Great Games for Cheap Gamers : Crazy Emblems

It’s hard to be a gamer in these trying economic times.  While the prospect of playing “Hack and Slash RPG 10, Let’s Gather Turnips” is high on your list of priorities, shelling out $60 for it, and another $20 for the “Wii Sword” isn’t.

That’s what I’m here for!  Join me after the jump as I highlight two great games for discount prices!  The first being a crazy racing game, the second a classic tactical RPG.

With all these savings, you can buy the important things in life.  Food, electricity, internet bills and of course that awesome spring title “Weed Whacker 12, Revenge of the Moles”.

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Game:  Crazy Taxi  –  Rating:  T  –  System:  Various  –  Price:  $3 – $20 [Ebay/Amazon/Gamestop]

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Crazy Taxi is a genre-defying game.  While the basis of gameplay is naturally racing, there’s a childlike charm in running down local accountants and running loose through mini-malls, all in the pursuit of making a buck.  Forget working at 16!  This game is what kids should play to realize the true value of a dollar.

As the gameplay above probably displayed, the purpose of crazy taxi is simple.  Ride around the imaginary town, getting people to their destinations as fast as you can, making as much money as you can!  To make more money, it’s important to keep your clients happy.  If that means ramping off a church annex and landing into a piano factory, then by all means!

The graphics are a tad dated by current gen standards, but still great enough that you should be able too see where you’re going, and what kind of clients you have.  I especially get a kick out of the many priests that get into my cab, wanting me to go mach 10 in order to make it to a funeral on time.  Then again, I suppose he’s just drumming up business of his own!

Driving and handling is pretty good.  I say pretty good because shifting between reverse and drive is a pain, and backing up is like trying to move a hippo from your driveway with a rake.  In other words, it’s not going to end well and will probably result in a sizable amount of property damage.  So make sure and always park in a manner that will not require you to back up.  Heaven forbid you actually get stuck somewhere!

Without any qualifications, Crazy Taxi is FUN.  This is a game I pull out on the weekdays to relieve stress.  More importantly, this is a game that me and my closest friends TO THIS DAY still pull out every now and then for massive amounts of LULZ.  Did I mention we all have current gen consoles and amazing piles of amazing expensive games?

Because it comes out on every platform under the sun, including your microwave oven, there is ZERO reason you shouldn’t go out and find this game.  With a price tag for $3 for older gen consoles, and varying prices up to $20 for newer titles and better conditioned games, it’s even more necessary to get it!  This game comes as highly recommended as I can possibly recommend.

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Game:  Fire Emblem : The Sacred Stones –  Rating:  E
System:  Gameboy Advance –  Price:  $15 – $30 [Ebay/Amazon/Gamestop]
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First of all, let me promise that this will be my last RTS-RPG for a while.  I’m sorry!  I just find that there is a lot of fantastic RTS-RPG’s that are cheap and really fun to play!

Anyway, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones [FETSS] follows the story of the twin siblings Erika and Ephraim, whose father was killed in an unexpected attack on their kingdom, and are stripped of their home nation with only a few bands of power from a fellow allied nation.  What starts as a war to win back their home country, ends up being a war to save the entire world from the return of the Dark Dragon.

To be fair, this is almost what EVERY Fire Emblem plot usually revolves around, so feel free to try other games as well, you’ll get relatively the same experience.  So if you find yourself loving this game, know that there are many more Wii and DS ports just like it!

Gameplay [as displayed above] revolves around you and your troops.  You command where your troops move, what weapons they use and whom they attack.  Simple enough, correct?

WRONG.  SO WRONG.

On higher difficulty settings, FETSS is increasingly like a staggering game of chess against a world champion, and the world champion is allowed to use mecha and weapons of mass destruction.

Because weapons systematically lose their power and eventually break, you will find yourself in the awkward position of having no weapons and going up against a swarm of pirates.  Whoops?

Most insulting, however, is that once a party member is killed, then there is no reviving them.  Ever.  People die when they are killed!  What is this blasphemy!  As such, you can lose your greatest fighters from a stray critical hit or from general carelessness.  While some people chalk this up to a “challenge”, I just find it generally annoying and find myself resetting to the last save faster than you can say DAGNABIT ERIKA, PUT ON SOME THICKER ARMOR.

So you’ve heard me complain a lot about the gameplay and several highly annoying aspects of the game.  I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m even talking about this game!  Well, be patient Billy!  I’m getting to it!

FETSS offers a wide variety of maps and challenges for the hard-core RTS-RPG fan, and a general/fun challenge for regular gamers.  Unlike other titles, FETSS grants users several great grinding spots, so you can overlevel your team to your heart’s content and properly prepare for each upcoming challenge.

Great characters drive along a somewhat cliché story.  There is literally a backstory for each and every one of your troops, and you can uncover these stories by partnering up with other characters, and even reveal bubbling romances!  It’s not all guy/girl Twilight romances either!  Father/son, brother/sister, brother/brother, friend/friend, nun/gambler and many others pop up.  It’s nice to see different types of character profiles in games that aren’t angst-ridden or generic.  While some of the backstories are somewhat obvious and painful to read, there are others that are great to unreveal and fun to see expand.

Don’t get me wrong.  FETSS is one of the most aggravating games I’ve ever and probably ever will play!  But it’s like when you spend 30 minutes trying to open a particularly tasty jar of pickles.  The challenge is great, and the journey is arduous, but in the end the reward is great!

Great characters, great gameplay [bugs included], and a very high level of ending reward is what makes FETSS a great game for a cheap price.  I definitely recommend you try places like lower-end game boutiques like GameExchange or Games’N’More first, because they’re likely to have their prices marked down, but Gamestop and Amazon are great finds as well.

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[Author’s Note:  If you have a great game that you think would be perfect for cheap gamers, drop me at line at zackarymurdoch@gmail.com or shoot me a pm over at the TSG forums to CodeZTM.  If I think it’s something that our viewers would like, your great game for a cheap gamer could be featured in next week’s column!]

9 thoughts on “Great Games for Cheap Gamers : Crazy Emblems”

  1. Crazy Taxi is heading to Xbox 360 soon too I think. Although I’m not sure of the price.

    FIRE EMBLEM, makes me raaaage D:BUT I KEEP BUYING THEM, and usually liking them overall. Haven’t played Sacred Stones though.

  2. Crazy Taxi was an amazing game, it’s soundtrack was awesome and also quite annoying as it only had eight songs that were all from either The Offspring or Bad Religion. Thanks to crazy taxi the song “All I Want” is permanently stuck in my head (YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!).

  3. I borrowed Sacred Stones from a friend once. Good game. I’m the kind of person who will not accept it if any one of my guys dies in Fire Emblem though, so I didn’t get super far.

  4. The Sacred Stones is by far the easiest of the Fire Emblems released outside of Japan (and from what I’ve heard, it’s easier than all the earlier titles as well). Hard mode in FE8 is like normal mode in FE10. 😛

    1. That may be, but I suffer from a terrible condition called “bad at RTSitus”. Don’t even try to get me to play Civilization games. I get blown up by the Reinissance. >_<

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