Catching Up

With the usual post-Christmas drought of games upon us I've been trying to catch up with a few titles that got lost in the shuffle. First up was Sphinx, a quirky little platform game that tries really, really hard to be Zelda with a few twists. Aside from that I've also had the opportunity to take Medal of Honor: Rising Sun for a spin and found it to be solid FPS without much in the way of innovation. I haven't finished either game yet but let's take a closer look at them and see if they're worth your time.

Sphinx (PS2, Xbox, GC)


You play the game from the perspective of two characters, one being a cocky demi-god named Sphinx who sports a tail and a light-saberish weapon for taking out the bad guys. He provides the fighting and puzzles typical to the genre although the combat does not offer the "lock-on" system found in other games of this type. Fighting still works fairly with Sphinx but it would have helped to be able to lock onto your targets. The other main character is Tutankhamun, a young Pharaoh turned into a mummy by his older brother as a grab for power. Tutankhamun's levels as a mummy are almost exclusively puzzle work, sneaking and jumping so far with a fair bit of humor mixed in. You see, many of the puzzles involve getting yourself set on fire, squashed or electrocuted to complete them. Setting yourself on fire and then running down a hall screaming and lighting torches is fairly amusing for the first little while.

Like Zelda, Sphinx is linear in story but every level can be returned to with new abilities so you can use newly acquired skills to explore further. New abilities like double jumping, a blow gun, a hook that allows you zip up and down ropes and other such staples. Also like Zelda, NPC's all speak with text only and the two main characters don't say a word which saves us from potentially poor voice acting but it also hinders the world building a bit. The graphics are colorful, bright and look pretty good, especially in the supported 720P mode although most of the areas are a bit more sparse than I'd like.

If you're looking for a plaformer in the  tradition of Zelda 64 with some quirks Sphinx could make a good buy once it drops in price if it hasn't already.

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2, Xbox, GC)

I can tell you right off the bat that Rising Sun doesn't break much in the way of new ground from what we saw in Medal of Honor: Frontline. Same engine, same punchy intro level and fairly heavy on the scripted events. That being the case, it's still a solid FPS console experience if you've got room in your life for another WWII title. The controls are functional, the weapons are many and the graphics do the job although the engine is starting to show its age at this point. I tried a bit of split-screen coop and it's essentially the single player campaign without the plot and in-mission dialog. They kind of assume you've played through once in the single player mode and know what you're supposed to be doing. Coop works and like any game it's quite a bit of fun but again, nothing new for the genre.

My only real complaint is that the first few missions strap you into rail shooting mode where all you have to do is point and shoot. It's not very compelling and it feels too much like filler to be enjoyable. Aside from that niggle, MOH: Rising Sun is a solid game and worth picking up if you want a second (third, fourth or maybe fifth) helping of WWII action. Very vanilla.

- Certis

Comments

Mmmmm....Vanilla

Oh, and I really enjoyed Sphinx. Some really nice level design...shame the production values/polish weren't up to the same quality, but a nice game nonetheless. Worth a look if you're already done with Beyond Good & Evil.

I just got home with R-Type Final. Oh my god I can't say enough good things about it.

Co-op's good?

SOLD.

The wife and I can move on to that after Baulder's gate II.

Cool!