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  • The Unholy War (PlayStation)


    Source: Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine – Volume 2, Issue 4 – January 1999

    The Unholy War is a relatively obscure but unique fighting/strategy game released for the PlayStation in 1998. I say obscure because I don’t really remember it and I am not aware of any sequels or follow-ups to this game. Having said that, it generally got very good reviews and sounds like an interesting game that I need to add to my infinite list of games to play one of these days.

    The Unholy War has two modes of play: Mayhem and Strategy. In Mayhem mode the game is basically a 3D fighting game in which you are thrown into an arena against another player or the computer. You must choose your side: Arcane (magic based) or Technos (technology based). Each character has unique strengths and weaknesses and the arena is peppered with various obstacles and power-ups.

    Strategy mode adds an interesting twist. In strategy mode, you have a group of fighters that you are attempting to destroy your opponents base with. It is played on a hex grid and is turn based. A turn consists of a move or the use of a special skill. Moving into the space of an opposing unit gives you the option of attack in which case the game switches to Mayhem mode for the duration of the battle. Each side gets three turns before it is the other persons turn.

    There’s a story-line but it isn’t really important. However, at a time when there seemed to be an infinite number of 3D and 2D fighting games that didn’t really vary all that much, this one offers a pretty unique twist. The magic vs. technology concept along with the strategic game-play option definitely makes it stand out from the crowd.

  • Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation)

    Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation)


    Is it a role playing game with strategic elements or a strategy game with role playing elements? Yes, yes it is. Final Fantasy Tactics brought the sub-genre of tactical role playing games to the masses on the PlayStation in 1998. It wasn’t the first but it was definitely the most successful and well known example to that point. It was a great game for Final Fantasy fans (assuming you don’t mind lots of combat) and strategy fans alike.

    While the title makes it sound like more of a strategy game (and it is), the role-playing elements are much more than just superficial. This is really a true Final Fantasy style RPG, just with lots of of combat and much more detailed control over the combat than your typical Final Fantasy game. Final Fantasy Tactics is an excellent game and is really one of those must have games for the PlayStation.

    Unlike other Final Fantasy games up to that point, battles occurred on a 3D isometric battlefield. Battles are turn-based and things like range, damage, and speed are all determined by individual unit stats as you would expect. Units gain experience, level up and increase their abilities as they participate in battles.

    Final Fantasy Tactics has been re-released a few times over the years. It was re-released as part of the Sony Greatest Hits line four years after its original release. An updated PlayStation Portable version titled Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of The Lions was released in 2007. There was also a Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. It had essentially the same game play, graphics and locations but the story was somewhat different and it was a bit shorter though it had more side missions. A sequel to the GBA version titled Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift was released in 2008. If you prefer to play the original on a modern system, Final Fantasy Tactics was released via the PlayStation Network for the PS3 , PSM and PS Vita in 2009 and I believe it is still available.

  • Digimon World (PlayStation)

    Digimon World (PlayStation)


    Remember the Tamagotchi craze? There was even a song. Anyway, they were little digital pets on a keychain that you had to take care of. For a few years they were immensely popular and there were many imitators. Digimon was one such imitator. This PlayStation game is based loosely on the concept though for the purposes of the game you are sucked into the world of your digital pet.

    Apparently, a bunch of Digimon have gone feral and it is your job to save them. Digimon’s unique twist on the genre was that Digimon could fight other Digimon. This plays heavily into the game since you have to raise various Digimon along the way and battle other Digimon.

    Digimon World did a few things right. For instance, the graphics were very good for the time. Unfortunately, the game play left a little to be desired. The battle system in particular, which the game revolved around, was pretty poor with little effective control over the battles. Reviews were pretty poor for this game and if you have never even heard of Digimon then there is definitely no reason to pick this one up. However, if you were a hardcore Digimon fan and somehow missed it, it might be worth a shot…just don’t expect great things.

    This game was originally released in 2000 and there have been no re-releases or remakes. There was a Windows version of the game also but I believe it was never released in North America. There were three sequels (the first two on the PlayStation and the last one on the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox). The type of gameplay varied quite a bit between games but every one of them was pretty terrible. There have been a couple of more recent sequels including Re: Digitizer (PSP but in Japan only) and most recently, Digimon World: Next Order for the Vita and PS4. The PS4 version was released in North America last year. Reviews would indicate that it is only slightly better than the originals.