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  • VR Golf ’97 (PlayStation, Saturn)


    Source: GamePro – November 1996

    Yet another golf game. That’s how I think of VR Golf ’97 (known as Actua Golf in parts of the world other than North America). As you could probably guess, I’m not the biggest fan of golf games. I don’t play golf in real life either though I don’t mind the occasional round of miniature golf. To be fair, I’m not a big fan of sports games in general and for a golf game, this isn’t bad.

    VR Golf ’97 was released in late 1996 for both the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. It competed with PGA Tour 97 which was really the benchmark for golf games at the time. On the PlayStation, you were better off with PGA Tour 97 as it had more features and advantages in licensing. However, on the Saturn, the PGA Tour 97 port was not as good as it could have been and was very slow. VR Golf ’97 was also choppier on the Saturn but still a much better experience. Mediocre ports like these no doubt helped kill the Saturn…

    There was a sequel to VR Golf ’97 but it was titled Fox Sports Golf ’99 and released for the PlayStation and Windows. Ratings for it were not so great though and this would be the last game in the series. Far better golf games have come along since but if you want to give this one a try, you’ll have to track down an original. The PlayStation version is a little better in that the graphics are a bit smoother and is also probably cheaper and easier to find.

  • Uprising X (PlayStation)

    Uprising X was a game released exclusively on the PlayStation in 1998. It is a sort of hybrid first person shooter, tank simulator and real time strategy game. This combination of genres makes it relatively unique but it also made it a hard sell.

    The plot of the game is just a thinly veiled excuse to blow stuff up but that isn’t really a problem. This isn’t really a story driven game. You get to control a futuristic tank armed with weapons such as lasers and guided missiles. In addition to controlling the tank, you can also call for any available reinfocements when needed such as infantry, more tanks or aircraft. While driving your tank around, you must search for good places to build on. In each location you build, you will first construct a large building with a turret on top. Once this is build you can enter the turret and control the gun or build other structures and factories.

    Uprising X also offers a split screen two-player mode with three types of games: challenge, death match and seige. The first two are about killing the other player directly while the last one involves protecting your base from enemy assault.

    Uprising X was actually a sequel to Uprising, a Windows game, and offered the same genre combination. While Uprising got mostly positive reviews, it didn’t sell as well as they would indicate. Part of the problem was that gamers just didn’t really know what kind of game to expect. While the combination of genres made for a unique and interesting game, RTS fans would often be turned off by the action or action fans by the strategy aspects. Despite selling below expectations, Uprising X followed. Other than another sequel on the PC (Uprising 2) and despite critical acclaim, there have been no further games in the series nor have there been any remakes. However, if you are a fan of either or both genres, this is a series worth giving a shot. All three games in the series are good but Uprising X is the only one of them to be released on a console.

    The ad above is from the February 1999 issue of The Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine and the screen shot are from Moby Games.

  • 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.