygons as created by Dr Sepulveda. Things all go a bit wrong however when Darwinia is infected by a virus and it’s down to you to clear the virus through the use of combat programs selectable via a task manager-esque function. It sounds a little ridiculous doesn’t it? This is coming from Introversion though, a brilliant British company who made the sublime Uplink, a hacking simulator. Throw in the wonderfully retro style of Darwinia+ and the full package is a delightful throwback to the 8-bit era while retaining great relevance to modern gaming.

Full review

Then along came White Knight Chronicles for Nidzumi which was so very disappointing as I couldn’t wait for its arrival 🙁

White Knight Chronicles takes a lot of inspiration from Level 5’s previous hit Dark Chronicles. Then it packages it up and turns a great concept into straight down the middle mediocrity. It’s a game that starts out extremely promising but it’s not long until proceedings become just a trifle dull and unexciting. Something that I really didn’t expect from the makers of the sublime Dragon Quest VIII.

Full review

The sublime Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver was next for VideogameUK. Sure it was more evolution than revolution but it reminded me why I love the series so much. Happy days.

Back when I was much younger I was a Pokémon addict. Not the cartoon series or anything like that, no, instead I was hooked on Pokémon Blue and Gold on my Gameboy. They were amazing at the time. Being able to collect hundreds of Pokémon (creatures basically) was just too compelling for my young mind. Somehow future instalments never hooked me in the same way. I guess it was all down to timing. Pearl and Diamond came along when I was already busy with other things. However now with the arrival of Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver I’m addicted all over again. Even if I am of an age where it’s a little embarrassing to pause in the middle of Asda to check how my Pokémon is doing on my Pokewalker. It doesn’t stop Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver being unmissable though. This really is an essential purchase for DS owners.

Full review

Another blast from the past in the form of Perfect Dark for Ve3tro. I’m pleased that it’s held up so well.

When I was 15 me and a friend were absolutely hooked on Perfect Dark on the N64. I’ve no idea what the weather was like that summer as we both practically lived in his bedroom constantly playing multiplayer Perfect Dark sometimes against each other, sometimes against the bots.

We’d play for so many hours that we could still ’see’ the HUD for a while afterwards. It was a glorious summer and one that resides in my mind as clear as day. Perfect Dark was an utter classic. I feared that it might all be nostalgia but having spent some time with it again, now available on the Xbox 360 Arcade Marketplace, I’ve realised that actually Perfect Dark is that good. Even if it might look rather dated now.

Full review

Finally was the rather rubbish Prison Break: The Conspiracy for Resolution. I was happy with the review though as I received the game on the Tuesday and produced a review in time for the embargo to be lifted for release day Friday. Plus it was my first review as a staff member for the site rather than as a freelancer. Hurrah!

Well-made stealth games provide some brilliantly tense experiences. Prison Break: The Conspiracy isn’t a well-made stealth game. Instead, it demonstrates exactly how not make a stealth game, and makes you cringe a bit in the process. Pity really, as for the first couple of hours it pushes towards enjoyable – though even at that stage, it’s clearly a very guilty pleasure.

Full review

That was quite a lot for one week. I’m surprised considering it was such a lethargic week! Next week promises rumour killing, Avalon Code, desert island games, a WoW article and, erm, more.

For now though, I’m off for a nice walk in the warm…..ok dry weather. I’ve got a good feeling about this weekend.

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