A year after the well-received Formula 1 hit the PlayStation, Bizarre Creations proved that their apparent skill in creating great racing games wasn’t just a fluke — because they made another Formula One game, and it was even better.
Formula 1 97 hit store shelves in September of 1997, a month before the 1997 racing season came to a close. While development ran fairly smoothly — and apparently legendary commentator Murray Walker was so impressed with the game that he signed an exclusive agreement with Sony to provide commentary for another two years — Psygnosis and Sony ran into legal issues with the sport’s various governing bodies after the game launched, and ended up having to repackage, rename and rerelease the game.
Thankfully none of that matters now, and Formula 1 97 still provides an enjoyable racing experience for both arcade racer fans and more dedicated petrolheads. So let’s take a closer look!
So far here on Fatal Rewind: A Bizarre Creations Retrospective, we’ve seen how Martyn Chudley and, subsequently, a team of able assistants, commanded a solid technical mastery over the hardware they were working on, producing beautiful looking games that played well.
Today, we reach a significant milestone in the history of the company and their games, because it marks the point at which Chudley and his team became Bizarre Creations, the name under which they worked up until their untimely demise in 2011.
It also marks the first time they worked on a type of game that would come to be seen as their particular specialism: the accessible but realistic racing game, straddling the line between arcade game and simulation. Let’s look at Formula 1, released for PlayStation in 1996.
Final Fantasy V, despite being one of the most mechanically solid installments in the series, doesn’t get a ton of love — partly because it got localised very late; partly because the quality of those localisations has varied considerably over time; and partly because in the grand scheme of the franchise as a whole, it’s comparatively bastard hard.
After many, many years of saying “I should probably beat Final Fantasy V sometime”, I am finally working on that goal — specifically by playing it on my totally normal, pristine and absolutely definitely completely stock PlayStation Classic that my brother rather generously bought me for Christmas. (More on all that another day, I feel.) And I thought Lenna — or “Reina” as she’s called in the version of Final Fantasy V I’m playing — was deserving of some love.
So let’s give her some love. Our pink-haired princess is one of Final Fantasy’s most capable heroines, so it’s high time she saw some appreciation, I say!
Well, today we’re looking at the official sequel to Star Luster. It took a very long time to show up, being a title for the original PlayStation, but it was most certainly worth the wait. Star Ixiom brings us strategy and action that remains true to the original Star Luster’s format, while incorporating plenty of Namco fanservice from the UGSF series. You can read more about it here.
Let’s take a moment to catch up. Star Luster is a space combat game by Namco, originally released for Famicom in 1985. Despite it being an obvious homage to an incredibly popular Western game — Atari’s Star Raiders — it never came West.
35 years later, Star Luster finally got a worldwide release as part of the Namco Museum Collection 1cartridge for Blaze’s Evercade retro gaming system. This was my first contact with a game that I ended up absolutely loving — and after looking into it further, I was surprised to discover it got a sequel for PlayStation in 1999. A sequel which got a fairly middling reception because the press of the time compared it unfavourably to its rough contemporary Colony Wars — and, of course, because relatively few people in the West had any clue that Star Luster existed.
35 years after the release of Star Luster and 21 years after the release of its sequel, I find myself in possession of a copy of that sequel: Star Ixiom, a game I’ve been looking forward to playing since I was first blown away by Star Luster’s sheer playability. So let’s take a look at what this space-based blastathon has to offer — and how well it holds up today.
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards I’ve devised in collaboration with the community to celebrate the sorts of things that never get celebrated in end-of-year roundups! Find out more here — and feel free to leave a suggestion on that post if you have any good ideas!
Today’s award comes from the fact that the PlayStation turned 25… err, yesterday, actually, but near enough.
It’s pretty fair to say that the original PlayStation was a defining influence on many gaming enthusiasts’ passion for the hobby, and for a wide variety of reasons. For those who had grown up with earlier systems, the PlayStation marked the moment gaming acquired real mainstream acceptance; for those new to the hobby, it was a platform that played host to a more diverse array of experiences than ever before.
With that in mind, today’s award celebrates a game from the original PlayStation era that I have incredibly fond memories of, not just of the game itself, but of everything going on surrounding it at the time I first experienced it.
Since she makes a guest appearance in today’s episode of Warriors Wednesday, I thought we’d take a closer look at my favourite Dead or Alive girl for today’s Waifu Wednesday.
Kasumi is one of those characters that it’s probably not fashionable to say is your “favourite”, what with her being one of the most prominently seen characters in the series, but I don’t care. I like ninjas, I like thighs and I like redheads.
She’s also an interesting and iconic character with a long history. So let’s explore the real Kasumi.
I thought I’d go classic for this week’s Waifu Wednesday.
I’ll freely admit that it’s been a very long time — far too long, in fact — since I played Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete on PS1, but back when I did play it for the first time, I fell in love. Several times. With the game, with its setting, with Working Designs’ localisation… and with Jessica.
G’day cobbers, it’s time for another MoeGamer Podcast featuring both Me of Here, and Mr Chris Caskie of MrGilderPixels.
The MoeGamer Podcast is available in several places. You can subscribe to my channel on YouTube to stay up to date with both the video versions of the podcast and my weekly videos (including the Atari A to Z retro gaming series); you can follow on Soundcloud for the audio-only version of the podcast; you can subscribe via RSS to get the audio-only version of the podcast in your favourite podcast app; or you can subscribe via iTunes. Please do at least one of these if you can; it really helps us out!
Or you can hit the jump to watch or listen to today’s episode right here on MoeGamer. (I encourage you to watch today’s episode if you have the means to, as there are lots of cool things to look at!)
I always find it interesting to head back to a series’ roots to see what has changed and what has stayed the same over the years.
I was particularly excited to start from the beginning of the Ace Combat series, since it’s one I’ve come to really enjoy in the last few years, and I sense there’s still quite a lot I’ve missed out on.
Would the original PS1 release from 1995 be worth revisiting today, I wondered?