Friday Flashback Five: Week of June 04, 2006

Today is Friday, and aside from meaning that you might imbibe enough liquid fun to make the next two days a blur, it also means that it’s time for another Friday Flashback Five.  Every week, we take a look at five random games that came out this week in history.  Sometimes they had a lasting effect on gamers, sometimes they were forgotten nearly instantly, and sometimes they exist in that grey middle area.  This week, we’re heading into the not-too-distant past as we look at the week of June Fourth, back in ‘Oh-Six.

Quite a few games came out this week, though, humorously enough, a large amount of them were based on the Disney’s Cars license.  It’s somewhat unusual for the same title to come out on so many systems in the same week.  That aside, some of the other titles were memorable in their own right, and, of course, a few were forgettable, as is usually true.

Now, the expected disclaimer: This is just collection of five games from this week in gaming history, without being a “top” or “bottom” list.  We just look back a the games themselves.

With that out of the way, let’s rock.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Double Pack
Most of us of have fond memories of the four butt-kicking amphibians, whether from the comic book, the original cartoon series, or even the original three live-action movies.  They’ve also had quite a few games over the years, and most of us have played at least one or two of them.

This Game Boy Advance entry combined the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game and its sequel, Battle Nexus.  They really weren’t terrible titles for the system, and really they were actually surprisingly robust.  There were plenty of mini-games interspersing the “main” levels (though they were in the first one more; this was balanced by the second title having a few more extras, like different game “modes” to play through).  All in all, the double-pack was actually well worth the money, and it’s almost a shame the games aren’t too well-remembered.

AND 1 Streetball
Unless you got suckered into buying this game at a used game store or got it as a gift from someone who hasn’t a clue about video games but “it has the running and the jumping and the—and the—the things they like, right?”, you probably haven’t even heard of this game, and there’s a very good reason for that.

Simply put, it was terrible.

It was a tie-in game to shoes.  Specifically, the AND 1 brand, a brand that unless you’re really into basketball and/or sneakers beyond “whatever fits and will last a while” you’ve probably not heard of.  The game was—shoddy, all the way around.  Obscene product placement from pretty much every type of business you could think of, horrible controls, a completely false and forced sense of being “in yo’ face, man!”—really, this wasn’t a game to play unless one was playing with their friends Jim Beam or Jack Daniels.  Perhaps not even then.

In fairness, however, it must be said that it looked decent.

M.L.B. Slugfest 2006
We go from a shoddy basketball game to merely a mediocre baseball game.  It wasn’t really a terrible game as much as one that wasn’t really going to be played over and over again.  It didn’t help that like the popular Madden franchise this really wasn’t much different than its predecessor.

It also wasn’t one for fans of baseball or people who might be curious about the sport. The mechanics were really simplistic, but that helped people get into the game, too.  That said, there were things expected from that series—pitchers literally on fire as they threw balls, say, and other “wacky high jinks”.  It was a budget title, and one likely best played with a friend.  Again, it wasn’t the worst title around, but it really wasn’t the best, either.

This one was pretty much what some people thought the Nintendo D.S. was best at—puzzle games using the touch screen.  Though based on an earlier arcade game called Puzz Loop, Magnetica was more streamlined, taking more advantage of the control offered by the touch screen interface.  You basically flung marbles around to create chains, like most other match-’em-up puzzle games you’ve ever heard of.

That said, it was also a rather simplistic title, and aside from the normal game play there was a “puzzle mode” where you had a limited number of marbles and specific arrangements to get to, then you had a “quest” mode which was basically a series of “boards”, each more difficult than the last.  Naturally, you had your WiFi sharing et al.  There really just wasn’t much to the game, and though otherwise not terrible, it eas destined to be forgotten save by a few.

Gods: Lands of Infinity
Lastly we have GODS: Lands of Infinity.  This—was just odd.  It was an R.P.G.ish first-person-shooter with a female protagonist, and the oddity starts right with her.  She was given the voice and likeness of a Penthouse (no, I’m not linking, heh) centerfold—but was, shockingly, one of the more fully-clothed characters perhaps in the history of R.P.G.s save for priestesses.  There really weren’t any stripperiffic outfits.  I mean, these Elven-ish outfits are really about as bad as it got.  Shocking, isn’t it?

It started out with such a strong premise—and, sadly, a female character who doesn’t have to pull her Tiny Thong of Armor Plus Twelve out of her tuchus is a strong premise—and it just goes downhill.  The controls were wonky, the world set-up was odd (the world was basically a set of closed “instances“, and you went from one to another via a travel point, where you select a destination and, well, travel to it), the economy was your basic, bland “buy low here, run all over creation to sell high there” sort of thing, and—well, let’s just say it got worse from there.

On the other hand, the story was downright interesting. The short version is you play a woman bound and determined to stop the war between the gods (granted, she has the downright trite “amnesia” trait that’s far too common in video games, but I digress) and prevent apocalypse.  Interesting indeed—but the missions didn’t really revolve around them.  They were mostly your basic “hand this to the person in the next village,” “escort this person from here to there and don’t let them die,” and “fetch me twenty bear butts” sorts of things.

On the third hand, developer Cypron Studios is based in the Slovak Republic.  That’s not exactly a video game designer Mecca or anything, so I think a lot of slack can be given for GODS.  It was actually a great attempt at mixing genres, and that they didn’t have a stripper as a protagonist is something to be commended—but there just wasn’t much innovation.  The comparatively poor graphics (go look back at the linked images, then remember this game came out only five years ago) could be overlooked—graphics aren’t everything.  But the innovation wasn’t there.  The story could have been incredibly interesting—but it wasn’t implemented well.

Sadly, while this is one of the games that was forgotten, perhaps it didn’t deserve to be because of what it represented, even if it did deserve it for what it offered.


One Response to “Friday Flashback Five: Week of June 04, 2006”

  1. […] Friday Flashback Five: Week of June 04, 2006 « Retro-Ish Gaming Critic Today is Friday, and aside from meaning that you might imbibe enough liquid fun to make the next two days a blur, it also means that it's time for another Friday Flashback Five. That's not exactly a video game designer Mecca or anything, so I think a lot of slack can be given for GODS. It was actually a great attempt at mixing genres, and that they didn't have a stripper as a protagonist is something to be commended—but there just wasn't much […]

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