Forgotten Gems: Hyperblade


     Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Forgotten Gems, a look at games that have been lost in the ether of time that maybe deserve a second look and a possible reboot as according to me, Sean Strife.  On the first edition of Forgotten Gems for Game Rumors, I will be looking at a little known game from a huge name publisher that blended the speed of hockey, the play-style of lacrosse, the violence of Mortal Kombat, and the trick-stylings of another game from the publisher’s line-up of franchises: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.  We will be looking at the futuristic cyberpunk sports game: HyperBlade!

The Basics

     HyperBlade was released by developer Wizbang! Software Productions and publisher Activision in 1996 for PC.  Yes, the same Activision that is shoving the likes of Call of Duty and Skylanders used to give us interesting and imaginative IP like HyperBlade. There were scheduled versions for the Sega Saturn and the Sony Playstation that were both ultimately cancelled, however.  In HyperBlade, you got to pick from 1 of 12 teams and played in an elliptical dome that was simply known as “the Drome”.  You managed your selected team in a sport that allowed things such as steroids, extreme brutality, bionic appendages, anything as long as it kept the games fast-paced and exciting.

     Each team consisted of 5 players: 2 out on the field (whom you got to control), 2 in reserve, and a goalie that you didn’t get to control.  Along with this, there were several obstacles that you could take advantage of, such as a mine you could place to obliterate your opponents, a turnstile that you can cause to spin and do some major harm to other players, a laser hurdle that players should avoid at all costs, and killball charger, which charges the rok (what HyperBlade called its ball) into a killball that you could throw at somebody and deliver a high voltage shock to them.  On top of these tactics, you could also use your jak (your hockey/lacrosse stick) to severely maim or decapitate other players.  Games are set up into 3 rounds that can last either 3, 5, or 7 minutes (depending on how you set your rounds up prior to the game starting) and whoever has the most points wins… even if the team who wins has been completely annihilated.  This game also gave out awards for special achievements in a game, such as the Supernova (if your team can rack up 30 points in a game), the Anvil (if you take out an entire team for a season), and the Archer (if every shot that you make winds up being a goal), among others.  Basically, if you’ve ever seen the movie Rollerball (either the original from 1975 or the mediocre remake from 2002), you have a rough idea of what HyperBlade is about.


The Reboot
     A potential reboot of HyperBlade at the hands of Activision actually wouldn’t be too hard to pull off.  You keep up the futuristic aesthetic of the original game, maybe bring nanotechnology into play for it given how many advancements have been made in the scientific field not only in the realm of medicine, but also biomechanics and nanotechnology.  You could even take some of the principles they’re laying out in these more futuristic Call of Duty games and apply them into the world of HyperBlade and use it almost as a commentary for just how dangerous enhancement drugs can be and maybe even go in a very Deus Ex-esque direction on touching on the philosophies of how human can one be if they are almost entirely cybernetic.

     In story mode, you could play as a rookie to the big leagues who’s working towards rising the ranks and you can choose between taking steroids, getting cybernetic enhancements, and so on and so forth and your choices affect your character’s personality and play style throughout the game.  It would certainly be a unique take on sports games, that’s for sure.  You could also do a single player mode where you can customize the characters on your team and outfit them with various performance-enhancing drugs, robotic enhancements, and nanotechnological enhancements (which would function as a stronger, more durable version of the robotic enhancements) before taking them into the Drome, and you can take your customized team onto multiplayer and play against other players online or even potentially offline with friends (if one were so inclined).  When in play, you can gain an in-game currency for successful kills, tricks pulled off during play (which was a thing in the original, albeit in a very basic manner), and overall wins that will allow you to unlock new color options, new armor types, new performance-enhancing drugs, and the aforementioned biomechanical and nanotechnological enhancements to make a team of the ultimate badasses.

The Reality

     Despite how much I would really love to see a HyperBlade reboot, and the fact that the company who published it (and more than likely holds the copyright for it) is still very much alive and well, I can’t see Activision experimenting with a genre-blending experiment like I’m proposing for HyperBlade: as long as they can still make money milking things like Skylanders and Call of Duty (although sales for Call of Duty HAVE been waning over the past few years), they’re going to continue to play it safe and go with what they know will make money.  Even if they were to experiment with a 3rd person action/sports hybrid like I’m proposing, I get this distinct feeling that they would shoehorn microtransactions in to make it easy to get the in-game currency to beef up teams without having to actually play the game and earn said in-game currency and it would ultimately lead to an unbalanced experience because some people are too impatient to play through the game and earn the currency the hard way by actually playing the game.

Kero Blaster: Who you gonna call? The Cleanup Frog!

   

   Kero Blaster is an indie title that I recently played and beat in normal mode that I thoroughly enjoyed. The indie game was developed by the same company who made Cave Story+ on steam, so it comes from a pretty good background.

The basic idea of the game is pretty simple in a way, you play as a frog in a side-scrolling  game shooting guns, defeating monsters, and bosses in a few different levels. However there is a lot more in the game as well when it comes to power-ups and more that you can purchase, both gun upgrades and life upgrades. Each time you ‘game over’ you end up in the hospital where you have a chance to buy from the medical store, or if you encounter the store in a level you can shop from both the medical and weaponry ones.  The weapon upgrades are your typical ones, though the max upgrades are very powerful where as if you focus on one early in the game you can most likely make it through the game pretty quickly.  The medical ones are a bit of the usual, though there is one that I find fascinating. The game’s life system runs on a  heart-based hitpoint, plus the usual lives as well. You can add how many lives you have of course, but also you can get a one time use jar that when you run out of hearts on that life it will give you a certain amount of hearts back. It actually reminds me a lot of the ‘guardian angel’ that you can get in League of Legends, where you don’t get all of your life back but you get enough to last  you to make it past the obstacle usually.

Some may say there are ‘only’ 7  levels in the game, however  these aren’t short levels. Many of them have mini-bosses for you to kill, though luckily after you kill them once they don’t reappear, making it a bit easier to get through the level. The length of the last level is one to drive you crazy though, at least it did for me. It took me a very long time to get through it because of how far back it throws you if you get a gameover in the last level.  For many of the levels and areas you can use any of the guns, but certain obstacles require certain ones. For example you have to use the fire gun to kill most of the ice enemies and to destroy the iceblocks. So as you can pick a favorite gun sometimes you will have to switch, luckily you can switch anytime with a push of a button.

I don’t want to reveal too much about the game though, because I highly recommend you guys try it . I had a lot of fun in the game and beat it during my stream,  and when that happened it unlocked a hard mode which I did not check out. The game features replay ability just because of how the difficulty system is. Also the graphics are simple ones, but I enjoy them, they remind me of older 8  bit games.  There are some frustrating areas but nothing game breaking, and nothing that stopped me from playing the game. So to sum it all up, this game is a great buy especially with the controller support! So check it out on steam for 9.99!

Champions of Breakfast

champions of breakfast

 (Image from their facebook, click the image to go to it)

  Do you like bullet hells? Well Champions of Breakfast is a game that will definitely deliver! I received an early copy to try out the game on stream, it only had a couple of the characters available even so I was entertained for a few hours. The game has an arcadey feel where you start at the beginning each time you die, and you get powerups throughout it. I’m pretty sure if I was playing this on a machine I’d be broke by now out of addiction to the game.

championsofbreakfast whisk fight

In this game you actually fight as different cooking items, for example what is unlocked right now is a toaster and a whisk, and you have to fight against other household objects. You start in the bathroom fighting against  razors, toilet brushes, hair dryers, hairbrushes, a mini boss of a hair straightener, and a boss of a bathtub.  The whole idea follows the usual idea of bullet hells where you have to constantly be dodging and kill  everything on the screen to get to the next one, while you can randomly get different passive items as you kill things. All of the passive items are food items, some give you health such as the butter slab returns a health while butter-sticks raise your max health, and then there are different items that will up your damage in some way.  As you get through each level you’ll run into a mini boss half way through, and when you beat it you will receive a special power. Most of the special powers fire off a powerful attack, and are usable roughly every 10 seconds  which is really nice when you are fighting off what seems like a million items.

championsofbreakfast precise moving

The controls in this game are simple, you use either WASD or the arrow keys to move around and then left click to fire. You can of course hold down the left click for constant firing. Also, in the original version I got you can hold down space bar to slow down when you need to make precise movements. However because of the issues with my space bar it was switched to shift for me, so I imagine when the game comes out it will be changeable to whatever key you need. Also once you get the special power you will be able to use it with right click, and when it refills you will hear a ding so you don’t have to keep an eye on it and just focus on the game. According to the person I was working with to get this version of the game there will be controller support as well, which I definitely can’t wait for I always tend to use controllers better then keyboard and mouse.

Champions of Breakfast is an amazing game that is very addictive, and I highly recommend getting it when it does come out on Early Access on steam. For now though if you want information on the game or the developers, their links are below:

Twitter: @PirateSoftware_

Tumbler: gopiratesoftware.tumblr.com

Website: gopiratesoftware.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gopiratesoftware/?fref=ts

If you want to watch gameplay of it I streamed it last night, and will be streaming it more often so make sure to check that out for now its saved in past broadcasts!

High Strangeness, Indie RPG

Not too long ago I tried out an indie RPG game that was given to me called High Strangeness. The game luckily has controller support, though it was only partial which made it a bit awkward at times causing me to hit the wrong buttons often since it was registered as an xbox controller.  Even so the controls were pretty good, the rest of the game was a bit of good and bad.
highstrangeness moving    The basic premise of the game is that you are a guy, Boyd, who is moving and has to chase down his cat,Abydos, when it runs away. However when you do find your cat you end up being taken to an alternate world where everything looks ‘odd’ to you, which I will explain in a moment. In this place you are made to find a few items for a sick man, and then you are told about things called Crystal Skulls. It turns out that the Crystal Skulls are filled with extreme power and you have to find them in order to save all of the universes. The storyline is relatively simple and pretty easy to see through at times figuring out the basic ending, however the dialogue is set up pretty well. You have your cat, who can actually talk, and your old boss at the cd store who were both sent to  watch over you in your world. The cat tends to be rather rude at times, which just seems to match the way cats act usually. They can be all lovey dovey but at times they are just like ‘ugh you’, which Abydos matches perfectly with his dialogue. His boss,  Anna, in the beginning is just his friend however when he is taken away she  acts a bit jealous and unsure of him it seems. The twists and turns in the personality of the characters is rather interesting, often it can be pretty humorous at times as well.

highstrangeness transition

     The characters are interesting ones, however there is quite a bit to cover over the gameplay. As I mentioned before the controller support isn’t the best, which makes choosing your weapons and such a bit awkward because the actual selection button is not the one you would think it was. Personally I would think when you select your weapon you would use the button that you use to use that weapon, however you use the main weapon button instead the other button just exits out of the menu. Beyond that though the game is a bit actiony and puzzle based however most of the puzzles once you figure it out the first time it becomes very easy to solve the puzzles later on. The fact that they basically reuse the premise of some of the makes a few of the puzzles very annoying because they are long, using one of the most interesting features I’ve seen.  One of the main features in the game is the ability to switch perspectives in the game, from 16 bit down to 8 bit and back. As  I mentioned before things looked ‘odd’ and that is because when you get to that world you see everything as 8 bit. The transition  feature is interesting and makes for some nice puzzles, however the ones where you just have to switch to see a very long path is annoying because you can not switch back until you are through. I love this feature in the game however  there are issues I have with it, sometimes when it switches over the bright colors hurt my eyes quite a bit. For example towards the end of the game there is a nice area that is full of blues, however when you switch to 8bit it hurt my eyes terribly and I had to get through it quickly.

 

All in all this game was pretty good , even if it was a short one to play. It is one that in my opinion is worth the 5 dollars, there are some twists and turns in the game and interesting changes in gameplay throughout it. From action to stealth this has quite a bit of decent gameplay available for you to try.  I highly recommend trying it out, click here to check it out on steam.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

PVE on a PVP Server, Rare But Doable

pvp realms

  We all  have times where we just don’t want to fight people on a mmo server, times where we aren’t interested in PVP at all. For me that period of time is all the time, I’m not a fan of PVP on any of the mmo’s I’ve played on so far.  Even though I do my best to avoid PVP I do have higher level people gank me often.

   I do have to wonder though when people that are a higher level than me decide to come kill me if they actually get any joy out of it, I usually  just stand there and let them do it knowing I didn’t have a chance plus I don’t  want to fight them to begin with.  When people  go and kill people lower them then and then stalk them what  do they really get out of it? Do they think it makes them superior in someway that an attack they have can one shot a person 50 some levels below them?   I also have to wonder if this started because it happened to them, so they get “revenge” by doing it to other people.  Perhaps it’s just  that they like killing or even just making things hard for someone else in the process. Though I truly think at least part of it is the revenge system, I have come out of a dungeon before and saw an Alliance member AFK at the entrance and two Horde people killing him. I commented about how that was a low thing to do,  then they just said it was fair because ‘his buddy’ had done it to them.   To me it’s still a  low thing to do with no respect in my eyes, just as killing low level people when you are way higher then them. Now I will admit to scaring low levels  at times by following them and jumping around or doing a move that wouldn’t kill them,  which perhaps is a low thing as well but at least I admit to it.

  When I go through the leveling in WoW I try to avoid the opposite group, which tends to be Alliance for me.  I try to make it through the quests without fighting people,  now if I see someone being attacked I do try to help them out with the fight just to be a good teammate. Sometimes this leads to them protecting  me while other times they just don’t notice it, but I still feel like I did a good deed for the Horde.

outlands

  Now if you are new to the game I do have to warn you if you go into the PVP realm. When you get to level 60, be careful with going to the Hellfire peninsula. That area is the worst place to go if you want to avoid ganks, if you are Horde  there  are a few Alliance who gank Thrallmar constantly. You can sit in peninsula for  5 minutes and  have your chat filled with alerts that Thrallmar is under attack. Far  as being on Alliance though at  least in the server I played on it wasn’t as bad, there was a time where a rogue was camping the main town there but that was only at one point it was typically pretty peaceful there. Another  place that you need to be careful of higher level people is in the Northrend continent, especially where either Horde or Alliance land. I have seen that the Horde starting base under attack several times and when I was on the Alliance side I had difficulties getting out of the town, a Horde member was camping the boat. The main way  to  try to get  through these areas is to either do dungeons or deal with dying constantly while trying to turn quests in, both are popular options that I have done to get through this. Other then that if you can try to play the game late at night such as 4 AM  you will avoid a lot of the gankers, as they tend to be filled with kids who go to school during the day.  All I can say about all of this though is, if you get stuck on a PVP server and don’t want to change servers, good luck to you and take advantage of the workarounds for  the heavily ganked areas.  Remember, don’t let gankers ruin all of your fun otherwise you just let them win.