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The Design Issue 2001

Games

TOY STORY 2: BUZZ LIGHTYEAR TO THE RESCUE! Knowing the history of shit that is the "Hollywood film to video game," I was ready to quickly tune out after starting this game. Imagine my surprise to find that this wasn't just
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Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue!

Platform: Playstation

Publisher: Activision

Developer: Disney/Pixar

Knowing the history of shit that is the "Hollywood film to video game," I was ready to quickly tune out after starting this game. Imagine my surprise to find that this wasn't just another

Home Alone 2

. Decent graphics, well thought out toy weapons and ubiquitous cut-scenes that add some depth to an otherwise straightforward plot. A pleasant surprise, like waking to a finger in your bottom.

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Quake 3 Arena

Platform: Dreamcast

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Raster Productions

I play too much Quake 3 on my Mac and I was interested to see the results on the DC, considering Q3A is used as a benchmark for PC gaming systems because it is so demanding on hardware. After playing the game for a while, I was blown away by the quality of the visuals. While framerates dropped in action-packed moments with multiple characters, it was never a slideshow. That said, Q3A is also the worst game to play with a single DC game pad since there are so many controls usually accessed with a keyboard and mouse combo. Sega was kind enough to send me the Sega mouse which they tout as an essential Q3A companion, but even after getting over the initial awkwardness of playing with one hand on the pad (for walking and strafing) and the other mitt  on the mouse, it was clear that ***the developer*** completely missed the boat on Quake gameplay. The DC version's fatal flaw is that moving in any direction forces you to face directly in front of you. So trying to shoot at anyone on a level below or above you can only be done while standing still. In a game all about split seconds and fast reflexes, that spells s-p-l-a-t. Ditto for trying to shoot a rocket near someone's feet, since landing direct hits is near impossible. Since

Seganet

doesn't exist in our vast Canadian wasteland, we couldn't test the online modem-play of the game. Though I can't imagine anything funnier than a bunch of guys on DCs running in retarded bee-lines trying for headshots.

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Spyro II

Platform: Playstation

Publisher: Sony

Developer: Insomniac

Spyro the dragon is a really cute little sketch of a video game character. He's purple and has really big eyes and he can fly and jump and skateboard and shoot little flames out of his nose. He runs around his cute little universe talking to his equally adorable little friends and saving their asses from strangely adorable enemies (even in their lacking, two-dimensional-pieced-together-polygons, type of graphics).

Like most cute things in life, though, Spyro gets old and boring fast. By about day three his stupid friends and their lame challenges, most of which you have to complete not just once but two, even three times, have been replaced by your frustration in Spyro's inability to burn his friends or the raver-colored landscape.

Spyro II is like buying a hamster because it's soooo adorable but when you get home realizing that you just have to clean its fucking cage.

* Note on the elusive baby dragon brothel burning level, where Spyro dons a pair of really hot pants and tries to shag all the little girl dragons. You can gain a dragon egg if you can successfully please three dragonettes at once.