XBOX Live Arcade Surprises

Posted by under *mixed, Video Games |

When I wasn’t at a Phillies game this weekend, I spent some time rediscovering the XBOX Live Arcade. I had seen some chatter about Earthworm Jim being available and I just had to check it out. I soon found myself on a detour from actually purchasing Earthworm Jim, instead downloading 5 game demos. Most of the games are older titles from other systems, so I’m hopeful that I’ll see more titles like this in the future. One is something entirely new that just about blew my mind.

Earthworm Jim
released 6/9/2010 – 800 points

This was a great title for the Sega Genesis that I really enjoyed. They even published a comic book about it that I remember reading years ago. The game plays exactly as I remember, although I struggled to get anywhere in the demo. That’s not to say it isn’t fun to play, I’m just not very good at it. The really great thing about the game is that it’s been modified to play full screen on your HDTV. I’m sure I’ll pay to unlock the game eventually, but for now I’m holding off.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade
released 3/14/2007 – 400 points

I loved this Konami arcade game mostly because the machine accommodated up to four players as each of the principle characters. I believe it was the precursor to The Simpsons and X-Men games of the same style (although the X-Men was far superior since there were machines with six player positions, and it’s X-Men). It’s a simple 2D side-scrolling game that doesn’t hold up too well after all these years. The graphics have not been updated for a modern console, and the gameplay window is only a fraction of the screen. It’s less points than Earthworm Jim, but I couldn’t justify paying after playing the demo. Should the X-Men game become available, I’ll pay double!

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
released 3/21/2007 – 800 points

This was a PlayStation title that I really enjoyed. In fact, I’ve enjoyed nearly the entire Castlevania series (the 3D one for N64 didn’t really click for me). It looks just like I remember, but again the gameplay is only an inset of my screen. The game is another side scroller like many others in the series, and I remember there being a lot of upgrades to find throughout. I didn’t spend a lot of time on the demo and I’m not sure it’s something I’ll spend the points on. Although, the soundtrack for this game was excellent for its time, so maybe my memories will eventually sway me.

Portal: Still Alive
released 10/22/2008 – 1200 points

I didn’t know what Portal was, but I was committed to downloading and trying it since it was free from the game designer a few weeks back, and you can’t beat free. I wasn’t able to get the free download working since the Mac OS required a lot of additional software that my laptop couldn’t handle, but the free demo being available made that problem go away. Portal is a puzzle game that involves escaping some sort of facility by creating teleportation gaps in order to find an exit. It was certainly interesting, but I keep feeling like I was just going through training levels even after completing 12 maps (which I was honestly surprised to see in a demo). Angie asked that I never play this game again since the facility you’re trapped in has a voiceover guiding you that reminded her of Resident Evil. Plus she said it looked dumb. Needless to say, I didn’t spend any points here, but I may revisit the game.

Snoopy Flying Ace
released 6/2/2010 – 800 points

This game took me completely by surprise in so many ways. It may even deserve its own post once I’ve spent some more time with it. Snoopy Flying Ace is an original game developed for the XBOX Live Arcade that lets you take control of Snoopy in a World War I flight simulator. This was just released earlier in the month and I had no idea it existed. After trying the demo, I knew this was something I had to spend some money on. It’s wild. The controls are very straightforward and that’s good for me since most flight simulators result in nothing but crashes. This is a fun game that I never would have seen coming out of the Peanuts license even though some aspects of it make so much sense. Aerial dog-fighting with the original dog fighter pilot is awesome! Still, it’s a little disconcerting to see “Colonel” Lucy Van Pelt in full Axis regalia.

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