Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
Posted by drew10 on May 4, 2010
Feature – Gaming On A Budget Part 3 Xbox Live Arcade

Feature – Gaming On A Budget Part 3 Xbox Live Arcade

The third part of our quest to uncover the best value for money on your consoles sees us visit the world of Xbox Live Arcade. Hidden in the depths of the vaults at Microsoft are some fantastic gems for you to download and play till your thumbs content. Obviously the one drawback of XBLA is that everything is listed in Microsoft points and not real money so below we will be telling you how much MS points and what the rough cash equivalent is.

Note: Games marked with * are also available on PSN

Alien Breed Evolution – Team 17 have been one of our favourite developers throughout the ages and Alien Breed is one of our favourite titles. You always worry about remakes but this isometric 3D shooter recaptures the intensity of the original and builds on it in every way. Featuring 2 player co-op and some great visual effects, this is one of our favourite XBLA games and at a mere 800 MS points (£6.85) represents great value too.

Battlefield 1943* – Missed from our run-down on PS3 Battlefield 1943 is an online only update of, you guessed it, Battlefield 1942. Up to 24 players can run, shoot, drive and fly a multitude of vehicles from the pacific conflicts of WWII. It all plays beautifully and has been a roaring success. So much so in fact that a new game type called Air Superiority was due to be unlocked when the online gaming community reached a combined total of 43 million kills in Conquest. Xbox 360 players took only 4 days to reach this target. You can pick up 1943 for 1200 MS points, £10.28 in real money!

Bionic Commando Rearmed* – Released as a teaser before the full retail version of the updated Bionic Commando appeared, Rearmed proved to be the better game. A reworking of the original 2D side-scrolling arcade classic, Rearmed featured the originals bionic arm grappling hook, reworked graphics and 2 player co-op. This is how to do a remake! BC Rearmed will set you back 800 MS points (£6.85) and will soon have a sequel!

Braid* – Designed by independent game developer Jonathan Blow, Braid is a critically acclaimed side-scrolling puzzle adventure and a true piece of gaming excellence. In fact, if you haven’t played Braid then you have missed out on one the the 360’s best titles. We know there are some out there who wont play anything without next-gen graphics but those people are missing the fundamental point of our favourite pastime, to play fun, challenging and unique titles. Braid fills all of those criteria. Lovely artwork added to compelling gameplay you need to run, jump, defeat enemies and solve fiendish puzzles. Your character can manipulate time to help him in his quest rolling back mistakes until yu get the timing right on the puzzles. Braid is available for 1200 MS points (£10.28).

Castle Crashers* – Developed by The Behemoth who was also responsible for the excellent Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers is a multiplayer side-scrolling beat-em-up. Featuring 4-player co-op, either locally or online, players can up their skills as they hack and slash their way through the various levels with RPG style upgrades. Castle Crashers has a fantastic art style and is a joy to play, it is soon to be released on PSN but for now 360 owners can enjoy its wonders for 1200 MS points.

Cloning Clyde – One of our all time favourite XBLA titles Cloning Clyde is a side-scrolling platform game that harks back to days of old. You play Clyde a… er… man? Clyde’s mission is to get a certain number of people rescued from each level. Those people are Clyde, yes in Cloning Clyde you have the ability to clone your self using a cloning machine. You then have to solve puzzles to get all of the clones out of the level safely. However, there are certain points in the levels which appear unreachable. Well luckily there are animals around the level that Clyde can pick up and and splice their DNA into his own. Whether it is a chicken in order to help you fly that little bit further or a frog to swim under water, Clyde can morph himself into hilarious hybrids to perform these tasks. Highly recommended especially at 800 MS Points.

Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved – One of the most addictive and infuriating games on the Xbox, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved is a remake of Bizarre Creations original shooter. Originally packaged as a mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2 it took Xbox Live by storm when released as a stand-alone title. Use your little wire-frame ship against swathes of geometrically shaped enemies that increase in numbers as the game goes on. Each enemy has its own pattern of attack and learning these is key to success. Every enemy ship will explode in a colour shower when hit so when the screen gets busy it will make your eyes bleed. The sequel is also available and is good too but in our opinion the original is the better game.

Shadow Complex – Okay so it seems we have had a great many side-scrolling games in this list. What it show’s is that without XBL and PSN it is a genre that would most likely have died out altogether. Luckily it hasn’t as there have been some real gems that we would have missed. One of them is Shadow Complex. Taking much of its inspiration from classics like Mission Impossible and Flashback, the game is set in a pseudo 3D environment, meaning the game world is 3D but your character can only move in a 2D plane. When out backpacking the lead character Jason Flemming and his girlfriend  Jane stumble across a secret base. When Jane is captured Jason proceeds to rescue her and uncovers a plot to bring down the United States. Great action and gadgets galore in what is one of the most accomplished games on arcade. Again 1200 points and it is yours.

Toy Soldiers – Released earlier this year as part of Microsofts Live Arcade House Party event. This is a tower defence game with a difference. For starters as the title suggests the game is played out by model soldiers, secondly once you have placed your units strategically you can take them over and get involved in the action. This also includes piloting models of old Bi-Planes for some aerial dog fighting action. Graphically the game is stylish and original and the game is just good old fashioned fun to play. Well worth the 1200 points asking price.

Marvel vs Capcom 2* – One of the greatest fighting games of all time, Marvel vs Capcom 2 pits a massive roster of the best loved characters from both companies against each other. The ability to swap characters mid-fight adds a tactical element to the action but in essence this is 2D fighting at its very best. Set against pseudo 3D backgrounds MvsC2 still looks the part today and with the addition of online multi-player adding extra value this is a must for beat-em-up fans everywhere. Well worth the 800 MS points.

Super Street Fighter 2 HD Remix* – Another one of Capcom’s classics gets a makeover. SSF2HD brings all of the classic 2D action from Super Street Fighter 2 up to date with a bit of current tech spit and polish. Recently eclipsed by SF4 and SSF4 this is still a game of extreme quality and some players still prefer the mechanics to that of its babies. Well worth a look at only 800 MS points.

The Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition* – Say the words ‘Secret of Monkey Island’ to anyone who owned an Amiga and they will well up with nostalgia. The finest exponent of the point-&-click adventure is back. Reworked with updated graphics and actual voices this is the original in the long line of Monkey Island games that followed. You play Guybrush Threepwood as he seeks to become a pirate and ultimately battle the evil pirate LeChuck. Genuinely funny and looking better than ever, some may find the pace a little slow by today’s standards but a classic is a classic. The game features a neat switch mode where you can hot-swap between the updated game and the original so you can see how things have moved on. 800 MS Points and a gaming legend is yours to enjoy.

Rez HD –Another classic gets the HD treatment. Rez was a revolutionary title when originally released on the Dreamcast blending music and gaming in a way that had never been seen before. The Tron-like graphic style of the 3D on-the-rails shooter was matched only by the fantastic pumping soundtrack. Every time you hit an enemy it creates a sound that interacts perfectly with the music. It creates a sensory and immersive experience that has been copied but never bettered. Not particularly long but for 800 MS points this is well worth the cash, er points, whatever!

Happy Tree Friends: False Alarm – Don’t let the name or graphic style of this game fool you, Happy Tree Friends they might be, a kids game it is not. Based on the flash cartoon of the same name, the basic premise of this puzzle game is to guide the Happy Tree Friends from the left side of a level to the right. It may sound easy but along the way are various traps that can end the happiness in varied and gory ways. Great level design and some over-the-top gory action mean these little dudes make it into our list. 800 MS points.

Trials HD – This started life as a free flash game on the net before turning up last year during the Summer of Arcade event on Xbox Live. For those retro fans out there you could think of this game as a HD re-boot of golden-oldie Kick Start 2. You have to ride your dirt bike through the ever increasingly difficult stunt courses and the only controls are a button to accelerate and the left stick to control your position on the bike. Sounds simple well it is far from that because of the physics, meaning your positioning on the bike has to be spot on. Top notch graphics, wonderfully OTT physics and it takes that just one more go syndrome to a whole other level. All of these points marks this out as one of the standout titles on live and all for 1200 points (it is 800 points for gold subscribers at present but how long that is for we don’t know.)

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