XBLA is coming to the end of its retro celebration and thereâ€™s been a plethora of classic game inspired titles. I hope you all kitted out your Games Room with the fabulously neon 80s Arcade look! As always, thereâ€™s a huge amount of new stuff on Xbox Live Arcade, so hereâ€™s my thoughts about what to spend your Microsoft Points (MP) on this coming week.
The two biggest games in the arcade to get for only 800MP are;
Puzzle Chronicles, a new puzzle RPG hybrid (see the GGUK low-down here)
And the spectacular After Burner Climax. With 13 stages of rocket dodging action in the worldâ€™s fastest fighter jets, this is a great chance for new gamers to enjoy some speedy shooting whilst old fans can remember how relentlessly rapid and beautiful this old Sega arcade classic is.
Elsewhere in arcade land
Final Fight: Double Impact (800MP)
Capcom are also getting on the retro bandwagon with a double blast from the past combining two of their side scrolling titles in one package. All you have to decide is which you play first – the 1989 beat â€˜em up Final Fight title featuring Guy, Cody or Haggar (each with his own fighting style and attributes) or The Magic Sword from 1990 featuring the simply named Priest, Thief, Wizard and The Brave One. With online and local co-op multiplayer, new music, HD-filtered graphics and oodles to unlock I think this is the best value pack of the week.
Mega Man 10 (800MP)
This one has been around for a couple of weeks but if you havenâ€™t checked it out yet, do it this weekend whilst the retro trend parties on. The newest entry into the 8-bit franchise sees Mega Man using his Mega Buster weapon to hunt down the cure for a new infection called Roboenza that causes robots to malfunction. This time, Capcom (yes, them again) have included an easy mode to try and attract new fans (though placing platforms over a spike pits for example is perhaps going too far) plus you can also play as Proto Man and try out the Time Attack mode. Again, lots to keep new and old fans happy.
Halo 3 (Â£19.99)
The biggest and bestest game on demand this week follows on directly from the shocking (and jarring) cliff-hanger at the end Halo 2 and sees the return of Master Chief â€“ the last survivor of a secret military project and brings the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood and the entire human race to a dramatic conclusion. Playing multiplayer is so much more fun this time as you all take on a different character but all have the same abilities so no squabbling about who gets to be Master Chief, but going it alone on the campaign is brilliant. The weapons are deadly and varied and similar to the structure of the game, have familiarity but with lots of new exciting aspects to discover. Buy this game and it will bring you joy for many moons to come.
Saints Row (Â£14.99)
Okay, Iâ€™m the biggest fan of anything Rockstar North does (or indeed says with their very witty Tweets) so Iâ€™ve always been a bit reluctant to fully embrace Saints Row, which I feel is just too similar to the GTA series. However, that does not make this â€˜urbanâ€™ open world hip-hop game a bad one. Indeed, if it werenâ€™t for GTA, this would not have got made and it is stylish, with great design and is a load of fun. With four storylines, youâ€™ve the extensive city of Stilwater to run, swim, fight, shoot and drive in. Customize your homie (making sure you wear the Saintâ€™s colour purple to maximise your bonus when completing missions) and enjoy the title that became an important part of open world gaming development. Donâ€™t forget to pimp your avatar in Saintâ€™s Row 2 Style with tees and hats (and my favourite, the hotdog outfit â€“ love it), also available this week. Respect!
Sonic the Hedgehog (Â£19.99)
Hands up who has never heard of Sonic the Hedgehog? Anyone? I thought not but itâ€™s always good to be reminded of how brilliant the spiky blue ball of speed isâ€¦ well, not quite. Sonics move away from his 16bit days doesnâ€™t quite work in this title. The same vibrant colours are there but is it me or does he seem just a bit slower? New characters add variety but the animation glitches are annoying and for true old school Sonic fun, Iâ€™d recommend hooking up your mega drive once more and saving your pennies.
Next up itâ€™s Game Add-Ons which this week include:
LIPS â€“ the Xbox singing experience, has four new tracks, all of which are 160MP each:
â€œStrangeloveâ€ by Depeche Mode
â€œShe Works Hard For Her Moneyâ€ by Donna Summer
â€œRoad to Nowhereâ€ by Talking Heads
â€œMajor Tom (Coming Home)â€ by Peter Shilling
Guitar Hero 5 has three new tracks, all of which are 160MP each or can be bought as a Phoenix Track Pack for 440MP:
â€œLiztomaniaâ€ by Phoenix
â€œ1901â€ by Phoenix
â€œEverything is Everythingâ€ by Phoenix
Rock Band also has three new tracks by Coheed and Cambria that come in one lovely pack for 440MP:
â€œHere We Are Juggernautâ€
â€œGuns of Summerâ€
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
SPECACT Medic Upgrade (Camouflaged MG3)
SPECACT Recon Upgrade (Camouflaged M95)
SPECACT Assault Upgrade (Camouflaged M16AZ)
SPECACT Engineer Upgrade (Camouflaged UMP 45)
All the above are 160MP each and include a unique uniform and give you a different visual look on the battlefield, plus each one has three new awards and one achievement.
Alternatively, you can buy the SPECACT Upgrade Bundle and get all of the above for 480MP â€“ makes sense in my world!
Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing (560MP)
This add-on brings the original Left 4 Dead Survivors down south for a meeting with the L4D2 cast, while delivering new single-player, multiplayer and co-operative gameplay. The Passing features 3 new maps, new weekly game modes (Mutations), a new “uncommon common” zombie class (the fallen survivor), melee weapon (golf club), firearm (M-60) and 10 new achievements! I heart Zombies so this gets my add-on nod of the week.
Finally, Indie Games and thereâ€™s some new twists and reworking of classic formats.
Breath of Death VII: the Beginning (80MP)
A retro parody RPG (their words, not mine but I think it works) with you as Dem the Skeleton Knight exploring the underworld with your dead friends in search of secrets from the past. The trailer for this one whisks you back to the 16-bit era but looks fun with terrific colours. With 4-6 hours of game play, different modes and difficulty levels, I think this will totally worth the tiny MP price tag.
Abduction Action! (80MP)
A nice twist on alien invasions here as this time youâ€™re in the UFO striking fear into the heart if helpless earthlings. The aim is simple. Use your tractor beam to defeat aggressive foes or abduct the locals (lets presume your UFO includes an onboard examination/probe room) then return to your home planet in one piece. Great fun!
The Tower: A Bombs Climb (80MP)
This is as simple as it gets but using a single button to destroy your friends is always a laugh! Be the first to jump to the top and leave your friends to meet an evil, fiery end.
Thatâ€™s all for this week. Iâ€™m off to dig out my neon hair bobbles and day-glow lipstick ready for a retro-fuelled gaming fun!