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Rewind Reviews is our series where we look back at older games through a modern lens and put them through our review process. We’ve looked at obscure games, classics, and more, across many different systems. Some of the below you may not have heard of and some of them are instantly recognizable classics. And not all of them were considered good when they came out. The only question we’re interested in, though, is whether or not they stand the test of time.

This is a semi-regular, unscheduled series. We write them for a variety of reasons, but the most regular is through our wonderful Patreon backers.

The following is in chronological order with the newest article in the series first.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

By Courtney Ehrenhofler

crisis-core-final-fantasy-vii-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII had a big legacy to fill when it was released. A hotly anticipated story and a prequel to what is still arguably the most popular Final Fantasy game even 20 years after its release, Final Fantasy VII was critically and commercially acclaimed, and Crisis Core had big expectations. Read more here…

Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues (Game Boy)

By Alex Santa Maria

jurassic-park-2-game-boy-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

Back in November, I looked at Jurassic Park‘s first video game adaptation on the Game Boy, finding it to be a tiresome top down arcade game that was frustrating to play. Now, I’m here six months later to look at its direct sequel. A lot can change between games as time marches on, and I’m happy to report that Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues is both an excellent name for a video game and a much better retro throwback. Read more here…

Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue

By Samuel Guglielmo

toy-story-2-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

Once upon a time every single movie that came out needed a game tie-in. Naturally these game tie-ins needed to take some liberties with the movie to make for better games. Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue is one of those games. Toy Story 2 tries to turn the movie into a collect-a-thon 3D platformer. Does this work out, or should Andy put his toys away? Read more here…

The Simpsons Hit & Run

By Robert Grosso

simpsons-hit-and-run-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

The sad truth is, most The Simpsons video games suck. They’ve had many, but very few have been all that memorable or even good. Hit & Run joined The Simpsons arcade game as one of the good ones, a GTA-style clone released in 2003 by Vivendi Universal Games and Fox Interactive. Read more here…

Parasite Eve

By Joey Thurmond

parasite-eve-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

I distinctly remember a cinematic trailer for a horror game that showcased some of the most disturbing creatures I could’ve imagined when I was five years old, and with an M rating, playing it was out of the question. That was nearly two decades ago, so it’s high time I crack the case on whether Parasite Eve is as horrifying and exhilarating as it appeared to be all those years ago. Read more here…

Spider-Man (2000)

By Reagan Cox

spider-man-2000-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

Time is no friend of video games. This is a highly technical medium, and gaming’s massive popularity in recent years has ensured a blazing speed of progress. Most older games simply don’t play as well as modern ones. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 era. When you sit down to play a PlayStation game in 2017, it not only has to contend with the massive leap forward we’ve made in terms of technology, but also the fact that it’s a product of a radical paradigm shift in design philosophy. Designing games in 3D was a whole new world, and almost all developers were ill-equipped to jump into it at the time. Spider-Man for the PlayStation is no exception. Read more here…

Future Cop: L.A.P.D

By Robert Grosso

future-cop-lapd-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Before Visceral Games became a Battlefield producing factory, it started life as EA Redwood Shores. One of several subsidiary companies for the conglomerate known as Electronic Arts, EA Redwood Shores has a unique career, developing a ton of titles for EA that you would not expect to be on their resume. This includes Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, 007: From Russia with Love, The Simpsons Game, and one of the first augmented reality games ever made by a major game company, Majestic. The first title created by EA Redwood Shores would be something more traditional though, and that would be the shoot em’ up action game Future Cop: L.A.P.D. Read more here…

Jurassic Park (Game Boy)

By Alex Santa Maria

jurassic-park-game-boy-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

I’ve said this before, but I have a genuine appreciation for a good licensed game. Adapting just the right parts of a property in order to express the same ideas in a new way can create some amazing work and invite players into worlds they’ve always dreamed of visiting. Of course, you need some hardware backing you up if you’re going to visit those worlds, and Nintendo’s Game Boy isn’t going to be everyone’s first choice. Still, licenses are sold and games have to be made, which led to the creation of Jurassic Park, the first interactive adaption of Steven Speilberg’s 1993 blockbuster. Read more here…

007 Nightfire

By Perry Ruhland

007-nightfire-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Confession time: I don’t think Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is all that great. It’s a fine game, sure, but I’ve always felt that its spiritual successor Perfect Dark was better in basically every way. Besides, in 2002, we got the Eurocom-developed 007 Nightfire, another James Bond FPS that manages to hit all the highs Rare’s beloved 1997 classic did – while still falling into the same trap of just making everything ‘acceptable’.  Read more here…

Spyro: Year of the Dragon

By Alex Santa Maria

spyro-year-of-the-dragon-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

I’m not sure if this is an original observation, but I’ve discovered something in my time going back to Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Insomniac’s purple mascot is the 3D equivalent of Sonic the Hedgehog. Think about it. Both series tote momentum based gameplay where a player can rush through levels by mastering movement mechanics. Both series have secrets and collectibles in tough to reach spaces that encourage exploration and clash with the focus on speed. Perhaps most damning for this review, both series are eventually invaded by countless animal friends that don’t bring much to the table. Read more here…

Majesty Gold HD

By Patrick Perrault

majesty-gold-hd-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Majesty Gold HD is a title where the player does all the behind the scenes work while the heroes get all the fame and glory. It’s actually kind of strange that way. However, if there was anything that could be said about the game, it’s that it has a lot of good ideas. Majesty Gold HD, (which will be referred to as Majesty HD from now on) is an odd little game. It’s not especially different from other RTS titles on the market, as you build a base, complete the objectives, and move on to the next map/quest. However, the way that it’s done is different enough to make things interesting.  Read more here…

Black

By Alex Santa Maria

black-criterion-games-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

At one point two generations ago, Criterion Games was poised to be one of THE big names in games development. After churning through a handful of solid but underappreciated titles with their internal Renderware engine, they struck gold with Burnout and perfected the arcade racing genre in a way that hasn’t been matched since. Electronic Arts saw their potential and gobbled them up just before the release of Burnout 3: Takedown. Slowly but surely, Criterion started to make Need for Speed games and faded into the EA machine, and 2006’s Black feels like the first step down that road for the studio. Read more here...

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

By Robert Grosso

shadow-hearts-covenant-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

The Playstation 2 library is filled with obscure video games. In many ways it is one of the last major bastions for new IP if you think about it. Sure, we see new games and series all the time on consoles and on the PC, but the Playstation 2 was famous for not only growing its own franchises, but providing a massive library of unique games to play in the interim. After all, it is a system with a massive 2000 plus game list. So, picking one for our retro review is just a roll of the dice in this case. Thankfully, that roll has shined on something favorable, as we focus on an underrated role-playing game, Shadow Hearts: Covenant. Read more here…

Umihara Kawase

By James Galizio

umihara-kawase-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Sometimes the best games you end up playing are the ones that you try out on a whim. About a month and a half ago I made my first purchase on Amazon.co.jp, a PlayStation Vita microUSB to Vita charger adapter and a copy of Sayonara Umihara Kawase Chirari. I’d heard about the Umihara Kawase series before in passing; I knew that it was a series of platformers revolving around physics and the Rubber Fishing Line/Grappling Hook that the series’ titular character wields. Beyond that, I honestly didn’t have a clue what to expect. To be frank, the only reason I bought the game in the first place was because I knew that the only way to get a physical copy was to import, and it was cheap + eligible for AmazonGlobal shipping at the time. Read more here…

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

By Anton Hill

where-in-the-world-is-carmen-sandiego-1985-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego is an educational, web-based (originally released on the Apple II and MS-DOS) detective adventure game developed and published by Broderbund SoftwareCarmen Sandiego has the player, as InterPol detective, track down members of Sandiego’s gang of thieves, through a series of geography and cultural trivia-based puzzles, after they’ve stolen various national treasures. The player must successfully track the thief down and obtain a warrant in less than a week, otherwise the thief escapes. After the player successfully captures all of the subordinate thieves, he tracks down Sandiego herself. Read more here…

Sly Cooper and the Thievus Raccoonus

By Robert Grosso

sly-cooper-and-the-thievus-raccoonus-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Has anyone ever regretted the fact that there are games out there that you know by reputation, but never played? One of the opportunities for this review is to remedy that on a game I at first rejected in my youth because I felt I was too old for it. The colorful, cartoon world, the platforming, it felt childish to a then 16 year old, who felt the mark of maturity was to play games against the child-like exterior in favor of something more adult. The game in question is Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. Read more here…

1080 (N64)

By Harrison Stewart

1080-snowboarding-nintendo-64-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

When gamers think of snowboarding games, they usually think of the SSX franchise, Shaun White or Amped. But before these popular franchises came a game called 1080°. Released in 1998, 1080° (pronounced ten-eighty) was one of the earlier attempts at making a snowboarding game in 3d space. 1080 was praised on its release for its impressive (for 1998) graphics, realistic atmosphere and down to earth gameplay. Though it hasn’t aged perfectly in every respect, 1080 was still pretty fun to pop in and play after a 15 year break from the game. Read more here…

Blaster Master

By Jason Ashman

blaster-master-nes-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

Blaster Master is one of those games, that whenever I hear someone speak about it, it is always positive. It’s something that a lot of games really don’t have going for them. So when the opportunity came up to do a review on a retro game that I had yet to play, I knew exactly what I wanted to play. Read more here…

Psychonauts

By Alex Santa Maria

psychonauts-rewind-review Rewind Reviews

All across the Internet, gamers and critics have agreed on very few things. However, in the last decade, there has been one universal statement: “You should play Psychonauts.” In fact, more people have probably said that aloud than actually seen the whole thing through. At the time, the game was the first step of a beloved creator and his independent band of misfits known as Double Fine. It is still brought up today for its creativity, its originality, and its unique premise. However, without the rose tinted glasses, in the age of 1,000 indies, does the game hold up? Read more here…

Arx Fatalis

By Jarred Rutherford

arx-fatalis-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

The sun has burned out. The world has frozen over. Life has moved beneath the surface of the planet in order to survive. Goblins, humans, trolls, and other races have carved out a niche within the caverns beneath the world in spite of the unspeakable horrors that dwell within the depths. Worst of all, an evil cult is threatening the destruction of the world itself in a bid to summon the dark god they worship. You probably already guessed who’s going to have to deal with all that. That’s your briefing on the unique world of Arx Fatalis. Read more here…

Xenogears

By Max Michael

xenogears-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

This Rewind Review Week was a great opportunity to check out a game I missed out on back when it was new. Xenogears is a PlayStation era JRPG published by Square. It is the most ambitious JRPG I’ve ever played, although at times the game falls short of those ambitions. However, it is still a worthy attempt and it makes me curious to check out Xenosaga and Xenoblade, which were made by the same team of developers after they split from Square. Read more here…

Dark Forces Series

By Alistair Pinsof

star-wars-dark-forces-rewind-reviews Rewind Reviews

When one thinks of Star Wars, gun duels aren’t the first thing that leaps to mind. The blaster rifle look and sound is iconic, but it’s not what captured peoples’ imagination at the cinema. So pairing the franchise with the first-person shooter—the most popular genre on PCs in the mid ‘90s—was an odd choice, but it gave way to what is arguably the best game franchise in the Star Wars universe: Dark Forces. Read more here…