Welcome to The TPS Report, home to video game blogs, mix sets and even the odd piece o' 3D art.

Broke arse student, freelance games reviewer and rambling obsessive that I am, I currently seek work in mags and web sites throughout the world. If you're in a position to make that happen - and like what you see around here - let me know. I've published work with the likes of IGN and Gaming Steve.

-Matt/Diggler

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Future Plans For the Site
28/7/2012 22:31

Preview Time! Games to Look Out For in 2011
8/1/2011 5:54

2010's Games of Shame
6/1/2011 22:47

My Fave Games of 2010!
6/1/2011 20:12

StarCraft II Review - Dig Loveth the RTS!?
7/11/2010 12:48

10 Must-Have iPhone Games
2/6/2010 18:09

A Little Hotlink to An Article I Stuck Up On GiantBomb
21/4/2010 15:01

Aliens Vs Predator is Here! Woo! Oh, Hang On...
6/3/2010 20:58

iPhone Games!
6/3/2010 20:40

WTF? Dig's Getting Hitched!
18/2/2010 23:39

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If interested in discussing writing opportunities for on or offline gaming publications - either UK based or abroad - please contact me via E-Mail. Sparkling CV available on request

 

 

Ninja Gaiden On the Xbox - Hardest Game Ever Made?
Posted by Diggler - 7/9/2004 16:17

Let's just get this out of the way; Ninja Gaiden is hard. Very hard. I'd say it's the toughest fucking game I've ever got through in fact, and I'm proud to say without cheating.

But where there's challenge, there's also satisfaction. After engaging in a life or death duel with any one of the many end of level bosses for hours upon end, and finally landing that killer death blow with zero health left...well, it's a moment of pure joy.

Players assume the role of Ryu. His village ravaged by evil-doers, the game is ultimately - if you hadn't guessed by now - a classic martial arts tale of bloody revenge. In practice this means battling your way through thousands of minions, lopping many a head off, collecting weapons and items, and even solving one or two puzzles.

Michael Dudikoff Eat Your Heart Out

Click to enlarge
The environments in Ninja Gaiden are truly beautiful
What Ninja Gaiden does well, it does really well. The graphics range from impressive to absolutely spunk-tastic. At times it even resembles CGI, with some of the most eye popping animation and special effects you'll find in any game on any system.

Whether it be the glowing blue electrifying ninpo attacks Ryu pulls off, or the glorious views looking out from the top of a mountain village, it harnesses the power of the Xbox like nothing else ever seen. Also, the real end of level CGI sequences manage to rival the kind of Oscar winning efforts seen in modern cartoons from Pixar and company. I could easily watch a whole movie of nothing but these.

Click to enlarge
So desperate to win the jumping contest, Ryu decided to cheat when the judges weren't looking
Ryu's controls are responsive and simple, with breathtaking moves firing off with absolute ease. Yet the more you dig, the deeper it gets. Tons of different melee and ranged weapons are on offer, each with their own combos and specials to master, along with an incredible charge-based power move system. Figuring out how and when to wield each to their full effect proves the true secret to mastering Ninja Gaiden, but I tell ya now, it'll take you an age and half.

Kill Bill Gates

But while it's fun and pretty, Ninja Gaiden is actually quite painful too. The difficulty ramps up so high on some of the levels that you'll come close to grinding your teeth into dust. The first boss fight, a training match against your mentor, is hard enough to put most off, but is absolutely nothing compared to the horse back riding samurai bastard on the following level. Yet this pattern repeats from start to finish; just as you think it can't literally get any tougher, an even bigger bad arse appears from behind him, leaving you shaking in the corner like Michael J Fox.

Click to enlarge
Ryu - the original firestarter
The first fight with Alma in a stunning looking church hall goes down as the downright hardest video game battle I think I'll ever endure in fact, taking me weeks to finally beat. Even though the bosses in her wake were even tougher though, that fight itself had made me skilled enough to defeat them all with comparitve ease.

That's the thing about Gaiden...for all the screaming, shouting and hair pulling from frustration, it actually enhances your skills and reflexes with every bit of progress that you make. A game so tough it actually makes you better at all other games.

Yes, it makes the all-time big arse mistake of punishing the player hugely every time they die, making them retread large parts of the level over and over, but at the same time you never feel cheated - these set backs are always your own fault for fucking up, not vice versa. The game treats you like Pei Mai in Kill Bill 2, smacking you hard with a cain every time you lose focus, forcing you to improve in the process. You simply have to stay at the top of your game at all times, or it's your arse.

The duels you face require genuine skill with that in mind, the block button more often the greatest weapon in your arsenal, and that alone makes it stand out head and shoulders above the average button basher.

To Buy or Not to Buy?

Click to enlarge
That's what Ryu thinks of your cheap lightsaber knock-off
Ninja Gaiden was originally an ancient NES game, actually available as an unlockable bonus here, but I haven't mentioned this until now as it's irrelevant in a way. This is about as cutting edge a beat 'em up as you can find, and it takes the 3D fighting genre to a whole new level.

If you're the kinda guy who completes games in a few days and could always dragon punch Sagat with your eyes closed, then I'm guessing Ninja Gaiden will be the ultimate challenge you've been waiting for. Everyone else will probably snap their controller in anger before beating the first level sadly...but man they'd be missing out on one hell of an experience.

Untitled Document

The Polynomial. Like playing a rave

Untitled Document

Game
Fallout 3

Enjoying a fully modded out re-visit. Wow

Film
The Road

Pretty much due to the above

Show
Breaking Bad

Already shaping up to be the best season yet

Tune
Explosions in the Sky

Easing the pain of living in a post-Friday Night Lights world

Untitled Document

Forums

The TPS Forum
Official boards for the site

RLLMUK Forum
The old Edge forums gone independent. The busiest and most interesting gaming board around, worthy of multiple visits a day

NTSC-UK Forum
Another exceptional gaming forum, featuring one of the friendliest communities on the net, and up to the minute news

NeoGAF
A more US-centric gaming board, with huge piles of traffic and even the odd famous face

Gaming Shows

The 1up Radio Network
1up.com's collection of weekly gaming podcasts, the pick of which would have to be ListenUP, full of juicy rumors and interesting banter week in, week out

Area 5
Formerly The 1up Show, since losing their jobs the old video editing team have continued doing what they do best, in an independent internet-based TV show, covering whatever upcoming games they can get their hands on, and various other bits and pieces

Fully Ramblomatic
A hysterical gaming blogger posting what he calls "zero punctuation" video reviews that have to be seen - and heard - to be believed

A Life Well Wasted
Freelance journalist Robert Ashley's internet radio show, with a far more interesting and professional demeanor than your typical podcast. Interviews, fast-paced editing and catchy tunes abound

On the Spot
The humongous gaming site known as Gamespot broadcasts a video show each week, in which upcoming games are demoed live on air, and viewers are invited to send in questions to find out more

The Hotspot
Gamespot's audio-based companion to On the Spot, in which site editors cover the week's news while simultaneously poking fun at all that is gaming

Gaming Steve
A more mature podcast, hosted by a long-time games industry professional armed with a ton of insider info and loads of interesting opinions. The Dig's been known to post articles and stories on here from time to time

Consolevania
Quick-fire internet-based TV show with console reviews and comedy sketches. Funny as hell

Major Nelson
An interesting "blogcast" hosted by a Microsoft employee, featuring stacks of exclusive behind the scenes news and interviews relating to all things Xbox 360

The Kojima Productions Report
Official podcast from the team of Hideo Kojima, creator of the much-loved Metal Gear franchise. Full of news and interviews relating to all things Metal Gear, it's probably one for die-hard fans only

Pure Pwnage
Mockumentary series on the life of a pro gamer. Episode five is possibly the funniest thing on the internet

Other Sites

Kotaku
What you could call gaming's homepage. Constantly updated news and links on the entire industry, from minute breaking headlines, to funny arse viral vids

Game Trailers
Easy to use multimedia-rich web site offering official trailers, video demos and sneak peaks at all the upcoming releases

Game Videos
Sister site to 1up.com, focusing on game trailers, video interviews and even the odd documentary

Gamespot
The Gamespot front-end, and the gaming equivalent of the Internet Movie Database. Includes detailed reviews and extensive video features on pretty much all systems and games ever made

Giant Bomb
Speaking of Gamespot, the controversial "letting go" of editor Jeff Gerstmann resulted in him starting up this new venture with fellow former writers of the site. Great podcast in particular

1up.com
Discounting the audio and video shows mentioned earlier, 1up's main site is also worth a visit in its own right. Not only bustling with quality gaming articles and extensive developers' blogs, it also doubles up as a massive friends network, ideal for meeting fellow gamers and joining like-minded communities

Live Marketplace Feed
The most up to date and reliable way to keep track of all the new Xbox Live Marketplace content, from new weapons and map packs, to movie trailers and game demos

Xbox Reloaded
360 backwards compatibility can be a minefield. This blog attempts to shed some light on the issue by playing original Xbox games for you and reporting back the results

GameFAQs
The ultimate resource for walkthroughs and cheats

Disposable Media
A wonderful (and free) E-zine, full of reviews and articles on gaming, movies, music and TV. Puts most high street mags to shame

X-Fire
A must-have for all PC gamers, X-Fire is a buddy list and communications tool that keeps constant tabs on what games both you and all your mates are playing, on or offline

Steam
A contender to the X-Fire throne that has pretty much overtaken it straight out of the gate. Valve's Steam client contains friends lists, downloadable games, Live-style achievements and plenty more to sink your teeth into

MyGamerCard.net
Convert your Xbox Live gamercard into an image, for use on forums and web sites for free. That's mine further down

Ain't it Cool News
The latest news, gossip and spy reports from the world of movies, TV and (occasionally) video games

Smodcast
Writer, director and actor Kevin Smith - he of Clerks fame - records a monthly podcast in which he and fellow pals discuss everything from trying to felate oneself, to the time his dog got covered in ejaculate. Riveting stuff

 

Matt Robinson, 2011

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