Saturday, February 4, 2017

Gaming on the Cheap

Just a quick update, because it's been a while and I really need to keep my writer's pencil sharpened. I picked up a handful of video games over the past week... some came from Wal-Mart and the rest were found in a thrift store, but they've all got one thing in common: they were less than ten dollars each. 

The Wal-Mart games were Sonic All-Stars Transformed for Xbox 360 ($5) and Dead or Alive 5 Last Round for Playstation 4 ($7). Granted, I already bought the former game for my PC during a Humble Bundle sale, but what the heck... for a fiver it can't hurt to have it on a console as well. DOA5 at seven dollars is a much better deal than the forty it currently costs on the Playstation Store, and it adds much-needed bulk to my PS4 fighting game collection.

On the thrift store side of things, we've got the longbox version of Battle Arena Toshinden, All-Star Slammin' Super D-Ball, and X-Men Legends, all for a dollar each. Toshinden was an early system seller for the Playstation, loaded with the flash largely absent from the original Virtua Fighter. However, even in 1995, some players saw through the cutting-edge graphics to the mediocre gameplay underneath. Twenty two years and three console generations later, it's impossible not to notice how much this sucks. 

I played this with a Sega Saturn joypad, and while that controller can make a good fighter even better, even it can't save a lousy one from itself. Special moves in Toshinden are a gamble, coming out roughly half the time and forcing the player to crush the D-pad with his thumb in a vain attempt to compensate. By contrast, the woefully unappreciated Street Fighter EX+ Alpha responds to your requests for special moves 90% of the time with a Saturn pad. It's a tighter, better constructed game overall, reserving its 3D for dramatic camera angles rather than finding an awkward middle ground between 2D and 3D gameplay as Toshinden does. It's telling that while the EX series sputtered out after the third game, its influence can be felt in Street Fighters IV and V. Toshinden has no such spiritual successor, remembered only as one of the awkward first steps in the transition from 2D to 3D gaming. (And oh yeah, the terrible, terrible voice acting in the Saturn version of the game.)

As for the other two games? Well, I haven't gotten to them yet. I may never get to Slammin' D-Ball (YouTube videos suggest that it falls far short of the excellence of Technos' Super Dodgeball), but I might spend an hour with X-Men Legends for shiggles. Stay tuned.


  1. I don't know what it is about bad fighting games, but Toshinden is still fun to me (in short spurts, of course).
    Something about "deadly rays" with a Scottish accent and the cute sounds of Ellis fighting just makes me happy.
    Also, Duke doing a "Southern Cross" off the edge is always amusing.

    I have 2 Dodgeball games for the PS1: All Star Slammin D-ball and XS Junior League Dodgeball. The former requires command based moves (think Mortal Kombat), while the latter is closer to Super Dodgeball. Neither are very good by comparison to its inspiration, but can be fun anyways.

    1. What's weird is that the game seems to be more responsive on my PSP than it was in the PSOne emulator I was using earlier. The PSP isn't the most comfortable system for fighting games, so you could imagine my shock that I could pull off specials more easily with it than I could with my trusty Saturn pad. O_o;

      That Slammin' D-ball was made by slammin' d-BAGS. My characters have tissue paper defense... blocking doesn't seem to do a damn thing unless it's like three frames before you're hit.