Thursday, April 30, 2020

"Sega Ages: G-LOC Air Battle" Review

One of the best aspects about the "Sega Ages" series is the way it not only sheds a new spotlight on the established classics, but also occasionally veers into more obscure realms. The publisher acts as a careful creator, introducing new audiences to some of the building blocks on which gaming was constructed.

"G-LOC Air Battle" is yet another welcome resurrection that follows the trend, delivering a pixel-perfect yet subtly enhanced version of a game even the hardcore may not have ever heard of and almost certainly haven't played.

Released in 1990, the dogfighting sim paved the way for the likes of "Ace Combat" that would later follow. As you weave your way through bogeys in pursuit of bogeys, you feel a steady sense of speed and power.

The controls may be a bit janky, but that lends to the authenticity and sense of danger. You feel as though you're at the helm of a rickety aircraft that prizes speed and stealth attack ability over sensibility and safety, and the threat that you will plow into a rock wall or enemy combatant at any point is threateningly present.

While there are more than a few rough edges, and the difficulty level is trying even on the easiest setting, there is plenty to appreciate in the finer and subtler points that the game has to offer. It may not soar quite as high as it did 30 years ago, but does a heck of an effective job as a time machine.

Publisher provided review code.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Book Report: "Remembrance of Things Past"

Remembrance of Things Past: Volume I - Swann's Way & Within a Budding GroveRemembrance of Things Past: Volume I - Swann's Way & Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marcel Proust is not the most accessible of the great writers, but he makes up for his distant aloofness with a raw, relatable passion that seeps through his obtuse prose.

"Remembrance of Things Past" is known as one of his most personal projects, delving into themes such as memory, character formation and love gained and lost. Above all hangs a shroud of punishing and festering regret.

It's rarely easy or intuitive to navigate through the gauntlet of psychological barriers that he conjures, but rewards await if you keep your head down and keep things moving. There are moments of deep thought and compelling beauty. There are also times that you need to just stop in order to ruminate, or simply survive to proceed another day.

In the Audible version, narrator John Rowe spins the tale with the appropriate whimsy and aching sense of nostalgia.

Reading often with the intimacy of a hidden diary, "Remembrance of Things Past" is a hard look at a hard life. It's worth your time, but it exacts its price on you.

Publisher provided review access.

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Thursday, April 02, 2020

"HyperParasite" Review

"HyperParasite" lives up to the "hyper" portion of its name.

The twin-stick, top-down shooter has you rampage between rooms, possessing passers-by and assuming their abilities to take down enemies, open passageways and maneuver through foreboding terrain.

As a bitter alien life form who seeks to upend humanity, you work your way from street lowlifes, all the way up to the upper echelons of government hierarchy.

The endgame is nothing short of sparking the apocalypse.

"HyperParasite" makes being evil and destructive feel oh-so-good.

Developer Troglobytes Games delivers an energetic, lightning-paced romp that never lets up on its momentum.

There's often so much going on in each single-screen zone that it's tough to keep tabs on what's happening, but the chaotic feel only adds to the pulsing energy of the affair.

While many of the challenges presented by "HyperParasite" can be dispatched with the same formula, there's enough fun and inventiveness in the routine to keep it feeling fresh more often than not. "HyperParasite" counts on its appeal thriving as things get out of control.

Publisher provided review code.