Friday, 24 December 2010

Cop Botherer - Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [PS2]

More of my favourite pastime in San Andreas - taking on the cops! The footage in this video has been sped up by 33%, Benny Hill style to improve the pacing and such. Also it's much funnier. Includes the most epic train crash of all time!

MTS Crashes

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Advanced Lawnmower Simulator [ZX Spectrum] by CollieUK - Commentary

I note that Mr. Bigglesworth, or whatever his real name is, has given my good self a brief mention --albeit in text format-- in a recent video of his. To repay the favour, here's a bit of a shoutout to the man in the form of a commentary of my favourite Collie video.

Well mown, sir!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe [BBC4] Television Review: Commission this now, BBC

Last week, BBC4 apparently screened a fifty minute video game special entitled 'Gameswipe' featuring the irritable but inimitable Charlie Brooker. I must admit to quite liking his other show 'Screenwipe', probably less so since he went 'mainstream', but it's an enjoyable half hour nonetheless.

Now, I don't know what was in this latest special, maybe it was just footage of Brooker creaming his pants whilst playing Halo or something - I somehow contrived to miss it, even though it was supposedly repeated throughout the week. I blame my Freeview box, on which I have been unable to get the EPG working for some months now - that's the last time I buy my electrical goods from ASDA.

More likely to have been featured on Gameswipe, though, is a brief look through video gaming history from Pong to whatever the big thing is these days, with a typically cynical and acerbic edge; I expect it to be a non-nerdy narration heavy romp taking the mick out of fanboys and the like. Good stuff then, eh?

At this point, the writer went off and actually watched the thing on iPlayer.

If you think about it, video game fans have been somewhat starved of televisual content recently. Following the technology-obsessed 80s, games went mainstream with the release of the fourth generation (that's the period 1992-1995 for the non-geeks out there) home consoles, and there were always television shows to suit the attitude of the time; we had BBC Micro Live for the techies out there, and stuff like GamesMaster and Games World for the 'kiddie' audience.

Since then, games shows have come and gone quicker than the Virtual Boy, with no really popular ones to speak of in the last ten years or so. Why is it that, even though video games are arguably more popular than ever, there is no mainstream television programme dedicated to the genre?

This is one subject dealt with in Charlie Brooker's Gameswipe, a one-off BBC4 special showing as part of the station's retro electronics season. Said protagonist attributes this puzzling situation to the fact producers have never really nailed down a suitable, functional format for the 21st century. For example, how do you cater for both the mainstream, namely your casual gamer that likes to dust off his Wii once in a while, and the enthusiast, who could tell you how to beat each of the Halo games within an hour?

Barry Shitpeas getting his head blown off by a Nazi

Ironically, in explaining this problem in his typically sardonic, cynical style, Brooker may well have solved it. Should the BBC decide there's enough interest surrounding this 'pilot' episode, they may well commission a whole series at some point in the future.

Personally, I hope they do, as it was refreshing to see a new approach to the good old video game review. Gone are the subtle innuendos of GamesMaster's Dominik Diamond in favour of full-on, no-holds-barred opinion based segments featuring such stars of stage and screen as Dara Ó Briain -- who explains how he'd rather be stuck in real life traffic than a Grand Theft Auto gridlock -- and Graham Linehan, ardent gamer and writer of Father Ted.

But this is nothing like the talking heads shows you could not move for at the turn of the century. For evidence of this, simply look to singer/songwriter/game reviewer (a heady combination if ever there was one) Rebecca Mayes' singing review of MadWorld. It's nothing like I've ever seen before, and I've been trawling YouTube for this stuff for the majority of the past month. Yeah, research can be fun, can't it?

They've somehow managed to squeeze an awful lot in here, but it whizzes by relatively quickly - blink and you'll miss the Atari advertisement starring Morecambe and Wise, or the blatant crowbarring of 'Zero Wing' visuals (all your base are belong to us etc.). Some of the footage in there, particularly the GamesMaster segment, also seems to be sourced from 1990s VHS of dubious quality - but we'll let that one slide as I don't think anyone will notice.

As you might expect with Mr. Brooker's past record, it definitely isn't a show for kids. For so long we've had to put up with series aimed at an adolescent audience with somewhat childish, basic humour (not naming any names here) so it's good to see something geared towards a different type of viewer for a change - besides, I'm sure the 8-15 age range have their own review segments in Live and Kicking or whatever they show on Saturday morning these days.

Dunno about you, but I would buy this game.

The whole thing is blended together with some pleasingly retro titles and transitions. They're adequate for the purpose but in my opinion, they would have been infinitely more impressive had they actually been created on one of the systems whose aesthetic they set out to mimic. But then, that's the ultra geek in me coming to the fore, and this is beyond nitpicking.

I'll admit Charlie Brooker is not everyone's cup of TTX (geek joke alert), but the show's buried away late at night on BBC4 so it's unlikely you're going to watch if you never intended to. Some may well be offended - not least 50 Cent, whose game (there's a game about 50 Cent?!) is largely panned in the show. Unlike persistent offender Jeremy Clarkson, though, Brooker's opinions aren't deliberately convoluted or exaggerated simply to seek attention, but then that's the north-south humour divide for you.

Sample clip: Charlie Brooker reviews Beatles Rockband (Gameswipe, BBC) - don't worry, the profanity has been edited out.

Oh yeah, and Brooker really does know his stuff, which surprised me somewhat. I want to see more! BBC: Commission this now. I compel thee.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The San Andreas Shoveller [Halloween Special] - GTA:SA [PS2]

Halloween is fast approaching, and do you know what that means? Yes, it's time to break out the clichéd classical music and tenuous links to ghosts, zombies and beasts that just generally prowl in the night.

This particular creature patrols the streets of San Andreas all day long, terrorising pedestrians with some random implement he found in his garden shed. What is it? Well, I would say you'd have to watch the video to find out, but the answer's actually in the title. Oh well.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

PGA Tour '96 [Mega Drive, 1995] video review

If ever there were an example of the old adage 'graphics don't make the game', then this must surely be it. Yep, I can think of worse, but making the Mega Drive do the job of a Mega CD was, whilst ambitious, slightly ill guided.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Premier Manager [Mega Drive] video review [YouTube Edit]

Seasoned Yak watchers will know this video is nothing new, in fact it's over a year old. Since I'm playing the game once again and I never actually uploaded this first time round (at that point it was a exclusive), here's a made-for-YouTube version with some of the lengthier points cut out.

Longer version

PGA Tour '96 [Mega Drive, 1995] review

The year was 1995, and everyone was so excited about the 3DO they'd sell their granny to even so much as try one. Amid all this hype, EA Sports attempted to launch PGA Tour 96, with its 'revolutionary' vector graphics, for the ageing Mega Drive.

Whilst this was indeed a bold attempt at pushing the console to its limits, the downsides were all too obvious for anyone who tried to play the game for more than ten minutes. After the initial 'wow, look at those fantastic graphics!' factor, players would soon realise the thing runs about as quickly as Geoff Capes in a fat suit on a rain-sodden Hackney Marshes. Whilst local kids throw wet sponges and rotten fruit at him.

These new graphical enhancements took their toll on the MD's processor to the extent it could take anything from 8 to 20 seconds just for the scenery to appear. The Spyglass Hill course in particular, with its ten million trees and bunkers, takes longer to load than Renegade on the Amstrad CPC464. Which is pretty long, and not half as enjoyable.

Yes, the rendered courses were all very picturesque, and the digitised swings of some of the top pro golfers of the time were no doubt impressive.

The game itself introduced some excellent features such as visible hills and troughs, which really would affect the path of the ball, especially on the green. It's also far easier to hole shots from 100 yards, making for some spectacular moments that almost make the whole thing worth it.

Other tweaks such as difficulty levels were welcome additions, and should have made for longevity of gameplay. Unfortunately, though, the Pro setting requires the timing of a superhuman to even hit the ball straight. It'll be a good few years before you can even think about moving on to that, especially with those epic loading times which even the original old Speccy would be proud of.

That leads us conveniently on to the nub of the problem. Whereas later games such as FIFA 98 knew and paid due attention to the Mega Drive's limits, PGA Tour 96 simply tried to do too much with a console that was nearing the end of its natural life by 1995. Sure, it was around this time the likes of Premier Manager really got the most out of ageing technology with its 32MB battery backup. But this version of PGA Tour was just a step too far for the humble Mega Drive.


Recommended prequels: All of 'em

Get if:
you have a lot of patience and time to spare. This isn't one of those golf games where you can rush through 18 holes in 18 minutes.

Avoid if: you don't like the pace of golf at the best of times. Because this will have you cheesed off pretty quickly.

Game Info

PGA Tour '96 [Mega Drive] - also available for 3DO, DOS , PlayStation and SNES
Buy this game
  • Rarity Rating: [10=extremely rare] 4.
  • Buy at eBay. Price ranges from £1 to £5 not including P&P
  • There are still quite a few copies knocking around, especially on the internet, these days. Depending on where you live, you might also stumble across a boxless version in the odd bargain bin or perhaps at a boot sale.
Video review

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Brian Lara Cricket 96 [Mega Drive] A Calamity of Cricket

This is just a temporary departure from the commentaries I've been doing of late. And yes, you'll be pleased (or perhaps not) to hear that more are on their way, it's just a case of finding time to complete, export and upload them.

Here I have a bit of fun with Lara 96, focusing on some of the funnier moments from the game itself. Nothing too heavy, just a compilation of humorous little quirks and fielding slip-ups edited together in a weekend from a couple of play sessions. Enjoy.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [PS2] Fun With the Tank

The tank is perhaps the most powerful vehicle in the whole of San Andreas. Not only is it impenetrable, but any vehicle that touches it bursts into flames! What fun.

This video outlines how to obtain the tank from Area 69 before using it to cause mentalism in the city of San Andreas. It's useful for completing the Vigilante missions, but best of all it's good for blowing stuff up. Oh yeah.

Brian Lara Cricket [PSX] Weirdness - Commentary

Some time ago I uploaded a bunch of Brian Lara Cricket videos with one of my other accounts. Two of these are revisited in this commentary which takes a 'humorous' look at some of the stranger moments in the game. See it as the video I *should* have uploaded, if you will.

The two vids in question:
The quality isn't too great because somewhere along the line I lost the source files, which means the footage you see here is grabbed from - yep, you guessed it - the very YouTube videos I uploaded way back at the beginning of 2007.

Rehashed, yes, but console yourselves in the fact I have one or two 'new' vids to come in the near future.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Sultan's Maze [Amstrad CPC] - Bog Standard Reviews

This is another of those older reviews I recently salvaged from my dying computer (which I have since managed to save, yeah!). The audio noise (including police siren bleeping) has been removed but, due to the slow nature of the game, it gets a bit annoying in parts. That's Sultan's Maze for you.

Also to point out this game is pretty rank despite the fact this vid's commentary sometimes borders on praise. Let it be known that this game fully deserves the mantle of Bog Standard.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

ISS64 Does World Cup 2010 - South Africa v Mexico

It's the contest you've all been waiting for! With the World Cup finally underway, Retro Yakking introduces a special video that pits the hosts South Africa against Mexico in a rerun of the first match of the 2010 competition.

Not really a review, more a commentary on the game, though there are a few bits of critical analysis in there.

More of the same to come, perhaps.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

International Superstar Soccer 64 [N64] detailed team guide

I've revisited the main ISS64 strategy guide over the weekend, fixing one or two things and adding some brand new pics.

It was always a plan to include a more detailed list of teams and their statistics, but as you can see that post is getting quite long now. You can view this entry as an addendum to the 'teams' section, with a few more pointers and concrete stats on the best and worst teams in the game.

Team stats
Team                        Of   Df   Tot
World Stars 99 99 99
All American Stars 98 95 97
Brazil 98 94 96
Euro Stars B 95 94 95
Euro Stars A 92 96 94
Germany 91 95 93
Italy 87 98 93
England 90 89 90
France 85 89 87
Holland 92 80 86
Argentina 89 83 86
African Stars 80 81 86
Czech Republic 85 84 85
Russia 83 84 84
Bulgaria 91 77 84
Nigeria 90 78 84
Colombia 88 80 84
Spain 81 84 83
Romania 84 79 82
Mexico 81 82 82
Uruguay 84 80 82
Scotland 78 83 81
Switzerland 80 79 80
Portugal 81 79 80
Croatia 89 71 80
South Africa 80 77 79
Norway 78 75 77
Denmark 79 78 77
Sweden 82 72 77
Ireland 75 79 77
Asian Stars 75 78 77
U.S.A 71 81 76
Wales 73 72 73
Northern Ireland 71 75 73
Poland 73 70 72
Belgium 73 69 71
Austria 67 74 71
Greece 61 77 69
Cameroon 75 63 69
Japan 61 71 66
Turkey 69 61 65
Republic of Korea 63 59 61

World Stars are, somewhat predictably, the best team in the game, bringing together the skill of the South American giants and power of the European sides.

Of the 'proper' teams, Brazil are the best, outranking even the Euro Stars teams in terms of total skill. Their star striker, Allejo, is by far the game's highest ranking attacker with a total score of 86 and a shot accuracy of 99.

Germany and Italy represent the best of the European challenge, the latter possessing the best defensive ability in the game. Their frontline is also not to be sniffed at, with each of their three strikers rating 80 or above.

England have improved significantly from their previous outing in ISS Deluxe, promoted to the fourth best team (and the cross of St. George is now centred like it should be). T. Keegan (FW, rates 80), J. Platt (MF, 77) and F. Morley (MF/FW, 76) are the guys to look out for here.

Holland have a superb attack, with some quality centre midfield/forward players and an excellent goalkeeper. Koppers (MF/FW, 80) and Visscher (MF/FW, 81) are the star guys.

Bulgaria are also a surprisingly good attacking team, with Penev (MF/FW, 78) Milakov (MF/FW, 75) rating highest.

South Korea are the game's worst team, with a decidedly average defence (a mere 59) and poor stamina levels. Each of their players look rather similar, indicating the programmers didn't even bother creating individual faces. Maybe they thought nobody would ever pick them? Only Kim (69), in the centre of midfield, possesses any real skill.

Come to think of it, none of the Asian teams are very well represented, indicated by the quite frankly rubbish Asian Stars. Still, at least they're better than Wales, only just.

Speaking of Wales, they have a fantastic attacker in the form of Melville, who I guess is supposed to represent Ryan Giggs. He's let down only by his stamina, down at a respectable 79, but he's otherwise a great player. Left midfielder J. Walker is also worth looking out for.

Scotland represent the batch of modest, fairly-good-but-not-exceptional teams in the game, with each of their players in the 60s. Goalie G. McCall and attacker McLaren (both 68) are their star men. Northern Ireland don't really have anything to shout about, but their midfield playmaker, Mahoney, has some skill at 65. Republic of Ireland fare slightly better, though they are still outperformed by Scotland, who were something of a force in the mid-90s.

Of the African teams, Nigeria are certainly the best, possessing a good, all-round team and a potent attacking lineup. South Africa far outrank Cameroon, with a few 67s in there to save themselves from mediocrity.

Argentina aren't as good as you might expect in ISS64. Heck, even England are better, somehow! They're still a decent side, though, with their fair share of excellent attackers - Fuerte (81), Hajo (76) and Redonda (79). A force to be reckoned with, indeed.

Fellow South Americans Uruguay are not to be dismissed, either, as they have an attack averaging 73 and some solid central defenders. Colombia are fairly similar, but have the phlegmatic centre-mid playmaker Murillo to boast in addition. Overall, the American sides are extremely well represented, as you might expect from their real life counterparts.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

FIFA '98: Road to the World Cup [Mega Drive] video review

Edited together on a Bank Holiday afternoon off. Yay for not having anything to do!

I always intended this as a one-day project done in a few hours with no revisions or re-recordings. As a result, there are tons of little inaccuracies in here, like the fact FIFA didn't appear on the Dreamcast, or ISS Deluxe was released just one year before this game. I don't believe AEK Athens are in the game either. Couldn't be bothered going back to fix them though, and anyway, grant me a bit of artistic license, eh?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Xanagrams [Amstrad CPC] video review

This is, in actual fact, my very first attempt at a video game review from way back in September 2008 (which explains the dated copyright screen). Up until a couple of days ago, it lay untouched complete with horrible audio quality on my old computer. Now, thanks to the wonders of audio cleaning technology, I present to you a hissless version of my cacky Xanagrams review. Oh lucky you!

I also note this is the first ever Xanagrams YouTube video. A landmark, if only in my own mind.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Harrier Attack [Amstrad CPC] Bog Standard Review

At last! The Harrier Attack beeping review the way it was meant to be... kind of. Thanks to advances in compootah technology, Retro Yakking is proud to present to you an audio cleaned, high quality version of one of its first reviews. Minted, I'm sure you'll agree.

This video re-edits the original capture to sync up the audio a bit better, remove the intrusive beeping and bump up the contrast so you can actually see what's going on. Which is what you've all been waiting for, I'm sure.

Sadly there were one or two things I could not fix, but then the aforementioned technology has not yet extended to plagiarism or boringness filters, sadly. Oh yeah, and you can just about hear the faint remnants of the bleeping in parts. Do not worry, this is normal.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Roland on the Ropes [Amstrad CPC] The LP

Mwahah! Time for something a little bit different, methinks. This Let's Play / Longplay video was recorded on the same afternoon as the Fruit Machine guerilla review and hence uses the same method of 'pointing the camera at the screen and talking over it like a wally'. Fun eh?

Apologies for the substandard audio and video quality here, but I guess that's the nature of the medium. After all, considering the state of my computer it's actually physically difficult to record this kind of thing any other way, unless you like putting up with audio skips and such like. Which I suppose you don't.

Nonetheless, I hope for a higher quality product to be winging its way to you for our next video instalment. As for what that might be, who knows? I haven't actually been doing much recording or even playing games recently, but I will say a project is in the offing. As usual, I won't promise too much in case something goes badly wrong, but I will say I'm working on something that's a bit of a change from the usual.

Ooh, what is it? You'll have to wait and see. Meantime, here's Row-laaahnd.

Part one

Part two

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Fruit Machine [Amstrad CPC] guerrilla review

The previous guerrilla review was so unsuccessful I decided to bring it back for another instalment. This time round, it's Fruit Machine, one of those simple games that came packaged with the Amstrad CPC back in the mid-1980s.

It isn't overly repulsive and functions well for a small slot machine simulation. Obviously it's a bit limited and might have been better had there been some way of storing high scores, though I dunno if one ever existed for this format.

Please enjoy me dragging out a four-minute review to a ten minute longplay of a single game session. Oh well, at least this one's in colour.

Once again Collie, I apologise for blatantly ripping you off.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Roland on the Ropes [Amstrad CPC] video review

You don't know the sheer effort it took to make this vid, simply because it was created on my old (beeping) computer and it took me ages to find some way of getting it onto my new one. In short, the project file has been nothing but trouble, a long story I will not bore you with.

Anyway, this is an older review from 2008, which I re-recorded audio for just this week, actually. It's heavily based on a short written review I composed right here on the Retro Yakking blog some time ago.

I have more of this old stuff ready, so that may be on the way. But I warn you, most of it isn't pretty.

Download this video: FLV

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Premier Manager [Mega Drive] video review

Don't expect too much with this one: whereas the Premier Manager '97 commentary contained some comic relief, this is more of a serious analysis of the game... after all, it's quite difficult to find funny things to say about management games such as these.

It's actually the first vid I made with my newer Mega Drive system, which, as you might be able to tell, has a clearer picture. The Super Hang on Review, though posted first, was edited afterwards chronologically. Yeah, you didn't really need to know that.

For a written review of this game, see this post.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [PS2]: Unseen Highway Carnage [video]

A little treat for the Playstation fans out there, as a bit of a celebration of 10,000 video views -- I hear it's the in-thing to do on YouTube these days -- here's some bits that never made it into the GTA:San Andreas 2-part commentary.

Why? Well, they either didn't fit in with the narrative of the vids or were chopped out to try and keep the video lengths down. Yeah, I'm aware people have short attention spans, if my own is anything to go by.

Get ready for some more explosions and pointless drivel!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [PS2] - Carnage & commentary/review [Recut]

I've been taking an axe to some archive files over the weekend and resolved to get the Blip channel up-to-date, so that's exactly what I've been doing.

Here's a ten-minute cut of the San Andreas vid. What's in this version can be considered more of a review, with actual commentary on gameplay and fun things to do in the game... namely blowing stuff up.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Super Hang On [Mega Drive] video review

Recorded when I had time to load up my Mega Drive again, but evidently not enough to play through the game. Thank goodness for cheating, or should I say the Internet, from which I pinched a simple final level code. Yup, I lost the little bit of paper I wrote passwords on - you know, the one you always put in the box with the manual.

From the second half of last year -- couldn't tell you when exactly, but it explains the '2009' note at the end of the video for you.

Commentary is a bit cardboard, so forgive me for that. In fact, don't: call me a rip-off hack with no skills or talent whatsoever.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Metal Gear Solid - Dumbarse Guards [PSX]

The Genome Soldiers in Metal Gear Solid must win the award for least intelligent video game characters, at least on the Playstation. This was brought to my attention recently when I began to play the game again for the first time in five years.

Now, I don't profess to be any good at it, quite the contrary, in fact: even with my rusty marksmanship and weak muscle memory I still managed to outwit the guards on more than one occasion. Mind you, I WAS using stealth camouflage most of the time.

I originally had a commentary lined up for this but decided not to include it and the let the cinematic and atmospheric nature of the game speak for itself.
  • Gameplay is on the easy level to accentuate the stupidity of the guards.
  • Recorded from a PS1 onto VHS, ripped to DVD then edited using computer software. Exported in AVI.

Commentary for this vid may appear on my blip account at some point in the future.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Five full-on minutes of NBA Jam dunkage [Mega Drive]

This compilation vid was actually created around the time I did the written review of NBA Jam, but due to its poor quality never saw the light of day. Scraping through some of the files on my old computer I got some enjoyment out of it, so decided to resurrect it in all its artefacted glory!

Letterboxed and re-audioed from the original, though the original titles remain the same.