Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas 2013, My (Great) Expectations.

Salutations and greetings friends, readers, bloggers and people who have clicked a wrong Google link. This is the Novabug Blog by the way, stick around because you might like it. Maybe.

So, it's that time of year again when we all spend too much money on superfluous tacky gifts, vast amounts of food too great in mass to consume within the use-by date, and moan about the choice of Bond movie shown. It's a time when British people can be divided; either ignoring it quietly, hating it opening or just going with the flow. For the majority, people adopt the latter. So, the expectant day is filled with larks and tomfoolery; the turkey get's dropped, the kids all get sugar-filled and throw up, the carpet becomes a smorgasbord of past christmas dinners and decorations, the cat climbs the tree and inevitably, everyone passes out after rowing over a game of Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit or Wii Sports. Ahh, the joy!

Okay, maybe that's all a bit melodramatic and OTT, but you get my point. After all, once you have passed the age of when the innocence and irresponsibility has gone, it becomes just another day, just with more food and mess. This year I hope for a more mundane Christmas, well, once the children have worn themselves out. They will get ample amounts of toys, colouring book and so on, most of which will be destroyed or lost before Boxing Day is finished. I however, on the back of the 'big' launch of this years most wanted games consoles, have bought the family a Nintendo Wii U, because it's far more suitable to a young family environment and it's cheaper. Much cheaper. I got the system, extra controllers and 4 games costing far less than a new Playstation 4 with 1 game, or an Xbox One with no games. It's a no-brainer for me. The big day will consist of a hectic morning of torn wrapping paper, setting up dollhouses or building lego models, while the loving missus makes some hearty breakfast. Then, it's on to the mother-in-law's, for a brief but equally frantic session of more toys and such like, and then on to my mothers superlative christmas dinner, after which things can start to chill down. Personally, I'm looking forward to playing on my brothers PS4, but really I just want to sit, drink and watch anything that appears on the TV. As long as I can relax, I'm happy. No forcing the fun this year, just going to run with whatever, as they say. 

So, what's your plans? Do you have wildly massive and unobtainable predictions on how the day will pan out? Good? Bad? Terrible? Fantastic? What ever way you spend the 25th, whether you celebrate or not, I offer my seasons greetings and goodwill, because, no matter what the connotations of Christmas means to you, it should really all be about being good to one other. A feeling of happiness and love between family and friends. Yes, this sounds cliche, but it's the truth. No religious or cultural differences should hinder this. So, happy Christmas one and all, have a peaceful but fun time, and look forward to the new year with a positive outlook. Well, that's what I hope to be doing.

The Pixel Empire

Needless to say, us TPE guys have been working on some Christmas gaming gems for you all. Expect to see some snow/ice related video games, our annual Secret Santa reviews and some exclusive surprises as well. Some classic title just 'may' be getting a reboot... I'll say no more. In the meantime, we have been covering some great games such as Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Bejeweled 3, Rayman Legends and the updated version of Baldur's Gate. Read them now, it's unmissable. Also, on the back of Sony and Microsoft cornering the media attention, we look back at the previous generation of big games consoles. The PS3 and Xbox 360 get our judgement, with no pulled punches I assure you. 

Novabug on YouTube. 

I recently have been producing a vast amount of video material, all mostly about gaming, so why not take a look. I have some new gameplay's of Pang, Batman and Barbarian 2, as well as me chatting about old console niggles, what games most consumed me and how my better half feel about my gaming habits. Take a butchers, I hope you will enjoy my rantings and banter. Click HERE to view and enjoy my channel.

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year and all that guff...

For 2013... Bug...'Out!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Halloween Birthdays & YouTube Channel Update!

Evenin' All! 

So, this will be my last blog post that I'll write at the age of 35, because once 'Witching Hour' strikes on the 31st I will be yet another year older. 36 years on this planet! Jeez, that year flew by like the proverbial excrement of a coal shovel! So, my week will consist on working, carving jack'o lantern, dressing up like a lunatic and eating lots of stuff I shouldn't eat. It's quite similar to every other week of the life since school to be honest.

I have been busy however, with a few new bits and pieces written and a big overhaul of my YouTube channel. I thought it was time, as I had been neglecting it. So now it's going to get crammed full of retro gaming goodies and the odd rant about society. Focusing of course on the various degenerates that board my bus daily. For example, I had two of the most upstanding people of the area the other day. Neither paid, one tried to sneak on the back doors, and both were drunk. One said his excuse for not paying was because he had just got out of prison. (??!!) and eventually the slagging match ended with me calling the police. Needless to say, they are barred permanently from my bus. Lovely people.

Anyway, below are several links to my new videos. (Blogger is being an arse and not letting me post the vid-links directly!) I talk about the Amstrad GX4000 (Shock! Horror!) Play some games on it with commentary and tell you about 3 of the most obscure items in the video gaming stash. Big shout to edt1138 for asking the question, you can visit his YouTube channel here. Enjoy.

Novabug's Retro Games

The Pixel Empire

It's the second round of Halloween horror reviews on TPE, 4 spine-chillers for you to read about featuring the classic Doom, the remake of Alone in the Dark, Soul Reaver's second outing and the seminal Resident Evil sequel. What are you waiting for? Get your vampire hunting steaks out and you zombie-decapitating sawn-off, and creep over to The Pixel Empire. Woooooooooo... (cough cough!)

Right, 35 year old Novabug signing off, see you when I'm 36, that's if old age doesn't cripple my typing fingers or debilitate my computer knowledge. 

Bug... 'Out!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

We are all Brand Loyalists, Like it or Not.

I saw a Youtube video the other day, which talked extensively about the concept of fanboy-ism amongst gamers. This got me thinking, because as a reviewer of all games that are considered retro, I am compelled to put across a totally unbiased and equal view on the subject matter. But, do I really do this? Am I being fair, objective and open-minded? For general articles I think I have this down to a tee, no worries there, but in social conversation and discussion, I'm not so sure. I have come to conclusion that, no matter what kind of gamer you are, no matter what era you hail from or what generation you belong too, we all have our favourite consoles but more potently, concealed within the depths of our id, I suspect we have an unexplained draw to a specified manufacturer at any given period. And there is little we can do about this.

Casting aside my usual thought-processes of fair play, I can admit what brands I'm drawn too. In my childhood, Amstrad was the manufacturer that imprisoned my young gaming mind. I would defend the CPC with all the over-inflated facts or blatant untruths I could. The three way argument of the Commodore, Amstrad and of course the Spectrum fans would be the start of many schoolyard scraps. Normally, the Speccy guys would be overrun by the brags of graphical power the other two had, so it became a straight fight between C64 and 464. Our young minds not able to fully grasp the concept of 'Gameplay'. Ironically, if the Speccy guy had played this card, a win may have been very possible. Anyway, needless to say I was Alan Sugar's metaphorical bitch during this time, and even when I had the chance delve into the delights of the Amiga or Megadrive, all I craved for was Amstrad's latest machine. Yes, that was the ill-fated GX4000.... (Yes, I know now!)

Machinehead! A few generations of my favourite manufacturers...

After Amstrad abandoned the computer market, and the 16-bit era taking a foothold, I found myself strangely drawn to Nintendo. I believe this was a combination of liking the newest console available at the time, and the illogical hatred I had developed for SEGA; the Megadrive unceremoniously killing the GX4000 was a bitter pill to swallow. I now know the Megadrive was, and is a great machine, but I could not accept this at the time. So, I became a Nintendo-head. After getting the SNES, I backtracked to the Gameboy and NES, and again found myself fighting their corner whenever the situation arose. I am still an avid Nintendo fan, but due to the peer pressure and the cost of the N64 at the time, I fell in love with Sony and their Playstation. As I have grown older, learning to see the merits of the systems I forgo'd, I still find myself getting riled at people slagging off Amstrad, Nintendo or, to a lesser extent, Sony, and will still defend there failings to the letter. It's ridiculous I know, but this is the silly emotional attachment that I believe all gamers have with their chosen brand. Speccy fans behave in this manner, as do Amiga ilk and so on. In current times, it's been a plain straight battle between Sony and Microsoft, PS v Xbox, the latter being another brand I cannot get along with. Maybe it's because Microsoft's history are littered with problems for the consumer, their apparent greed doesn't help either, and this plays on my mind. I mean, why did they ruin a perfectly good OS (Win95) by saying Vista was the dog's ballbags? It was more dog shit then dogs balls, and now it seems they are doing it again. Windows 7... Good enough. Windows 8? Ugh! 

The difference now is that I can appreciate and respect that people have views of their own, correct ones at that, because I am exactly the same with my brands. But, take one moment to look at your personal gaming history, and I'll bet you will find yourself siding with a certain console or manufacturer. It maybe to do with the games, the looks, the technical prowess, who knows. But a die-hard Amiga fan will never accept an Atari-ST, an Xbox man will always curse a Playstation even thought they can still give an approving nod to the merits of each system. In short, we are all fanboys. It's the way of the world, and a brighter, more entertaining and diverse place for it. My next console? A WiiU, obviously. 

The Pixel Empire 

Retro and racing have been the subject of choice recently on The Pixel Empire. Not only did we finish off our retro month with a Amstrad/Speccy showdown, with classic Manic Miner and the awesome Batman getting full coverage, but we have a long exciting starting grid of racing titles lined up. Ferrari's get some tough love in Crazy Cars 2 and Ferrari Grand Prix challenge, and Shane dishes the dirt in Xbox title DiRT: Showdown. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter profile for the upcoming reviews on V-Rally, Penny Racers, Lotus Turbo Challenge and Street Racer.

Right that's me all talked out for now, will have another blog up when I can be bothered to rant about something again. Maybe something more mundane, like how can a cup of tea be made so differently by family members. Or something...

Sayonara...Bug' Out!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Game Hackers Hack Me Off!

Recently during my online gaming activities it has come to my attention, and sheer annoyance, at the amount of game hackers that dwell out there in the land of cyberspace. I'm not a young pup, so I am fully aware of the trials and tribulations of online gaming when it comes to hackers, and certainly no stranger to getting a 'jailbreaker' in my game. Many a time in my teenage years of playing Quake and Command & Conquer: Red Alert, I have been faced which such individuals. In the case of the latter, a notable mention would be a rival army landing in my base equipped with an APC and 10 Tanya's on board. This was friggin' ridiculous, especially considering the skirmish was only 10 minutes in. The usual method of dealing with this was to perform a soft reset, and enter into another room, hoping that another clever-clogs hacker wasn't there to take the utmost piss. The situation with Quake was handled in a more, should I say, direct method. The best example would be that of an internet cafe environment, (remember them?) with a networked game of Quake deathmatch (Yeaaah!). 7 of us were in that very cafe, and one user was blatantly using the G.O.D cheat (near invincibility) shamelessly right under the nose of his combatants. After a cheeky plan of trapping him with a CCTV camera had come to fruition, the entire populous of the cafe ousted him forthwith. One of the guys, a rather heavily built burly teen who was quite aggravated by this cheating administered several blows to this weedy nerd, even asking his mate to hold his beer while he did it. Best part though, as it was all calming down, my very own brother, who was acting as a peacemaker choose to forgo these morals and gave the hacker a final thump on the bonce upon his exit. This last whack culminated in him never returning to the cafe. Situation resolved, we returned to the incessantness' of killing each other with bazookas. I don't condone violence outside of gaming, but well, he had it coming.

Of course, we all know nowadays the problem with trolls; friendless, purile and furiously masturbating guys (yes, it's mostly always guys!) that sit behind the protection of a screen bullying, luring and baiting regular internet users just to 'get a kick out of it'. Well documented and sometimes tragic news stories have been reported about this. Deeply sad and pathetic people yes, but these are not game hackers. In fact, I admire hackers to some respect, but in my view there are 2 classes of game hacker. Firstly, you have the ones who hack the game to extend the lifespan and depth of the game. These people tend to create new items, routes, rooms or tracks, make items more powerful or available, change the game parameters to make thing more interesting such as colour pallet and so on. They also share these unofficial updates with other gamers. What they DON'T do it ruin and spoil the game for everybody else in a session. Good hackers don't give themselves all the advantages, merely create a new way of playing the game for all involved. Normally this is amusing and different for a short while, so why not? However, there are other types of hackers with lax morality, which I have had the misfortune to recently chance upon, DO ruin the game for others. Disrupting the fun, the escapism and most importantly the competitiveness. I reference Mario Kart Wii, which I have been playing extensively of late. The goal of online play is to reach a high score of VR points in a fair manner, based off your skill and dexterity with the game. Losing a race makes you lose points, so if you feel you have been cheated by a hacker, you therefore quit the session. This doesn't sit well at all. In fact, it downright pisses me off and raises several questions about their mischievous activities. Below is typical example of one such clever-clogs who thinks it is fun. He may say in his comments that this is only a video game, but it still makes him a cheat, ruining the fun for other players. Shame on you sir!

Why do they do this? I can only assume they are not as good at a particular game as they would have hoped, and cheat to win in order to gain a sense of achievement and satisfaction. But, as any REAL gamer will tell you, what achievement has been made? What satisfaction does this bring? They are cheating due to their own shortcomings and clearly can't accept the fact they can't get any better. This happens in gaming. In my time, I have been frustrated to the max in beating my friends at certain games, trying all sorts of things to attain a higher level of skill, but sometimes this doesn't work, and I have to accept that I am not as good as them. Yes, I have smashed the odd controller, threw a console or two, but I still don't cheat my opponent. Cheating would remove any self-gratification; I wouldn't have beaten them without cheating. I know this sounds very idealist and moralistic in a world of scammers, liars and con-artists, but I feel it's in the unwritten gamers code to play on a level field. You reap what you put in, use the games parameters well, learn the tricks programmed to be found, and at the end of the day, practice. Some games you may not prevail with, others you will, but hacking a game just to cause havoc and destroy another persons online gaming session is a simply crap thing to do. All the while, the hacker sitting aside their box of Kleenex, giggling maniacally at their own self-determined sense of cleverness having outwitted everybody in a gaming room via a hack. But no, they haven't. They are just a weaseling old-skool cheat that have not achieved nothing except piss off several true gamers and give themselves a shitty reputation in the process. Rubbish. 

So, if you are adorned with the talents to hack games, then I implore you to use it for a better and noble cause. For instance, don't make the game easier. Make it harder for all including yourself. What possible sense of satisfaction could you get from that by making it easy for you? Surely the point of a game is to beat it fairly, learning the skills it takes to succeed in the process. I mean, why on earth would you buy a game and complete it with hacks and cheats in a day or so? Waste of money right? Use the life of the game to naturally learn how to beat it, that ultimately creates a proper feeling the achievement and self-adulation, not to mention value for money. Now, I'm not whiter than white, I have cheated on games in the past, but I always have had that feeling not actually completing it for real, like I have missed out on the elation of real gaming fulfillment. Using a line of code or device like an Action Replay was fun for about 20 minutes, after which is gets boring and dull. This is when I return to a game, and complete it correctly, and let me tell you, that produces a greater sense of video game happiness. So, in conclusion to this rant, my message to the devilish game hackers out there is that you are missing out on a lot of good feeling, belittling the natural endorphin that make us feel joyous about gaming, and not only that, you are passing this onto other gamers. In short, play fairly, because if you don't, you are the true losers.

Rant over!

The Pixel Empire

It's been a while since I last blogged, but the Pixel Empire has continued on going from strength to strength. Many retro and modern game reviews have been added, plus a commentary on game remakes, a Wip3out Pixel Duel and yet another exclusive developer interview. We are awesome, it's as simple as that! We have also been taking requests of late, a couple of these reviews are already up. So, if you have a game you would like reviewed, drop us a line at our Twitter, Facebook or email us directly. Remember our motto: All Games, All Eras, In Context. Just to see what you have been missing, here are a few links to our latest material. Enjoy.

Selected Game Reviews: Ski or Die on the NES, Spec Ops: The Line on Xbox360, Blackthorne on 32x, WWE '13 on Xbox360, Rapid Racer on PS1, System Shock 2 on PCMario Kart DS on DS and Mario Kart Wii on the Nintendo Wii.

Features: Pixel Q & A with Neil McKenna, Retro Remake Rethink and Wip3out Hi-Score Duel.

And Finally...

As any readers of The Pixel Empire, my Twitter and this very blog will know, I have quested myself to collect the entire game library of the ill-fated and unfairly forgotten Amstrad GX4000. Yes, a pointless and unfruitful task many of you may mutter, but it is one of 'my things'. Recently purchased my 15th game, so will now take this opportunity to list the games I still require, if by your are chancing this blog and have them for sale. A shot in the dark I know, but as the old saying goes; nothing ventured, nothing gained. Here are the titles I still wish to acquire. If by some miraculous circumstance you have one to sell, please contact me via this blog or my Twitter @novabug . Thanks muchly!

Amstrad GX4000 cartridges still needed - Plotting, Pinball Magic, Mystical, Panza Kick Boxing, Copter 271, Tin Tin On The Moon, Dick Tracy, Wild Streets, Chase HQ2, Enforcer, Skeet Shoot (With Phazer light gun). 

I know the last 3 are as rare of golden diamond-encrusted rocking-horse shit, but hey, a guys' gotta try eh?

Bug... 'Out!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Agghh to Zzzzz... Reflections of the A-Z Challenge

Phew! It's been a week or so since the end of the A to Z Challenge, and time to have a brief look back and cross-examination on how I found the last month; what I found difficult, what I found fun, and of course what I have learnt. When I chose to enter the challenge I honestly thought my daily life and work would get in the way too much and prevent me from posting every day. This turned out not to be the case, I managed to write and post a fresh page on all the dates of April. I'm pleased with myself, mostly because I'm not a good deadliner and a non-admitting procrastinator at the best of times. I'm also happy with the content I posted, some words came out well, and in particular was chuffed to get guest writers into the frame too. 

Who need's a gold medal or a Blue Peter Badge? I got this!

The Up's... 
(The steady progress of my writing, furthering of my knowledge and exposure to my blog)

Being able to put my personal gaming views down without constraints and knowing that I'll be reaching an audience that will get what I'm talking about, and maybe even introducing non-gamers to the joys of video gaming.

Reading other peoples blogs was excellent, I found some really fine posts, amusing ditty's and thoughtful material. Taking in various viewpoints and subjects is always good for the soul.

Forward planning of my posts helped to hit the deadlines, and made me organise my writing better than usual. This is something I'm actually very proud of, getting the damn things done on time! I have got to apply with to my personal works and get them finished and published! No excuses now.

Researching material and facts turned up some gems on knowledge whilst providing a refresher of the gaming info. This will stand me in good stead for my future works on The Pixel Empire.

My vocab has improved yet again, which is something I'm always trying to extend. The combination of writing daily and reading daily has aided this substantially.

The Down's... 
(Disappointments, upset's and complications)

I didn't read or comment as much as would have liked on other blogs, to my own self-arse slapping. This was due to my personal time constraints. Shift work and a young family makes writing difficult to fit in and concentrate on, even without having to post daily.

Lack of sleep! To get a post finished on time, I often found myself writing into the early hours, or getting up early to finish/post the next letter.

I tended to commandeer the computer for long periods, because although my posts were not lengthy or complex, I did a lot of researching to get my facts right. I also found myself downloading a game I had mentioned, only to become wrapped up in it.

I was not happy with some of my definitions of each letter, and thinking back I could have done better titles and themes. Some of the games got repeated several times, something which I a tried consciously to avoid.

The Diagonal's... 
(These are the paradoxical's; not good or bad, just darn frustrating and can be summed up with the expression "Meh...")

My novel writing, review writing and most notable my work for The Pixel Empire did slacken off due to keeping up with the blog. Whilst I was still writing each day, as my own personal targets are, I didn't get other writing down elsewhere. Glad it was for only a month!

Some blogs I read didn't seem to be taking a subject, theme are reason passionately, some just a mish-mash of words, moaning about trivial matters more like a diary. I look for reason in blog articles, not self-deprivation and pessimistic whingeing.

Writing about my past game experiences with thought caused me to take a second look at my thought processes went reviewing. This is a developmental aspect, but does provide a bit of a headache. Still, food for thought.

Overall, I'm glad I entered in the A to Z Challenge and very happy with myself to complete it without fracturing the rules or missing posts. It certainly lived up to it's name, it was a challenge for sure, and I hope to give it another go next year. Something not gaming related for a change.


Monday, 29 April 2013

Z - Zero Graders! My Top 10 Worst Video Games Ever

So here we are, the very last blog of the A to Z challenge. I must admit, it's been tough to keep up, but I have done it! The Novabug-Blog will be taking a little rest now while I catch up on all my other writing projects. In a way, I'm glad it's over but it has been a blast. All days of April a brand new post, and this is the very last one, Z. Zed-UK or Zee-US is for Zero Graders. The ultra-poor, the cream of crap, the games that should never have been even given the light of day. This is my list of the worst games I have ever played, the top 10 biggest zilchers! Wince at the enormity of rubbish-ness on display.

Unspeakable things were happening to this Puma.
#10 Wild Streets - Of the 25 titles released on the GX4000, this is by far and away the worst. Not because is has the worst graphics, that goes to Tin Tin on the Moon. It doesn't have the worst sound either despite it being piss-poor in the main. No, the reason why this is so bad is because it's soooo easy, and had the gameplaying prowess of a piece of rotten carrot in the middle of a pool of vomit. 10 flick screens of blocky bad guys, shot a boss and run back to the start. That's it. Literally it! Over in seconds and a complete insult to the machine which produced 3 of the finest 8-bit games in the form of Pang, Batman and Robocop 2. Terrible.

#9 Super Soccer - One of the launch titles of the Super Nintendo, this was the bad apple of the bunch. This is a football game which attempts to give the player a new perspective when playing the beautiful game, but this novelty fails badly. Slow and unrealistic, it just too cumbersome to play with any gusto, players dawdle, ball flight is dumb and the goalkeepers are impossible to control. This football game should've been given the red card.

#8  Ultraman: Towards the Future - Taking a Japanese TV cult figure, and plonk him in a underdeveloped poorly programmed pile of beat 'em up tosh. Ultraman is laughable at the best of times, but the rubbish that is this game stops the laughing and starts the crying, especially if you actually bought it with real money. Slow, crude, repetitive, uninteresting, zero scope. The only bright points are that the visuals are not completely terrible and the sound is present to try and keep Ultra-Binbags on life support. It's still an awfully unplayable game though. Avoid.

#7 Four Soccer Simulators - Billed as 4 football games in one, this is a rare Codemaster's title that was lacking basic fun and basically pulling the wool over the eyes of any potential purchaser. In 3 of the games consisting of 11-a-side, indoor and street football, there is barely a change in dynamic aside from the playing field. The gameplay is exactly the same; slow and sh*t. The scaling is hilarious and you cannot tell the difference between any of the players. As for the forth game, soccer skills, that is pointless and, erm, without any goal. So to speak. A boring, drab and uninspiring title. 

#6  Pacman (Atari 2600)  - I could just say here "Google Pacman Atari 2600" and all the reasons for this being a slap in the yellow face of Pacman himself would become clear. A rushed out port with hundreds of copies made, it hardly even looks like the arcade classic with some of the worst graphics seen on the old wooden legend. The SFX would also make you want to hack your ears off with a rusty cheese-wire  Funny thing is, this is one of the best selling games on the platform, feeding off the fame of our yellow pill muncher. Don't let that fool you, it's actually physically painful to play this game.

Buzz looked very different before battling with the Evil Zurgh
#5 Pit-Fighter - Early nineties beat 'em up which was one of the first to use the digitized images of actors as the sprites, this had a lot of hype surrounding it due to this groundbreaking graphical display. However, to say it was a let down is a massive understatement. The images were blurry and weakly animated, the background distracting, but the real issue was the limited moves and truly dreadful collision detection. There really isn't any strategy or skill required; just mash the control pad as fast as possible. Some people look back fondly at this, but I don't. It's pony.

#4 Superman 64 - Featured on the T blog, this is a contender for the most terrible 3D roaming platform games, there is absolutely nothing super about this. In almost every department this game is seriously knackered. Responses are about a quick as a snail stuck in tar, daft as a brush plot even by Superman standards, the sound is jerky with repeated effects, and it's nigh on impossible to get the blue boy scout to pick anything up, or throw it where you want. It's all just random as hell. But the main reason why this is so bad, it's that it is full to the brim of glitches. Every wall, room and static item is dodgy, the enemies are dodgy, the whole thing is just a big glitchy mess wearing blue tights. The worst game on the N64 by a mile. A joke of a game, Jor-El would be ashamed...

#3 Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game - Another game lifted from the T list, this see-through attempt at rinsing the Street Fighter fans of their cash is shocking. Take the groundbreaking beat 'em up turned into a terrible live action movie that just sucks ball-bags, and then, turn this back into a video game! Insanity! I just don't know what they were thinking of apart from fooling the fans. Suffice to say, this plays and looks like a hacked version of the aforementioned Pit-Fighter and the other rather rubbish brawler Rise of the Robots rolled into one big pile of excrement. With the collision detection of the Titanic's birds-nest sailor and the jerky sprite movement, I won't waste any more words about this, just play ANY proper Street Fighter game, they are all better than this insult to the franchise.

#2 ET: The Extra Terrestrial - Reading that chilling title, any gamer worth their salt will instantly nod and say. 'Yep, that's sh*t!' One of the earliest movie game tie-in's, again taken from the T post, this seemed to set the formula for all future bad movie games, and generally bad games as a whole. Rushed out so quickly to keep with the release of the film that it's devoid of any actual gameplay; it's one of the worst games on the Atari 2600, by a long way. Even worse than the also rushed terrible port of Pacman as you have already read about. The SFX is minimal to say the least, the visuals are as basic as the 2600 could have done, yes, worst than Pacman, but principally there just doesn't seem to be any goal or reason to the game. Playing it will result in you loosing the will to live, a shocking game. In fact, calling it a game at all is an over statement. Confusing, eye-bleeding twaddle.

Shaq humiliated the opposition by randomly plate spinning.
#1 Shaq Fu - One of the first rules about beat 'em up's is that you have to have a good, tight control set up. The makers of this blatant cash-in piece of garbage didn't know this, and so the result is the most randomly controlled game ever. No command actually seems to work right, or at all, reducing the gameplay to button mashing free-for-all. Chuck into this rancid mix a cockamamie nonsensical plot, obvious exploit-ism of the basketball fans, jerky and stuttering animation and wild inconsistent physics and you soon realise this really is the worst game ever created even with it's non-offensive appearances. Even a website exists with the sole aim in destroying all copies of this trash for the good of the human race. So, the Super NES, the system with a largest and best range of games also has in it's library the worst game on the planet. I dare anyone to disagree.

Ding Dong! That's all folks! The A to Z blog challenge is complete for The Novabug-Blog. I hope I have entertained and informed you with my personal gaming bits and bobs. These were my top 10's, I know you will have your own and that's the best thing about video games; they can provoke different reactions in us as as we see the bad, the good and the ugly in varying amounts. For me, it basically comes down to this: For favourite game ever is Secret of Mana, my most hated game is Shaq Fu and my favourite console is the Super Nintendo. Oh, and I will forever defend the Amstrad GX4000. So there.

Finally, I would like to say a big, big, BIG thanks to all those who have read and hopefully enjoyed my blogs over the past month, to all those who have commented and to all the help I have received in writing this past months 26 blog posts. (26!)  Big shout out's to of course my guest writers from The Pixel Empire; Tom, Shane and Alan, and of course to Arlee Bird ( for creating this challenge. It's been emotional.

The Novabug-Blog will now resume normal operations....Bug...'Out!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Y - Your Picks! Top 9 of Pixel Empire Gaming Picks!

No fancy intro words for this penultimate A to Z blog post. Y? Well today the NovaBug-Blog is taken over by The Pixel Empire writers. They choose their top 3 in any gaming category, and tell you about it. TPE buddies, Y is for Your Picks!

Tom Clare - Pixel Empire Editor
Pick - Top 3 Pinball Video Games
Follow Tom on Twitter @pixelempire

#3 Psycho Pinball - (Megadrive) If my heart chose the others on this list, my head chose this one, in the sense that, whilst Psycho Pinball is perhaps a hard game to love, it’s an easy game to appreciate. Codemasters’ 1994 pinball sim was a classy effort, with super-slick scrolling, incredibly responsive flippers, fantastic visual design and an assured realism to the pinball’s movements that you wouldn't have thought possible from the Megadrive just a couple of years previously. Sweetening the deal was the inclusion of a trio of tables, all offering something a little different (the Wild West and its Blackjack mini-game remains a personal favourite), whilst it also offered the unique opportunity to jump between tables within one game. Not a play-all-day addictive experience in the mould of the next two, but a really good game of pinball nevertheless.

#2 Dragon's Fury - (Megadrive) Beginning life as Devil’s Crush on the TurboGrafx-16, Dragon's Fury raised the bar for 16-bit pinball titles with a grand vision and ambitious, elaborate design. The player was faced with a single, epic table comprising of three tiers, before facing a barrage of miniaturised foes in the main area of play, and then tackling a fantastic and extensive array of bonus screens, with what amounted to mini-bosses as the player dueled with dragons, shamans and flaming, er, men. Indeed, it was equally memorable for its ghoulish title screen and creepy fantasy styling,  which made it that bit cooler than its contemporaries. Accessible from the get-go but with a huge array of scoring opportunities, Dragon's Fury had style, swagger and most importantly of all, substance.

#1 Pro Pinball: The Web - (Playstation) If I had my way, I'd likely have picked three Pro Pinball games for the list, although I fear things might have got a bit boring for everyone reading. The Web; Cunning Developments' first PP outing, may not have quite as perfect a physics engine (or as many aronaky options) as Big Race USA, but it has it where it counts: gameplay. One stunning table provides for weeks of play, and with so many mini-games and ways of going about scoring, no two games are ever entirely alike. The Web is gorgeous to look at and with no end of neat little touches, it’s a real labour of love for its creators, their passion shining through to this day.

Shane Battams - Pixel Empire Writer (Xbox specialist)
Pick - Top 3 Years of Xbox 360 Gaming
Follow Shane on Twitter @Steadysphere or his Blog

#3 2012 - As the console nears the end of its cycle, 2012 saw a slew of solid to great titles. Mark of the Ninja was a standout for sure, impressive considering it’s downloadable nature and independent roots. New properties have formed – perhaps beacons of what’s to come in the next-gen; through Dishonored while franchises saw excellent sequels in the form of Witcher 2 (a debut for the series on 360), Max Payne 3, Mass Effect 3, Tekken Tag 2 and Far Cry 3. Oh, and The Walking Dead was top-card too, drawing out emotions many thought they’d lost for games at this point.

#2 2009 - This was the third year of Xbox 360, and it was a great year for games. There seemed to be a strong mix of good sequels and new properties, as follow-ups of Forza, Street Fighter, Assassin’s Creed and Left 4 Dead tantalised those yearning for new games. Meanwhile, new properties such as Dragon Age and Borderlands began life in 2009. On top of all that, the best licensed game on the system came in the form of Batman: Arkham Asylum, which since has only been trumped by its own sequel!

#1 2007 - It had been a couple of years since the 360’s launch, and while 2006 was perfunctory (with the exception of Gears maybe), the console was finally getting some steam with one of the system’s best years. The arrival of Gears of War brought with it a new engine – the now common Unreal 3 – and it powered many of the best games from this year including BioShock and Mass Effect. Other hits include the story-driven The Darkness, the jam-packed Orange Box and tons more. Many of the best games on the system came out in this year.

Alan Passingham - Pixel Empire Writer (Amiga/C64 specialist)
Pick - Top 3 Commodore Amiga Games
Follow Alan on Twitter @sirclownfoot or his Blog

#3 Civilisation (MicroProse, Sid Meier) - From tiny acorns do great oaks grow. That’s pretty much the legacy of the original Amiga version of Civilisation through to its current fifth iteration that has now seen it developed for ‘the consoles’. Still, Civ hasn't been all that much of an evolution, as the pure game mechanics of taking on a band of settlers to grow an all conquering civilisation via a strategy master-class was the foundation of this Amiga classic. Little has changed (albeit the 5th installment is less difficult to play owing to the ‘console’ factor), which means the original version is just as re-playable as any of its bigger brothers. Most importantly, there’s no other game out there that can beat Civ for its ‘just one more turn’ dynamic. And before you know it, it’s five o’freaking clock in the morning. Some of the best early morning hours of my youth and most of the summer of 1993 was spent on this bad boy, so obviously I’m not wrong. Civilisation is the best strategy game ever made. 

#2 Sensible World of Soccer (Renegade, Sensible Software) - As marvellous as Speedball 2 is, Sensible Soccer probably has the greatest two-player mode ever created. Fast, frantic action that required quite a bit of skill to master made for an absolute bun-fight between argumentative brothers trying to determine which of whom was king of the motherf**king universe! Sensi would always prevail in revealing a who was the actual grandmaster. Years of ever-increasing additions to what started as little more than a bare-bones footy title with exquisite gameplay made SWOS an absolute treasure. Difficulty, depth and endeavour created a multi-directional scrolling footy title that actually played like a real footy match. The now classic stick-men sprites, the ball that refuses to glue to player’s feet, after-touch and killer sliding tackles have much to thank for the that, and whilst it is incredibly challenging to get the knack of it, once you do you’ll be a goal-scoring superstar hero! Incredible goals, frenzied gameplay, a huge management component that kind of gives Championship Manager a run for it’s money, Sensible Soccer is an absolute blast that makes both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer blush with embarrassment.

#1 Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (Imageworks, Bitmap Brothers) - Now over 20 years old and not only the best game released on the mighty Amiga, Speedball 2 remains king of the world. A phenomenal piece of gaming in every sense it has bastard hard difficulty; delicious multi-directional scrolling; a futurism design that would make Ridley Scott cream in his jeans; tons of ways to score making every match unique; Super f**king Nashwan; simple management content to compliment the hardcore in-game brutalism; bounce domes; the terrific score multiplier; league and challenge play; two player mode - perfect for squabbling brothers; robotic ambulances to remove players beaten to a pulp from the field of play; exquisite design in the arrangement of the Speedball arena; perfect introductory music; replays; the genius of making games only three minutes in length; super f**king quick sprites; on the money collision detection; and a scary AI that has been programmed to constantly piss on your cereal making the game insanely moreish rather than frustrating. Oh, and ice-cream. In other words it’s pretty much the perfect game. 

Well, there you have it. 6 games and 3 years of gaming love jammed into one blog. Thank you to all the writers from The Pixel Empire, I'm sure you enjoyed there musings. Visit the site for more of the same, and also my pitiful ramblings too. It's the last day of the A to Z challenge tomorrow! Sob! Actually, thank f**k, I've seriously neglected my other writings. Anyway, Z is for Zero! Games which are poor, very poor, so poor that they are Zero Graders. The top 10 worst video games... Ever!

Bug... 'Out!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

X - Marks the Spot! My Top 10 Video Game Secrets

All gamers are guilty of this at some stage, the temptation is just too strong. You can't beat that level 6 boss whatever you do, you can't just put the damn bugger down. You desperately want to see what happens next, so impatience getting the better of you, you swallow your pride and morals and search for that elusive cheat to aid you. Back in my gaming heyday, (those days are long since gone!) cheat codes and secret activation procedures were not found instantly by the glace of a website or the click of a smartphone, they were found by old skool methods. Trial and error was a major technique but game magazines held a whole host of cheating treasures within there pages for you to try out. Later on came the code-hack cartridges such as the Game Genie and Action Reply. None of these are hardly used today except for the stalwart word-of-mouth, which is abundant over the online gaming forums. Here is a list of the cheats that helped me out, or just to mess with the game for larks. My top 10 video game secrets, X marks the spot for the secret...
Vampire killers can walk on clouds. So it seems
#10 Super Castlevania IV Invisible Platform - (SNES) One of the hardest parts of the game can be made a lot easier by getting powered up to the max just before: After defeating the 3 final stage bosses before Dracula himself, most players will be damaged and low on weapon ammo. To fix this your have take a leap of faith. Just before you enter Dracula's throne room there is a screen where you can see the horizon behind. Jump off the platform into thin air and you will land on an invisible platform. Walk to the far left, and from the heavens will drop all the power ups to bring you to maximum strength. Walk back using the method of stair climbing to go up an invisable staircase and jump back onto the platform and onto face Drac's.

#9 Sim City Money Cheat - (SNES version) To gain a maximum amount of spending money removing the need for fund management do the following: Switch off auto budget and spend all the money, Set all of the tax and funding levels to 0%. When the annual tax screen appears hold down L, and continue via the 'Go With Figures' button. Back in the game screen, continuing to hold L, press X  to skip to January of the next year. Re-enter the tax setting from the main menu and put all of your funding levels back up to 100% and leave the tax level at 0%. Select 'Go with figures' again and proceed to the game screen. Release L and your cash balance should show a whopping $999,999. This can be repeated if you require it again.

#8 Blood Code for Mortal Kombat - (Mega Drive/Genesis version) Although the Nintendo port of the original Mortal Kombat was closer to the coin-op, it was completely devoid of the gore that the game is famous for. The Sega version was not so hampered with this code that let the blood flow!: In the Code of Honor screen, enter the sequence A B A C A B B. If this is done right, the text will turn yellow and Scorpion's voice will mutter 'Get Over Here!'

#7 The Warp Whistles of Super Mario Bros 3 - (NES) Use these little blighters to skip worlds without taking the hard route. 3 whistles are to be found, 2 in World 1 and 1 in World 2: For the first whistle progress through level 1-3 until you come across a white block (there's a red Koopa on it). Kill the Koopa Troopa, and stand on the white block and duck down for a few seconds, you will fall behind the clock into the scenery. Run to the end of the level unchallenged and you will be taken to a Mushroom House where there is a treasure chest containing the whistle. Whistle 2 is found in the first fortress, make sure you are Racoon Mario. Progress until you see the ceiling open. From here take a run and fly up to land on top of the ceiling. You won't be able to see yourself, but run to the end and then press up. You'll appear in a secret room with a treasure chest which contains the warp whistle. Whistle 3 can be found when you beat one of the Boomerang Bros in World 2, he leaves behind a Hammer when defeated. Use the Hammer on the top right corner of the map to pave way to a secret path going to the right. There you'll fight the Fire Bros, beat then and hiding in this part to acquire the last whistle.

With double the amount of cat lives, Mario was confident
#6 Super Mario World Top Secret Area - (SNES) Get all the power up's you need on call, including Yoshi at any time buy accessing this area: Make sure you are equipped with a cape. In the Ghost House on the Donut Plains, run to the far edge of the first platform, then run back and take flight up the left side of the screen. You will land on the top of the ceiling. Being careful of the ghosts run all the way to the right. You will drop into a chamber with a door to access the Top Secret Area.

#5 Mario Kart Ghost Valley 1 Mega-Jump - (SNES) Get a last chance to take the lead and win with this dangerous but rewarding shortcut. This can be done two ways: Method one is to get a feather and just before the last corner after the jump there is a narrow path ahead. Use the feather to jump onto this and sharply turn straight onto the finish line. Method two is tricky, but looks spectacular  Have a boost mushroom, and just before the jump of the same corner use it. If timed right, you will jump over and onto the narrow path, again pull a sharp turn to cross the finish line.

#4 Starfox Black Hole & Out of the Dimension Access - (SNES) Two secret routes here, one for reaching the final planet quickly, one for messing about and pissing the population of Corneria off: For the Black Hole, play the first course asteroid level. During the stage, you will come across lines of spinning asteroids with a shoot-able one in the middle. Get as close as possible to each line before destroying them. When all have been removed, an asteroid with a face should appear. Shoot this until the black hole appears, and fly into it. In the Black Hole, take the third ring to exit straight to planet Venom. To play Out of the Dimension, make sure you have maximum laser power playing the third course. On the asteroid stage, you will find two large asteroids. Shoot the one on the right and a large bird will appear. Fly into this bird and you will be taken to the hidden stage. Be Warned, this is for a laugh only and you will be trapped in this level no matter what you do.

#3 Street Fighter 2 Player vs Player Code - (SNES) A classic code for the original world warrior. This lets you play as the same character in vs mode and gain alternate coloured attire: When the Capcom screen appears right at the start, quickly press Down R Up L Y B X A. The chord will sound and the background will turn blue. Now you can play a buddy with the same character.

#2 Grand Theft Auto 3 Weapons Cheat - (PS2) There are many different codes for this, from changing the weather to causing people to riot. However my most used and useful was the way to get all weapons without finding them: In the normal game screen, enter this sequence oR2, R2, L1, R2, Left, Down, Right, Up, Left, Down, Right, Up. You should now have all available weapons and fully charged.

Ryu and Ken had started legal action upon seeing this
#1 Megaman X Hadoukens - (SNES) My top pick because it combines to great franchises with one. However, it is rather complicated and long winded: A lot of groundwork revolves around this, firstly make sure you have all the weapons and items. Then make sure all energy levels are powered to the max. This takes time. Complete the Armadillo with a full bar of energy, get to the far upper ledge and by jumping off the cart and climb up. Jump off the side and kill yourself. Do this again another 4 times until you see a chamber on the ledge. Enter it to receive the hadouken power. To use the fireball, perform it in the same way as Ryu does in Street Fighter 2; Down and facing direction and fire.

Wow! who would have thought the X list would have been the longest so far! Hope you find this information helpful, but remember, cheating never prospers. Well, only in gaming it does. With only 2 letters left of the A to Z challenge  I get a bit lazy now and hand The NovaBug-Blog over to the writers of The Pixel Empire as guest bloggers. I like to keep things fresh here. They will enlighten your day with their top picks within a specific gaming topic. 

Bug... 'Out!

Friday, 26 April 2013

W - Wicked Weapons! My Top 10 Weapons in Video Games

Some people may not like this, but the fact of the matter is many video games include violence, and with said violence comes weaponry. This may be slapstick, extreme, mild or horrific and it's the weapons that help shape the style of any aggression. Fantastic and futuristic guns, madcap explosive fruit or magical swords, these weapons can become a signature part of the game they belong if they are that memorable. From classic hand combat tools to white-hot laser bolts, here is my top 10 best weapons as seen in video games. Remember, this list like all the others is compiled from my personal game-playing experiences, so no moaning that Half-Life's gravity gun is not present. I ain't played it! Ker-Blam!
Today's shipping forecast: Laser rain predicted
#10 Megacrush - We all know of the air forces term air-stike? Rockets fall from the heavens aplenty causing blanket destruction. The pilots of UN Squadron have this, but with blue lasers instead. A single shot of a rather hefty looking missile into the sky, and it's raining down doom of all the enemies within sight in seconds. Strangely, this has no effect on your own craft. What a coincidence. The Megacrush however is a great screen-clearer when things get a little too busy, and the SFX it makes sounds like shrieking laser on burning metal. Bring the rain!

#9 Gravity Well - While to run around the mazes and chambers of Quake, chance upon this bad boy and you instantly have a wild card. Cornered by monsters? Surrounded by opponants? Why not drop this spinning singularity and watch as they all get sucked into oblivion. Remember to keep a safe distance though, unlike the Megacrush this won't hesitate to chew you up into tiny particles either. Black holes aren't picky.

#8 BFG - Big F**king Gun! Many an adolescent giggled at the prospect of holding a giant electrical discharge gun called the BFG in FPS classic Doom, and my word did it pack a punch. One shot, and everything in front of you to annihilated, even if you miss a target. Heavy and cumbersome, it's power makes up for it's bulk. It's even puts the fear of god into the game engine, slowing and stuttering the frame rate. A memorable piece of kit for all reasons positive and negative.

#7 Mana Sword - The most powerful weapon in the land of Mana, the only thing that can lay damage to the Mana Beast, but it's a bloody tricky thing to wield. First you have to be armed with the Dragon Buster sword, and then 2 spells must be cast on the sword to create the ultimate weapon of choice for a Mana Knight. This effect lasts for merely seconds too, so make every hit count once you have it. Fabled and spoken about throughout the story of Secret of Mana, you cannot beat the game without it, so mastering it's power is vital. Tricky, but massively powerful. 

Light-sabers have nothing on me
#6 Soul Reaver - You get 2 for the price of 1 win this spectral and thirsty weapon, and you must learn to control it, because otherwise it will control you. A weapon with a life force, the physical blade looks ancient  menacing and damaging, while it's spectral counterpart devours the souls from those it slays. Adaptive, lightweight and unbreakable, it's not easy to beat dead or alive but must be used sparingly as it will feed of all creatures souls if it needs to. It would be a great conjuring trick at Halloween parties.

#5 Tanya's C4 - It's just an explosive charge, so what you say? In the hands of special agent Tanya Adams, it's a game changer and possible base destroyer in Command and Conquer 2 Red Alert. Once you have sneaked Ms Adams into an enemy base, she get set the C4 in all buildings, blowing them up and uttering ruining the day for the opposing general. When used right, this is devastating, wiping out whole bases in seconds. This makes it a strong option when playing the game multi-player. Shake it Baby!

#4 Buster Sword - A lot of hand weapons in games appear impossible to pick up let alone wield around in graceful but deadly movements, and the fabled Buster Sword is one of them. It's not the strongest, not the most deadly or best looking, but it makes a big statement  Cloud Strife is on the case! With a blade the size of a modest scaffold plank, it just shows how much power Cloud has, even to just lift it up. It's also of course an iconic image from Final Fantasy VII, more so than many weapons depicted in the series, so while it may not be massively powerful it has vast psychological importance.

#3 Red Koopa Shell - Fate seems to deal a crap hand whenever you are desperately after one of these cracking blighters. There's that annoying gimp Toad in front, a quick red shell up his jack-see and you are the winner. Hurrah! However, you get a feather. Useless. If you have been living in a cave, this is from the Mario Kart series; effectively a homing missile to bash your rival racers out of the way and the best and most useful weapon in the game. Lightening, I here you say? Pah! Lasts seconds and rarely shows up. Grab that red shell and bully your way to the finishing line.

#2 Banana Bomb - High in potassium and popular with primates, slipping on this banana skin would be a fatal mistake. Aside from the uncontrollable sheep-bomb, this is that most zany, amusing and devastating weapon in the Worms armory. As easy to launch as a normal grenade, the BB has the ability to wipe out entire teams and half of the landscape to boot. It's makes the screen shake and even the PlayStation itself jumps in astonishment at such a potent fruit. This one is not in my five-a-day.

Seeing where you are going was a
challenge for all R-Fighter pilots
#1 The Force - Nope, no Star Wars crapola here. This merely stole the name of the all-binding essence of life. I'm talking about the weapon which changes strengths at the players choice, a weapon which can work independently from it's operator, a weapon which is indestructible! Fix this to your R-Type fighter and your are good to go blast away the Bydo, shame they didn't make the R craft out of the same stuff goes the old argument, but this is impossible. The Force can be controlled remotely, act as a shield, fire behind and harbour immensely powerful projectile weapons. How can it do this? It's actually organic material the same as the Bydo's DNA structure, and manipulated with mechanical add on's. In other words, hard! This gets my number 1 bad-ass weapon, as it simply cannot be beaten by any enemy. Awesome!

Boom! Lay down your guns and take a break. Phew, only 3 letters left in the A to Z challenge now, and I must admit X and Z are rather spurious. But hey, it's all a good old read I hope. I have a few secrets to tell you about on the next post, X-citing eh? X, as always, marks the spot!

Bug... 'Out!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

V - Vicious Villains! My Top 10 Video Game Antagonists

Bad guys have all the fun don't they? Well, not when they are on the receiving end of a butt-kicking that has concluded many a video game. They come in all forms, man or machine, or a mixture of both, but what makes a truly evil, memorable and strong villain? I have battled many a so-called boss, and some really do make a mockery of the word 'Nemesis', providing little challenge or personality. These guys however are the reverse of that, my top 10 video game villains. Not merely based of the fight they give you, but a general judgement of their persona, legacy and impact on popular culture derived from gaming. Prepare to see the guest list for today's meeting at Insane Anonymous...

Metal bike saddles make perfect stand-in shoulder pads.
#10 M Bison - Many of the characters from the Street Fighter games are well remembered, and second in the fame game only to primary protagonist Ryu is the evil warlord M Bison. As the final opponent to beat, he was damn hard to get the better of. Like all top bad guys he's got powers beyond your's; his infamous Psycho-Crusher move put many people to death, and a powerful throw move which can't be blocked. Bison appears in nearly all Street Fighter games, is a key part of many of the characters storylines and is relentless in his quest to control the world. A demonic figure of evil which the game feeds off.

#9 Ruby & Emerald Weapon - So, who knows where and what these guys are? Well, these two behemoths are optional bosses in Final Fantasy VII, far harder to vanquish then even the end game boss (I'll speak about him later), but beating them is enormously satisfying. On first play however, encountering Emerald under the sea by accident was common,  who then proceeds to batter you and your party in a split second. Ruby on the other hand is like a shot in the dark. Hit that tiny red spot in the desert, and he will either ruin you instantly like Emerald, or will take hit after hit, not really doing much before dealing a single fatal blow. Both these guys require you to be at near maximum ability to even stand a chance, to have lady luck on your side and be equipped with certain items, otherwise it will be game over. They are also friggin' mahoosive beasts too!

#8 Dobkeratops - One of the most used gaming images of the early nineties, this is like the Alien xenomorph's deformed loony relation. He greets you with a cheery grin and a whipping tail at the end of R-Type's first level, and although he's not that difficult to kill, the Bydo keep giving him re-birth in all the R-Type games, becoming an emblem of the series. His image has also been copied and altered from other games too, so despite being a first level boss, he has massive longevity and fear factor.

#7 Thanatos - The main antagonist in Secret of Mana, this guy is an elusive, dangerous and arrogant little tyke. He likes to miss-direct you, possess your friends and foes alike, create zombie-like followers and claim he is the bringer of order to the planet; by trying to destroy it. He's also a dab hand at deceptive appearances. Wearing a skull mask for the entire game, casting spells and what not, he seems very weak physically. Only in the final showdown you see his true form, and by jingo it's scary and very tough. Not only that, but once you have beaten him you have to then fight another battle without chance of recovery. Git!

#6 Albert Wesker - This is a man who likes to dip all ten of his fingers and thumbs deep into the dirt, and has a list of wrongdoings as long as the Resident Evil franchise itself. He appears in all RE's up til the fifth installment whereas he finally meets his doom. But before this he manages to be a double agent, a scientist, a superhuman and able to twist many a fool around his dirty fingers. Cunning and deceitful, a rather nasty piece of work.

#5 Dr Ivo 'Eggman' Robotnik - With a staying power that rival's only the king of the Koopa's, Dr Eggman has shown up to take over the world in all of Sonic the Hedgehogs adventures to date. Self-delusional about his own intelligence, obsessed with machinery and forever trying to change the world into his own person heaven. Sonic has always put him in his place, but he's still comes back for more with ever more manic and sinister schemes. However, I can still never take him seriously sporting Gio Compario's moustache! 

Even Trinny and Susannah would struggle here
#4 Kefka Palazzo - Think of Batman. You know The Joker yeah? Right, take The Joker, mix him with another psycho, say... Steven King's It. Add a load of paint, harlequin trinkets and pomp, and the result is the utterly mental, conniving and provocative nonsense talking jester that is Kefka Palazzo. Appearing in Final Fantasy VI and several FF spin-off titles, this man makes The Joker look positively sane and reasonable. When he's not laughing like a hyena on acid, he's producing evil magic and generally causing as much mayhem as possible. Creepy mo-fo!

#3 Revolver Ocelot - One of the most recurring villains in the Metal Gear Solid series, Ocelot does not just simper off oh no. With a backstory more complicated than the trigonometric's of space, let's not dwell on that. But his highlights included infiltrating the group FOXHOUND, specialising in torture and intimidation, having connections to the US president and receiving his former bosses' hand to replace him own which he lost. (which, in due course he gets possessed by said bosses hand. As you do.) This is a man with a ton of baggage, but ol' Shalashashka still pulls off a cool, witty and menacing gait. And he use's a Colt 45 Peacemaker was his weapon of choice. Nice.

#2 Bowser/King Koopa - We should all know this guy, the leader of the evil tortoises, the king koopa himself, Bowser. Making appearances in almost every Mario title, he is constantly abducting princesses willy-nilly, imprisoning toadstool-like beings and generally trying to rule over every weird and wonderful land possible. He has huge tenacity, never being beaten down for long, he always gets up and goes yet again to foil our hero plumber. He has a vast range of skills; from fire breathing to flying, he makes a good case for himself as an ever present antagonist. He is however, beatable with ease a lot of the time, but you cannot knock is commitment to personal dictatorial cause.

Sephiroth was pleased with the fireproof shampoo results
#1 Sephiroth - When life deals you a pretty dodgy hand to begin with, you kind of get the feeling things are not going to turn out all fine and dandy. Infused with alien DNA in the womb as part of an experiment, the madness and  power of Sephiroth runs so deep that it's almost normal. It is to him anyway, convinced he his bound to greatness by achieving a god-like status. Mad as a box of mad  frogs, he makes clever and convincing mind-bending speeches, is a specialist in many forms of combat, has the ability to brazenly murder young women and then smile about it afterwards. A real nasty, vicious, but mesmerising bad guy. From his first appearance in Final Fantasy VII, has pops up now and then to give anybody who stands in his way a hard time, and all these mean attributes make him my number 1 choice as the best video game villain. 

So, who predicted that? Ok, well done. With a hack and a slash and a nutty giggle that ends my top 10 video game villains. Do you agree with my choices, or do you have a suggestion I may have overlooked? I'm pulling out the big guns tomorrow, literally, as W is for Weapons. The top 10 most hardcore or usual weapons in video games. Blam Blam!