International Track and Field (PS1) review – 60 Second Gamer 13

After their Track and Field games achieved success in the 1980s, Konami resurrected the series in 3D on the PS1. This is International Track and Field. Oh yes. While it lacks any long term replay value in single player, there is much to be said for the multiplayer side of the game. This is where you’re likely to put in the most hours, and cause yourself the most injuries. Button bashing games require a certain temperament to avoid inflicting serious injury, shall we say.

There’s no official olympic licence here, but it looks the part. There’s no clutter and it’s easy enough to know what you’re expected to do in each event. There’s a pure simplicity to the setup, one that is easy to appreciate almost 20 years after its release.

Frantic four player action follows as you try to best each other across 11 different olympic events, button bashing to achieve the position of number one in the world. That you are fighting for this ranking is repeated at the start of every single event. Yes, thank you, we got it the first time.

Controls are a simple combo of two or three buttons, which are easy to learn but increasingly difficult to master. And that’s it, really. Once you’ve mastered each event it’s just a case of trying to beat your previous best score. This can delight and annoy in equal measure, especially if you think the game is cheating you out of a number one ranking. Here’s a hint: it probably isn’t.

If you have a copy of the game still lying around and three friends to compete against, International Track and Field still holds up today. And who wouldn’t want to find out if they’re number one in the world? We know we would. And then find out we’re not very good at all.

The Iron Man Show – Episode 05

Episode 05 of the Iron Man Show Wrestling Podcast covered the following topics:

Challenge – Who will be picked for the 2017 Hall of Fame?

Old Man Joey is challenged with predicting the entrants for the 2017 Hall of Fame. Come back in just under a year to see if he got it right.

Main Event Jobber – WCW Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

Simon made a mistake by suggesting this main event – he actually meant the Tower of Doom match from Great American Bash 1988. Still, we watched the Bunkhouse Stampede main event which saw Dusty Rhodes, Arn Anderson, The Barbarian, The Warlord, Tully Blanchard, Ivan Koloff, Lex Luger and Road Warrior Animal competing in a steel cage match.

King of the Ring Tournament – Best Announcer

A new feature this week. We start a King of the Ring style tournament to determine who is the best ring announcer ever. For obvious reasons Jim Ross (JR) is not included in the tournament. So you could say we’re looking for the second best announcer. The first half of the bracket is covered.

Botch to Broadway – Spring Stampede 1999

We watched WCW Spring Stampede 1999, supposedly the last of the decent WCW PPV events. We cover every match on the card

Tag Team War – Ax or Smash (not Crush)

Another new feature. We discuss tag teams from the past and pick which of the two was the better wrestler, or the better entertainer. This week it’s Demolition, the bondage wearing three time tag team champions. Again, for obvious reasons we did not include Crush in this discussion.

King of the Ring Tournament – Greatest Intercontinental Champion

This is the same sort of thing as the Best Announcer tournament, but for the IC title. This week we cover the first half of the bracket.

Did you like the episode? Leave us a review on iTunes. Want to share your thoughts, or have a feature you’d like us to discuss on the show? Contact us through Twitter or drop an email through to us at randomstoat@gmail.com.

The show is available for download on iTunes, Stitcher, and your podcatcher of choice. Search of “Iron Man Wrestling Show” on those services to find us.

50 Cent: Bulletproof (PS2) review – 60 Second Gamer 12

Have you ever wanted to be a hip hop superstar, but lacked the bling, gold teeth and thug life attitude to do it? Then fear not! Because 50 Cent: Bulletproof might just be the game you’re looking for. Unless, you know, you don’t want to be a hip hop superstar. If that’s the case then you’re better off playing Tetris or something that’s not likely to get your pulse going.

After being shot up and left for dead, Fiddy, as he’s known to his friends, kills and maims loads of bad guys on his quest for revenge. Helped by Eminem (aka bent cop McVicar) and the G-Unit, he discovers chairs facing beds, huge wads of cash lying around, and the strange dead eyed stare of comrades and enemies alike. Is there hidden symbolism behind all of this? Nobody knows for sure.

But what about the game itself? Aiming is slow and awkward, with you pumping more bullets into the scenery than you do at your numerous enemies, and character models are repeated. Again and again and again.

Objectives are hidden in the menu, which is typical for the era but it means you stop and start more than is necessary, ruining any flow that you try to build. Who wants to stare at a digital replica of a digital smartwatch when there are thugs to kill?

On the positive side, the counter-kills and focus deaths are fun, but they can be quite fiddly to achieve, especially when you have goons (no, not them) shooting at you. Auto lock-on would have been useful. It’s either that or we were just not very good at playing the game. It’s probably the latter.

The story might be solid and gritty, but the poor objective setting and fiddly controls spoil an otherwise solid effort.

The Iron Man Show – Episode 04

The Iron Man Show – Episode 04 saw “The Real Deal” Simon Prior, The Fallen Angel and Old Man Joey cover the following:

1. Iron Man Show – Episode 04: Latest Pro Wrestling News

The death of the 9th Wonder of the World Chyna dominated most of our news section this week. We also referenced the death of ECW Original Balls Mahoney. Both were lost before their time

Our news section also, briefly, covered the lawsuit that Rene Dupree had raised against WWE. The lawsuit was promptly dropped after WWE revealed Dupree had signed a contract agreeing that his likeness could be used. That was pretty much it – we didn’t want to give him any more coverage than was absolutely necessary. Can anybody remember exactly what he did, anyway? No, thought not.

2. Overrated or Underrated – Rob van Dam

This week’s over or under rated wrestling superstar was Rob van Dam. Was he a bonafide legend in his time? Or was he simply overrated, capable of flexibility and a couple of moves and that’s it. Well, anything is possible in the Iron Man Show!

3. Challenge – 5 Best Matches of… The Ultimate Warrior

“The Real Deal” was given a challenge to pick out the Warrior’s five best matches on the WWE Network. Is this as predictable as you might think? Perhaps. Perhaps. Is his 1991 Body Bag match against the Undertaker a worthy entrant? What about his feuds with Macho Man Randy Savage and Ravishing Rick Rude? All possible entries. See, it is quite predictable.

If you want to contact us about the show, send your email to randomstoat@gmail.com or message us on Twitter @randomstoat. If you enjoy the show, please also leave a review for us on iTunes. However you listen to us, we thank you for your support.

The Sum Of All Fears (PS2) review – 60 Second Gamer Ep11

How do you make a tense action thriller, starring Ben Affleck, translate to a first person video game? Not like this, that’s for certain. He doesn’t even show up, the lazy so and so. What else did he have going on in 2002? Not much.

Controlling a surprisingly out of breath squad of three (just listen to them when they run – hardly at the peak of physical fitness by the sounds of it), your task is to complete eleven missions and take down the bad guys. You can swap out your weapons ahead of each 6-8 minute mission, but as it makes little difference what weapons you use, you can just keep the original load out.

It’s almost too simple on the easiest difficulty setting, with auto lock on aiming removing the need to think about your shot. Just point and fire. Reloading is an automatic process, which can cause issues if you’re locked in a firefight with a room full of bad guys. The last thing you need is for it to start the reloading process when you’re locked in mortal combat (no, not that one). If you switch off automatic aiming, the sluggish controls come to the fore and cause more stress than it’s worth.

There are a few nice touches. If a squad member dies in a mission then it’s game over for them, and they are replaced the next time round. Objectives are clearly signposted, even if the HUD goes a bit mad on occasion. If the real world was like this then we wouldn’t stand a chance.

Ubisoft have let the side down here. A surprisingly poor video game that can be completed in about 90 minutes. Shame, really. A solid Tom Clancy game offers value for money. Just take a look at Ghost Recon or the Rainbow Six series. This, however, does not.

The Iron Man Show – Episode 03

Episode 03 of The Iron Man Show saw us cover the following:

1. Overrated or Underrated? – Ken Shamrock

Our first piece this week sees us decide if “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock was an overrated or underrated performer back in the Attitude era. He wasn’t a man of many words and rarely cut a promo, but as a legitimate MMA star he was one of the first crossover stars to provide an air of realism to the world of sports entertainment.

2. Five Best… Matches – “Double J” Jeff Jarrett

This was always going to be difficult. For starters, Jarrett isn’t known as a great wrestler. Besides his high profile involvement in NWA TNA it’s not easy picking out any specific career highlights. Even so, The Fallen Angel was able to locate five matches on the WWE Network that highlighted Jarrett’s abilities in the ring.

3. John Cena Appreciation…?

John Cena is a wrestler who courts controversy amongst fans. Simon missed most of the era where Cena defeated most of the roster so his opinion is coloured by the last 12 months he has been using the WWE Network. As for The Fallen Angel and Old Man Joey? They have their own opinions about The Prototype.

4. A Journey Through The WWE Network – 1988 in Review

Simon has been watching through every event from 1988 on the WWE Network. He hasn’t quite finished it yet, but so far he’s taken in WCW’s Bunkhouse Stampede, the first couple of Clash of the Champions events, and of course all of the then-WWF’s PPV’s from that year apart from Survivor Series. Was it a good year? Yes and no. The differences between WCW and WWF are quite pronounced. On the one hand you have the big, colourful world of WWF. On the other, WCW’s good versus bad, much more realistic approach to storytelling.

5. Wrestlemania 33 Fantasy Card

Our final segment sees Old Man Joey provide a fantasy card for next year’s Wrestlemania. Who will he decide deserves a place on the card for the granddaddy of them all?

If you want to contact us about the show, send your email to randomstoat@gmail.com or message us on Twitter @randomstoat.

Naughty Bear (PS3) review – 60 Second Gamer Episode 10

On paper Naughty Bear is a good idea. A cuddly toy bear, spurned by the other bears around him, goes on a kill crazy rampage to teach them a lesson.

The reality is somewhat less impressive. I know – sad faces all round.

Your role is of course to kill everybody before they can either call the police or make their escape. You have the option to sabotage or destroy escape vehicles, and you can set cunning and occasionally inventive traps to eliminate your targets. You can terrorise the locals and, in extreme cases, cause them to commit suicide. As bright and colourful as this world is, it’s mostly definitely not for kids.

The game mechanics are generally clunky, but you can work your way around them if needed. Each map is much smaller than you’d expect, and repetition is key to progressing through the rest of the game. These baby steps of progression are an exercise in tedium as you replay the same maps over and over again doing something slightly differently each time. Secondary tasks such as destroying balloons or party items are simple distractions that exist solely to add points to your level score.

But there are positives, as few as they are. The quick time event death sequences are imaginative, depicting extreme violence in a world where teddy stuffing replaces blood and gore. Naughty Bear is followed everywhere by an omniscient narrator similar to the type seen in children’s television shows, who cheerfully shouts out the type of kill each time. We had great fun trying to see all of the various death sequence animations, which are context based depending on the weapon you’re holding and what inanimate objects you happen to be stood next to.

It’s a mixed bag of positives and negatives, leaving you with a game that could have been incredible but was instead merely okay.

Before you ask – there isn’t an option to apply a defluffication death on the Narrator, unfortunately. That might have made it all worthwhile.

The Iron Man Show – Episode 02

This week’s episode of The Iron Man Show (available at the end of this post) features discussions on the following topics:

1. Recap of Wrestlemania 32, WWE Raw on 04 April 2016, and the first NXT show after Takeover Dallas.

Most of this show is dedicated to a discussion on the biggest show of the pro wrestling calendar, Wrestlemania 32. We analyse each match from the pre-show to the WWE Title main event, and throw our opinions into the mix. We then briefly talk about the first Raw after Wrestlemania, and NXT episode 329, which was almost exclusively a Takeover Dallas recap. The middle of the show has a solid face-off between Apollo Crews and Elias Samson, which suggests there are good things ahead for both men.

2. Botch to Broadway – ECW Barely Legal 1997.

The first ECW PPV in 1997 was a landmark event for the company, a true indication that they were on their way to entering the big leagues. As history tells us, that ultimately wouldn’t be the case, but looking back you can see the potential the brand had. It’s rough and ready around the edges, certainly, but on the whole it acts as a good advertisement for the brand.

Matches vary from freestyle tag team madness to the blood-soaked violence that ECW is most known for. But in the middle are some solid technical wrestling bouts and a solid Michinoku Pro Wrestling triple tag match. The less said about Shane Douglas vs Pitbull 2, the better.

3. Main Event Jobber – ECW December to Dismember 2006: The Extreme Elimination Chamber main event.

The six competitors in this match were Hardcore Holly, Rob Van Dam, CM Punk, Bobby Lashley, Test and defending champion The Big Show. To say it’s painful to endure would be an understatement. Bad booking and mostly unimpressive performances put this in the “watch once, never again” camp. The only saving grace is CM Punk and a couple of good spots from RvD. On the strength of this event it’s no wonder that ECW’s PPV matches were added to WWE’s normal monthly events.

If you want to contact us about the show, send your email to randomstoat@gmail.com or message us on Twitter @randomstoat.

Mr Bean (PS2) review – 60 Second Gamer 09

This will come as a surprise to our regular viewers, but the *Mr Bean* game on PS2, released by Blast Entertainment, isn’t that bad. I know, I was surprised too.

Based on the animated Mr Bean TV series, you must save Teddy who has been kidnapped. Working your way through a number of garden-themed platforming levels, you have to work your way around a variety of enemies (dogs, bees, old women) whilst avoiding fatal pits of doom. On your journey you must also collect special jigsaw pieces which are locked inside treasure chests dotted around each level. By collecting all of the jigsaw pieces you can then unlock the door that leads to the sewers and the resolution of the game. For completionists you can collect cat biscuits on each level, but this is perhaps best saved for the masochists out there. They’re not all that easy to pick up.

It’s not all happy sailing though. More often than not the camera is too close to Mr Bean, meaning you collide with enemies and damage-inflicting objects all too frequently. Judging perspective of a jump can be difficult, but thankfully if you die you just return to the last checkpoint you activated. Still, it doesn’t stop the increasing frustration as you misjudge the timing of your jump over and over again.

Other problematic areas include the weapons, which are ineffective at best. In a kid friendly move, the big spray, frying pans and so on only stun your enemies rather than kill them. It also gets annoying when you find a sign telling you what to do every few steps. Do it on the first level perhaps, but is there much need for it after that? No. The answer is no.

There are a couple of mini games to distract you from the platform game, namely Vac-a-Mole and jigsaw puzzles. Vac-a-Mole is activated through mole-shaped garden statues and does what it says on the tin. Armed with a vacuum, you run around the garden vacuuming up rogue moles. Achieve the target score and you’ll be given bonus items that will help you in the main game. These are nothing special and can easily be collected as you progress through each level.

We encountered an issue with these levels as they had a tendency to crash the game. As such, because you need to construct a jigsaw puzzle to unlock the sewer the game kept crashing before we could finish and unlock a change of scenery.

One day we might get a copy of the game that lets you play to the finish, although we can’t imagine there will be that much left to explore.

Post-Wrestlemania Hangover

By The Fallen Angel

Well it is that time of year again when as a wrestling fan you have to look forward into the dark abyss (certainly no wrestling pun intended) of the early summer low point in wrestling and question your allegiance to the puppet master Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Yes just one week ago I could not help but break randomly into the intro tunes to WWF Wrestlemania (see dreadful music from 1993 / Linda McMahon’s entrance music 2000) and was stuck to the dirt sheets like dried Weetabix to a bowl. I was full of anticipation for the biggest weekend of the year and slightly regretful that I had not invested £3,000 in flying to Dallas, Texas.

The week progressed nicely watch Mick Foley on the PG friendly Steve Austin Podcast. At first this was a real poignant insight into the life and times of a warrior that time and bumps has taken its toll on. The genuine friendship between the two was clear and it was great to see that Mick Foley was now looking after his post wrestling body dropping 50lbs since I last saw him. However, like the arrival of an unwanted ex on a night out my enjoyment was soon to be dashed by the introduction of Mick’s daughter, Noelle.

Can I be the only one who literally wanted this to be the point at which Bill Goldberg made his long awaited WWE return to spear her through the ring ropes and out of the WWE for good? I sat there watching this awkward promotion of her new show Holy Foley and then make the statement that she is training to be a WWE Diva (yes I know, but she is a Diva). At this point my attention was diverted past her to the crowd of this podcast sat behind her and how bored and disappointed they were to be then refocused by what seemed to be Steve Austin’s annoyance of the whole situation. I can’t imagine the show will do more than one series and then she will side step to Total Divas and I will put the whole memory into my Total Crap I pretend the WWE doesn’t produce part of the brain right next to Ride Along.

Feeling a little weary from Thursday along came NXT Take-Over Dallas, Texas. From the opening bell this event did not disappoint with the Tag Team clinic between the Alpha American’s and the Revival. The event was smashed by Sami Zayne and Nakamura before the excellent Women’s title and decent NXT title matches. For a full review on this and the Hall of Fame Ceremony you need to listen to the Ironman Show Episode One.

So time for the Big Show, Wrestlemania (32).

I have been a wrestling fan since Royal Rumble 1990 and my calendar starts and ends with Wrestlemania. My wife knows it, my friends know it and I am sure my sleep patterns know it (in the UK Wrestlemania finished at 4:40am this year. The WWE’s biggest event of the Year (and in fact ever) kicked off with what sounded like an out of tune stirring rendition of America the Beautiful before heading into the Ladder Match for the IC title. A predictable but entertaining ladder match of high points followed with Kevin Owens taking a nasty bump on the ladder before the surprise victory of Zack Ryder ushering in a new era of the IC title setting up a worthwhile run (oh wait – see Raw).

My biggest issue with this opener was could I have discriminated it from the other opening ladder matches and Money in the Banks for the last ten years? Would a triple threat ladder match or a fatal four way with less people allow them to tell a more worthwhile story? Next up Chris Jericho defeated AJ Styles in an excellent match up where hopefully this story will come to an end on what seems to be their 10th fight. AJ now should be able to move on and have several feuds and prove his stock in the company (Oh wait he will be Roman Reign’s first victim at the next PPV).

The WWE tag team championship was not on the line in a losing effort from the New Day against the League of Nations in a match that was simply a set up for a returning HBK, Mick Foley and Steve Austin. In what was a nice bit of nostalgia the three legends picked apart the League of Nations and celebrated temporarily with the New Day until Austin stunned Xavier Woods.

The Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose match was a decent encounter though it was more a simple No DQ than a street fight and I feel it was a shame they didn’t use the opportunity to take the action up the ramp during the biggest Wrestlemania ever. I am expecting big things from Dean Ambrose this year and wouldn’t be surprised if he is headlining next year’s event.

Match of the night in my view goes to the three Women in the Women’s Championship Match as the WWE finally killed the sexist, derogatory Diva’s division. In an awesome display of wrestling and fast paced action the three ladies demonstrated that they are in the same league and if not better than the men on this night with Charlotte pulling out the win (though with a little help from Slic Ric – Wooooo!).

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal saw NXT’s Baron Corban pick up the win cementing him as a credible player before his move to Raw the following night.

Following the Rock’s over the top promo of himself using a flame thrower to wow the crowd. Not really sure of the logic here to be honest, we saw a truly impressive entrance by the Wyatt family. Not due to flame throwers but simply crowd response as 100,000 fire flies lit up the AT+T Stadium to the group’s entrance. The crowd popped like mad and for a while the rock seemed to be setting up something beautiful – an impromptu match with Wyatt.

This then however, took 6 seconds in which Erik Rowan was destroyed as a jobber before matters got even worst by John Cena coming to aid the rock. To make me even more annoyed at this point John Cena didn’t seem pleased to be there. A fact covered up by JBL’s commentary who claimed Cena was not fit enough to be there. I somehow think he is in better shape that DDP, Austin, Mick Foley or Shawn Michaels.

The final match of the evening was Roman Reigns and Triple H. Up until this point I think things were going fine but here as expected the company lost the now exhausted fans. As a viewer at home it was difficult to get into the match when all you are listening to is the crowd. What also was obvious was the editing that was done to reduce the booing that was happening.

I think the match was half decent (not a Wrestlemania standard) but I just couldn’t get into it and if I was in Texas at this point I would have got out to my rental car and avoid the gridlock that would have followed from the 100,000 annoyed fans as Reigns won the match clean over the game.

So now the dust has settled and Wrestlemania is 365 days away. I have no desire to tune in again for a while but I am sure that will change in the next few weeks as each opponent is destroyed by Roman Reigns. However, one thing is for sure – I am happy that imaginary £3,000 stayed in my bank account.