It has been a while since we’ve had a MM on OI so we thought we would bring it back for a while. Enjoy.
A lot of notable anniversaries in video game history will take place during the course of the year. Others may not be as notable, as we’ll learn about today.
The Atari XE Game System (XEGS) turns 25 years old this year, a date that most industry experts might not notice. Thanks to the efforts of Nintendo and a series of new hits in the arcades the video game industry had come roaring back in 1987. Former industry king Atari wanted a piece of it, and tried in several different ways.
After re-releasing the original Atari 2600 as a value priced system and shipping the previously cancelled Atari 7800 product from warehouses, Atari introduced the XEGS in 1987. Little more than a redressed Atari 8-bit personal computer, the XEGS aimed directly at Nintendo in television commercials, touting it’s own lightgun and items such as keyboard, disc drive and joystick.
The XEGS also boasted of a huge library of games available for play due to backward compatibility with previous Atari products. While technically true, the game library was deeply aged by the time the XEGS hit store shelves. Most of the XE branded games in stores were simply repackaged Atari computer game titles while others were translations of other home computer licenses as Nintendo had exclusive deals signed for almost every other arcade hit.
The Nintendo Entertainment System had gained more than 90 percent of the market by 1988, leaving the XEGS in the dust along with Atari’s other product. It wasn’t the last time Atari took aim at Nintendo, however. Years later Atari would introduce it’s own handheld system, the Lynx, to compete with Nintendo’s GameBoy. In 1993 they also introduced the 64-bit Jaguar, the last new console released by the legendary Atari.
Despite a short run, the XEGS and games can be found on eBay and other online sites fairly easily today.
This time around, Baseball Stars for the NES takes top honors as it’s a game well over due for a mention right here at Retro Gaming Life. The game itself combines the RPG elements with sports elements in a very satisfying way. You can start up with a horrible team and win games to earn money to buy steroids for your players so they will get stronger and run faster. Is this what the American past time is all about? You bet! You are also able to name your team whatever you want, as I would name mine the Chomps. We finished last in our first season of play but ended up buying enough steroids to strengthen for next season. This is what it’s all about!
The game is very precise on each characters abilities. If you have a low running rating then you are better off hitting stronger, and if you have low hitting rating then why don’t increase your speed a bit so you can bunt hits all over the infield. Your pitcher also needs to be able to increase his ability so that you can go longer innings with him but even with the best stats your pitcher is only human or umm a pixel player….
The game is very enjoyable and even came with a battery so you can record your team(s). With the baseball season ending and the playoffs on the way, why not pick this baby up for some late night retro gaming action! Play ball!
When mini’s came out people kept asking for a powerful laptop that could be used for gaming in a smaller size and since then we have seen a few on the market. For the most part people want the latest processor, powerful graphics and good battery life and the EON 11-S looks to have those in spades.
The EON 11-S is an 11-inch notebook that sports third generation Ivy bridge processors from Intel, that alone screams power for the pc gamer. In addition, the EON 11-S features the NVIDA GeForce 650M video card with Optimus 1.2 technology. The Optimus technology is important because it extends your battery life meaning, you get the graphics you need for games, but without the need to remain plugged into an outlet 24/7.
The breakdown of the system includes an Intel Core 2.5GHz i5-2520M with 3MB cache or 2.1GHz i7-3612QM with 6MB cache. Next, up you have the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM. The EON 11-S uses the Intel HM76 Express chipset, features an 11.6-inch HD display screen with 1366 x 768 pixels resolution and comes with Windows 7 64-bit.
You can configure the system with up to 16GB DDR3 RAM, up to 1TB 5400rpm hard drive or up to 512GB solid state drive or up to 500GB 7200rpm hybrid drive. Finally, the EON 11-S has Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi and a 1.3-mega pixels web cam.
Talking design, the EON 11-S comes in three colors Matte Black, Mate Red and Glossy Silver you can choose from their new laptop case design or the original design. For those looking for a more personal touch Origin PC offers top cover painting for an additional fee.
Now the question is what kind of size, battery life and price are we talking about. Well first off, gamers rejoice because the EON 11-S offers up to 7 hours of battery life with its 6-cell battery, which is perfect for those long gaming sessions far from an outlet. Size and weight will not be an issue either with it weighing in at only 3.9 pounds. Here are the dimensions, 11.2 x 8.1 x 0.5-1.4.
So what is the most important question, what is the price. The base unit costs only $999.00 and that is not a stripped down unit. The only thing that makes me a bit sad about this laptop is the lack of a backlit keyboard, but everything else looks pretty sweet. Overall, the EON 11-S is a great notebook for gamers or anyone who wants a powerful laptop that’s portable with great battery life.
You can check out the EON 11-S here.
Normally when someone says, “This game sucks,” It is a bad thing. In this case, it is the main goal of a weird PlayStation 2 game that came out in 2002. Mister Mosquito is one of those games that in Japan makes way more sense than in the U.S. In this game, you play as a mosquito that lives in the home of the Yamada family. Your job is to suck and store up blood for the winter by biting the family members on specific parts of their body.
Now this might sound easy, but only certain areas are bitable and you must watch your stress meter while sucking blood. If you suck to fast or too slow, you can stress your victim out and if that happens you are dead. (Seriously, I could go so lowbrow with the sucking too fast or too slow, but I will let it be just this once.) In addition, if you are flying around and are spotted you enter a battle mode where you need to avoid being killed while hitting pressure points on your attacker to calm them down. (I wish my mosquitos did this.)
A strange game indeed this is, but for you perverts out there, there is a level where you have to suck blood from a girl in the bathtub. (No, I’m not kidding.) How many of you are going to either go play this or look up Youtube footage right now?
You know we got you covered.
The end of Video Game Stores?
The question many have is will there still be video game stores within the next five years. I think the answer is yes, but how many will there be and how will they look? When more and more people began ordering their comic books online or even reading them there some comic book stores took a hit. However, there was still that loyalty and personal touch that keep people going in. Perhaps that is what will happen with video game stores.
With outlets like Steam, Origin and Windows Marketplace there are less and less reasons to buy a game at a retailer. Sure, some people want the box or items inside be it manuals or a collector’s addition and that is the same as the comic book customer who wants to be there in the store picking out their comic, looking for new ones and talking shop with the people there.
Now big chain stores that sell other items will still keep major hits in stock because someone will buy a game while picking up an HDTV, but what about the chain video game store? We have already seen many close, but thanks to reselling of old games and the need to quickly by a controller or battery I could see a good number of them surviving. Perhaps we will see a merger where video game stores offer more as less people will have media to trade in.
So is this a good thing, to be able to get your media online at any time or do you need to have the disk in your hand and know you can return it or trade it in? With the new consoles coming out rumor is that disks are on the way out and soon everything will be downloadable in one manner or another. How many of you would notice, how many would care?
On with the Cosplay.
Doraemon Meikyu Daisakusen a.k.a. Cratermaze (1989)
By: Hudson Soft Genre: Maze Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: Infinity
Also Available For: Nothing
Having recently introduced some Red Parsley readers to the wonder that is Doraemon (a post met with overwhelming indifference it seems!), I thought it might be timely to feature a game based on his antics. In fact, there are currently over 50 videogames based on or featuring everyone’s favourite robotic cat, but this is one of the few to make it out of Japan. Well, kind of. For there was once a rather obscure arcade game called ‘Kid no Hore Hore Daisakusen’, better know in the West as ‘Booby Kids’ (snigger) which received an NES port. It was later also ported to the PC Engine (or rather a game based on it was released) but the sprites and theme of the game were altered to incorporate Doraemon and friends, naturally, given their popularity in their native realm. However, this version was then released on the TurboGrafx-16, but since most Americans don’t know who Doraemon is, all the original graphics were put back into the game and it was released as ‘Cratermaze’! This review, however, will focus on the Doraemon version of the game. Because I like him.
Not everyone likes Doraemon though it seems. There he was, happily flying along on his magic carpet device with his friends when an evil spirit turns up and kidnaps all of them except Doraemon himself! It’s now clearly up to the splendid blue moggy to rescue all his friends. This is done by guiding him around the many overhead viewed, scrolling mazes in each of which you must collect sixteen… well, they look like pies or something, but I imagine they are dorayaki, Doraemon’s favourite food! After they’re all collected a key will appear which unlocks the exit to that round. Of course, the rounds are also inhabited by various peculiar beasties which pootle around the mazes seemingly aimlessly, and all of them cause Doraemon to lose a life if one of them touches him. Fortunately there are a few things that make his task a little easier to shoulder.
In order to deal with the horrific beasts prowling each round, Doraemon is capable of digging holes in which he can trap them. Once this happens, another press of the same button sees the hole filled in, thereby cruelly ending the life of the enemy in question. For each of them you kill you’ll receive bonus points at the end of the round but, beyond potentially getting you out of a tight spot, that’s about all killing them does. They will immediately respawn nearby and are pretty much just there to get in the way and prevent you from… umm, collecting all the dorayaki’s! Helpfully, one of the several power-ups available doubles the number of holes Doraemon digs at once so you can dispose of the enemies from a greater distance, but be careful – on the higher of the two difficulty settings he can fall into the holes himself!
There are sixty rounds in all, each one being several screens in size and of course littered with various power-ups too. There’s speed-up boots which, like the one already mentioned, last indefinitely, but there are some more with rather more limited time-spans including a clock which freezes all the monsters, a spray which slows them all down, an invincibility shield, a bubble-gun which traps and kills any enemies that you shoot, something which turns the level blue and all of the enemies into ice, and perhaps best of all – bombs! These are used Bomberman-stylee, killing any enemy in their blast range (well, this game is by Hudson Soft!). Other items found now and then include teleporters (which, like Gauntlet, send you to the nearest similar device) and spring pads (which can just as often be a pain as they are helpful!).
Doraemon Labyrinth, as it’s sometimes called by Westerners, is a curious game. There’s definitely nothing spectacular about it but at the same time everything here is pleasant enough with one exception – it’s far too easy. The graphics and sound certainly don’t push the Engine to its limits but they do their jobs well. The stages and sprites aren’t particularly varied but everything is neat and well-drawn, with the titular metallic feline looking great. The music too, which for the most part will be familiar to fans of the anime, is pretty good as well, which just makes it more of a shame that Hudson didn’t think to increase the difficulty to any noticeable degree. To be honest, I got bored of playing after 30 minutes or so, having not even come close to losing a life, but I strongly suspect that if you were so inclined you could play through this entire game in your first sitting, even on the higher of the two difficulty settings!
That’s the most (or only!) frustrating thing about this game – it’s genuinely enjoyable to play for a short while and features some nicely designed stages – but the absence of any kind of challenge offers little incentive for prolonged play. Hudson Soft are generally purveyors of some top-notch games, especially on the Engine (such as the splendid Bomberman series which this game plays a little like), so I can only assume this title is either aimed exclusively at young children, or is a rare slip up.
RKS Score: 5/10
For those of us who remember well the 1980s, the phenomenally endowed Elvira – the campy TV persona of Cassandra Peterson – was and is much loved. Dressed in gothic attire that tended to display her front-facing assets, Miss Peterson was a staple of the late night television viewing, and a highly recognizable advertising brand. Many and diverse were her following, including myself…as I admit to being an Elvira acolyte.
Box art for Elvira: Mistress of the Dark
Accolade tapped into this cult following with the 1990 release of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, a horror-themed PC adventure game with RPG elements. The developer was the aptly named HorrorSoft, which focused primarily on making games in the horror genre. HorrorSoft was actually Adventure Soft, and was sub-branded to give the company the ability to explore both a new genre and a new gaming engine. Elvirawas HorrorSoft’s second game, their first being the somewhat enjoyable “Personal Nightmare”(featuring an appearance by Elvira), and they didn’t disappoint. From the back of the box’s flavor text – “Can somebody help me find my chest?” – to the ending credits, Elvira was a fun game.
You play a helpful adventurer in Elvira, brought in to rescue the lovely Mistress of the Dark from the dangers of her own castle. It seems Elvira’s quite-dead grandmother wants to return to the Realm of the Living, and plans to unleash a horrific assault on her surroundings – and upon her errant granddaughter, too. Poor Elvira wants nothing to do with her grandmother’s schemes, but she’s lacking her usual magical arsenal as all her potion ingredients and equipment is scattered throughout her castle, and she needs you to collect it all and return it to her, while dispatching the nasty creatures that her dear grandmother has prowling the corridors and rooms along the way.
Like many RPGs and adventure games, inventory management was a straightforward exercise. As you explored your environment (all 800 locations of it), approximately 300 objects could be picked up and placed into your pack, which was represented by a grid at the bottom of the screen. Some objects could interact with others to create more powerful items (such as potions ingredients combining into potions). The combat mechanism was equally as simple, involving clicking on either the “thrust” or “parry” icons at the correct moments (not button-mashing them into a fine powder, a laDiablo). Some of the magical potions and items improved your combat or defensive prowess, which was absolutely essential when facing some of the more terrifying castle denizens.
Elvira was released on several gaming platforms, including MS-DOS, Amiga, Commodore 64, and Atari ST, and received favourable reviews. Sales were sufficient to warrant a sequel, Elvira II: Jaws of Cerberus. HorrorSoft would go on to make one more horror-themed PC game, Waxworks, before the company was abandoned to focus on the rebirth of its parent, Adventure Soft Publishing, and the release of theirSimon the Sorcerer series.
If you are a retrogaming horror junkie, or a classic adventure game aficionado, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a game well worth playing. It has the right mix of humor and horror, action and exploration to warrant a place as my Retro Game of the Week, and is a worthy addition to any retro gaming collection!
Truxton, or Tatsujin (Japanese for ‘Expert’), is a viciously addictive vertical shoot’em up. It was released by Taito in 1988. For the folks In the US, the game was licensed to Midway and Romstar for manufacture and distribution.
The premise of the game is quite simple – you control a fighter ship, taking power-ups and weapon-selection items along the way, and then using them to shoot down enemies. When the going gets tough, one press of the Tatsujin-bomb button exterminates every enemy on screen (the motherships and big bosses take more hits to kill).
As you progress through each area, it gets more critical to collect the various power-ups and weapons that come your way. The souped-up weaponry, like the green Tatsujin-beam, assist in killing the motherships with fewer shots. The game has 5 big bosses to defeat across 200 hundred areas (not levels!).
Vertical shoot’em ups have a simple premise, but the devil is in their gameplay detail.
Truxton has no shortage of gameplay and the vast areas and different enemy types, will keep you occupied for a long while. Put your space-suit on, whack on your helmet, and get in that fighter ship – the universe depends on it !
Genre: Vertical Shoot’em Up
Maximum number of players: 2
Buttons: 2 (Fire and Bomb)
Control Panel Layout: Single Player
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)
Cabinet: Upright Standard
Weapons: Red – Power Shot, Blue – Sun Lader and Green – Tatsujin-Beam
I remember driving from Chicago to Miami and there was a huge mountain we went up. On the way down, which was a really steep slope, there was a washing machine in the middle of the road. It was pitch dark, no street lamps. I only saw it at the last second and avoided it. Seriously, how could I explain that I crashed into a washer?
Alright, to be fair, this isn’t exactly what I would call a great game. But, it is a game based on the GREATEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!
You are the awesome John McClane (Bruce Willis)visiting his wife duringChristmas time at theNakatomi Plaza holiday party. But, an infestation of Euro-trash has spoiled his reunion. WELCOME TO THE PARTY, PAL!!!!!!!
The terrorists, led byHAAAANNNSS!!!! Gruber, have taken the party-goers, including John’s wife, to the 30th floor. Also, the 30th floor is where the money vault is where the stealing be happenin’.
OBJECTIVE: Save the hostages, protect the money, and kill all 40 sumbitches.
This is a top-down, action game that has McClane in his wife-beater doing some major ass kicking. WHHOOOO!! YIPPEE KAI YAY, MELON-FARMERS!!!!
There are 40 baddies to kill throughout the building levels, by fists or weapon. You’ll need your fists, because I find myself running out of ammo very quickly. But, it’s just as fun pummeling these ass-wipes. After dispatching the Germans (YIPPEE KAI YAY, MY FRIENDS!!), use the elevator to the next level, finding more weapons (NOW I HAVE A MACHINE-GUN, HO HO HO!!) and more bad guys.
Some cool features include listening in on their radios and the “foot meter”. This is because like the movie, you’re actually running around in bare feet, OVER GLASS!!! You’ll replenish health by drinking soda and finding first-aid kits.
Eventually, you’ll fight your way through all, including Karl (who is probably still crying over you wasting his brother) and HAAANNSS!!
There are some really neat cutscenes, and some small nods to the movie, like finding detonators and the helicopter/roof scene.
The game is really a lot of fun, and gets the testosterone going. WHOOOO!!! YIPPEE KAI YAY, MOTHER HUBBARD!!!!!
Sonic: History Of An Icon
Check out this awesome documentary on Sonic. The 36-minute video tells the history behind Sega’s iconic blue hedgehog and the war between Sega and Nintendo.
After more than 30 years in gaming, I have always found the different ways gaming is portrayed in the mainstream interesting. Sometimes I find humor in it, sometimes it’s made me mad and still other times it has made me shake my head.
Today’s gaming culture is far gone from the “kids thing” it used to be painted as, even if a great deal of the mainstream media still paints it that way. With celebrities becoming more involved and museums recognizing video gaming history, it could be said that gaming culture has finally reached the same level of respect as other forms of entertainment such as television and film.
This summer a video gaming film is set to debut. Noobz, a film about a gaming team heading off to a major gaming tournament, is set to make it’s worldwide debut on June 6 at the Nokia Theatre, right as the E3 Expo is in town.
Upon watching the trailer I am given mixed emotions. Some of it made me chuckle a little, such as the little kid on the other end of the XBox headset, the team name being spelled as “riegn” (the type of horrible misspelling one cannot play a game online without coming across), and a little homage to classic arcade gaming.
However, I can’t help but feel this film also pushes stereotypes of video gamers that simply don’t apply to the majority of gamers today. The film seems to feature a number of foul-mouthed little kids, girlfriends that hate games and bash their boyfriends for playing them and loudmouthed stoner types that simply have nothing else to do.
I feel I speak for a large number of gamers out there when I say I tired of the “video gamers are basement dwelling virgins” stereotype a long time ago. As a happily married man and father of two children, I can tell you firsthand that I know more die-hard gamers just like me, with families and an awareness of the world around them. My wife is also a gamer, something else that is pretty common these days as well.
Basically, I’m mixed. I want to say that anything that puts gaming center stage is a good thing for gaming culture, but I’m also reminded that this isn’t the first time I felt this kind of embarassment as well. I was annoyed at how The Wizard and Video Power portrayed gamers back in the day and have a similar gut feeling about Noobz now. The trailer reminds me more of why I started going into private party chats on Call of Duty instead of listening to the main lobby.
Therefore I am opening up the floor for discussion about this one. Please take a moment to watch the trailer to your left and comment below or contact me via Twitter or direct message if you like.
Is Noobz a good thing for gaming culture, or does it base itself off of too many gaming stereotypes?
With the start of the Famicom Guide Youtube channel why not pick a Famicom title? Well, guess what? I just did! Gekitou Stadium!! is one of the reasons why baseball games are still fun on the classic console. The game is well balanced and has a very moderate setting of gameplay to help make the game fair. You have use the available strategy so that your pitcher won’t get beaten up by the opponent batters. You can hit the hitter if you don’t like him or just trick him to follow a ball outside the pitching box, you decide. The game has a very entertaining soundtrack that will not bore you and will keep you coming for more!
There is a lot to explore as you see in the title screen. You have many settings to choose from. I prefer the 2player vs mode because it’s always a lot more fun to play against a friend. Make sure you hit the ball well though!
Be careful with your opponent especially the ones with lots of HR in their stats, chances are they will try to hit it out of the ball park. My opponent didn’t follow my advice so I swung the bat and make her pay for it!
One of the best parts of the game is you can add yourself in the game. You can see myself right there in the left of the picture waiting to give high fives to my team mate that just scored a home run! Don’t I look sexy? Aha just kidding, this is just one of the many funny cut scenes of this game. Every sport game should have something like this!
No we won’t rename Fappathon!
It kind of saddens me that I even have to write this, but like the signs put on coffee warning you that it is hot you have to know who some of your audience is. There have been some comments about Fappathon where people think they are being lessened to just a piece of meat and even the name is offensive.
We get that, but just like the website name, you need to look at what is really being said. As far as the website, it should be obvious we do not think these great games are obsolete in any sense of the word. However, by most people they are looked upon that way. Try talking about a classic game that either doesn’t have a remake or isn’t Pac-Man and see how many most modern gamers know about.
Our goal is to bring together classic gamers from all walks of life so hopefully we can all reminisce and even enjoy these classic games again because there are so many great games that even though they may be ten or twenty years old are worth playing.
As far as Fappathon, I came up with the name after writing for SpoonCraft, which is a World of Warcraft and MMO news site. We used to laugh because so much traffic would come from posts where he would post pictures of hot women while some great news articles and editorials received little. We joked that they must log on at 3am for a Fapp session and from that, Fappathon was born.
We wanted to focus on mainly video game cosplay and it is not just about how hot the woman is, it is also about the costume itself. We understand all the work that goes into a costume and believe me we pass up or reject a ton of pictures so think of being featured in an article like showing up in a popularity list.
Obviously with a picture post it will be hard to show how much we are into video game related cosplay, but believe me, we are. As far as mixing men and women or creating an all-male Fappathon, we have a standing call out to our female writers that if they are interested in putting together one we will be happy to publish it. However, at the end of the days we are a bunch of geeks so you won’t be seeing male Fappathon’s from me.
One last thing, the Anti-Fapp on our sister site Obscure Internet, that is totally to troll you bad cosplayers and we do not apologize for that. As a big guy myself I am not going to dress up in tight spandex unless I want to be trolled. You put yourself out there, you deal with the peanut gallery, it is a truthism of the internet.
Now on with the Cosplay!
Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers
Historically, license video games have been an excuse to rapidly churn out a shoddy product after cutting development corners in order to push a title onto the market that only profits because of its name, without nary a care given to the player experience. In 1990, legendary developer Capcom provided the gaming world with a wonderful exception to the trend when they produced Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System home console system.
Controlling the player’s choice of either Chip or Dale chipmunk characters, the only pragmatic difference being their appearance, this is a classic two-dimensional platforming game that is tightly honed to near perfection. In addition to the usual left and right to run left and right, the down button crouches. The A button jumps (as it should), with variable height according to pressing length. The B button grabs objects, which can then usually be thrown in straight lines left, right, or directly upward. These grabbable items are key to the entire gameplay experience, and come in different forms; like the basic wooden box that can be hidden in with a crouch and result in defeating an enemy that bumps into it; the metal boxes, that are thrown in a curved trajectory and are reusable, able to stack up to reach otherwise inaccessible areas; and large objects, which cause the protagonist to move a little slower and jump slightly.
There is a loose storyline involved the literally named villain Fat Cat and his nefarious efforts at small-world domination, and eventual kidnapping of the chipmunks’ friend. As the player defeats levels, he or she can actually choose a course through different stages, with multiple paths available, similar to Bionic Commando. In addition to the Mega Man games, it seems that allowing the player to choose their own path was a Capcom design staple.
With brilliantly modeled environments, featuring some precision-jumping puzzles with pattern-based enemies and basic problem-solving, Rescue Rangers also has item-finding in the best fashion: Rather than absolutely require the player to search for certain hidden objects in order to advance, which is annoying, this game offers bonus stuff that provides benefits, which is great. There are flower tokens, collecting 50 of which grants a one-up; stars, collecting 10 of which grants a one-up; acorns, which restore a heart to the basic three-heart health bar; and even a friend, Zipper, who for a limited amount of time, zips around the screen destroying enemies while granting the player invincibility, a much-appreciated assistance when battling the animal and robot foes led by Fat Cat, including the appropriate boss characters.
Given an understanding of the context of the time period, this is a perfect example of a 1990 NES video game, since 1990 is roughly right in the middle of the American support run career of the Nintendo Entertainment System (which, itself, was roughly 1986-1993). Rescue Rangers lacks the flaw of early cartridges, like washed-out characters and screen elements without border lines, but retains some of the foibles of the system like flickering and slowdown problems if there are too many sprites on the screen (try the treetop level, in the portion where there are three relatively large flying squirrels on the same screen as your chipmunk, an inchworm or two, and the box you’re throwing).
Overall, though, this is a game that provides a distinctive experience with its own Disney style. The animation is pretty slick, and the action comes at the player fast. Many have fond sentimental feelings for this game, and its visuals are certainly a part of that nostalgia.
The background tracks are good, featuring the usual impressive array of Capcom composing, if not a tad repetitive and too upbeat at times. That could, though, just be the opinion of the reviewer. Regardless, it is certainly fitting, and plainly shows that effort was put into it.
This sweet video game from Capcom definitely displayed some innovative gameplay characteristics that set it a step above and apart from the usual formulaic platformer. For example, the ability to crouch in a wooden box and use it as a protective barrier was ingenious, along with the fact that there were multiple types of holdable objects that each presented a different play function. Additionally, Chip and Dale have a relatively small on-screen presence, which is perfect considering the fact that they are chipmunks, and lends a whole new perspective element in light of the pursuit by big robot dogs, screen-gobbling bosses, and the enormous Fat Cat himself in the final confrontation.
For turning a Disney license into a very enjoyable video game, for a difficulty level that was neither too easy nor too difficult, for putting actual thought into its mechanics, and for genuinely just being a solid example of a two-dimensional platformer in a genre that could have continued to be stale, Disney’s Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers rescues four stars out of five from the clutches of Fat Cat.
Eric Bailey is a retro gamer on a crazy quest to write a quality review for every single American-released NES video game over at NintendoLegend.com.
Aha! So, you never expected Rob Fearon would create an arena shooter using only one key… Well, it’s quite understandable really, as nobody (ever) expects Rob to create an arena shooter using only one key. His chief weapon is, after all, surprise. Surprise and an incredible ability to create games that are immensely fun, weird and look as psychedelic as a cartoon version of the Yellow Submarine (a truly odd example admittedly, as the Yellow Submarine was quite a bit a cartoon). Oh, well…
Important thing is Fish Fish Bang Bang is -unexpectedly- almost here and you’ll very soon be able to play its demo and (very soon after that) the complete version in all its indie glory. As for me, I did try the rather impressive early preview build of the thing and can confirm that, yes, this is a single-key arena shooter with surreal melt-o-vision graphics, outrageous sounds, addictive gameplay, unique mechanics and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope. It also is fantastic little game, that can even play itself.
Find out more about Fish Fish Bang Bang by clicking here.
If ever there was a game that could be pointed to and accredited for the “just one more turn” phenomenon in gaming, Empire Deluxe is it. Released in 1993 by New World Computing, Empire Deluxe was an advanced and enhanced version of Empire: Wargame of the Century, which in turn was a version of Empire, first released in 1977 and coded in FORTRAN. The early version of Empire was crude as the platforms it ran on, but was still addictive. The 1987 Interstel Corporation release, Empire: Wargame of the Century, had the advantage of Mark Baldwin‘s graphic user interface, making it visual appealing, which helped the game garner “Game of the Year” honors from the influential Computer Gaming Magazine. This success helped propel Empire Deluxe‘s sales forward, having the advantage of both a built-in user base as well as being a high quality game. In fact, Empire Deluxe sold well, and remains a favorite game for many PC gamers, earning a spot on GameSpy.com’s “Top 50 Games of All Time” list.
Box art for Empire Deluxe
Game play of Empire Deluxe is very familiar, as it should be considering it is the great-grandaddy of the entire RTS genre. Each player starts with one city, and needs to develop his military strength to conquer the surrounding territory. Military units are varied, and include infantry, armor, transports, destroyers, cruisers, submarines, battleships, aircraft carriers, fighters, and bombers. Targets have differing defensive and offensive values, and not every city is easily conquered. (In fact, conquering cities lowers their production capacity, and if a city changes hands often, it becomes almost useless as a source of production.) Combat is straight-forward, with the winner moving into the loser’s square upon victory. Exploration is key, and as players start on an island, building up a naval task force (with both exploratory and combat vessels) is necessary to achieve victory.
Empire Deluxe screen shotEmpire Deluxe had three modes for aspiring world conquerors: Basic, Standard, and Advanced. The Basic Mode was set up for beginners, with limits to the number and types of units available, simple production rules, and the elimination of the “fog-of-war” obscuration of the game map. The Standard Mode used the “fog-of-war” feature, added a few more complications to the production rules, and permitted the use of a few more military units. The Advanced Mode unlocked all the military units (from infantry to bomber!), added rules for terrain effects on movement and combat, presented the most complications for city production, and opened the game map to its largest size (200×200).
Some of the game industry’s brightest minds worked on custom maps for Empire Deluxe, including Will Wright (The Sims), Trevor Sorenson (Star Fleet), Don Gilman (Harpoon), and Noah Falstein (Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis). It seems obvious that the game’s influence throughout the industry is noticeably vast! If you’ve never played a game of Empire Deluxe, you’re missing out on a piece of retro gaming history. Between its history significance and the happy memories it invokes, Empire Deluxe is a true retrogaming classic!
Video Game Trading Cards
Twin Galaxies International announces that it will be an exhibitor at the 56th Philly Non-Sports Card Show to introduce the video game trading cards to the industry and media, conduct celebrity card signings and present awards.
Twin Galaxies will display more than 200 published trading cards – including the completed “Superstars of 2011” set. Samples of cards from the forthcoming “Superstars of 2012” set will be on hand as well. In addition to honoring video game champions who hold world records, these sets will commemorate the history of the worldwide video game industry by honoring iconic industry pioneers, historic events, landmark milestones and noted video game personalities.
A number of gaming celebrities on the cards are planning to attend the event to sign their cards for the public. Celebrities already confirmed to attend include Billy Mitchell and Walter Day as well as CEO of Twin Galaxies International Pete Bouvier. More appearances will be announced upon confirmation.
The Philly Non-Sports Card Show is the premier event for non-sport and entertainment card collectors. The “Philly Show” is one of the countries only exclusively non-sport only trading card shows and is the largest of its kind.
Collectors will find a diverse array of trading cards depicting The Walking Dead to Wacky Packages and Star Wars to Marvel Comics. The show boasts card dealers, artists, publishers, manufacturers, free exclusive promotional card give-aways , and more. Exhibiting manufacturers include Breygent Marketing, Cryptozoic Entertainment, Famous Fabrics, Non-Sport Update, Rittenhouse Archives, SideKick, and shopTopps.com.
The artist line-up for the 56th Philly Non-Sports Show is outstanding and features the top sketch card artists in the field of trading cards. Those artists include: Axebone, David Gross, Rhiannon Owens, Sean Pence, Elaine Perna, and Tony Perna. Top artists from Ireland Trev Murphy and Veronica O’Connell will be exhibiting at their first-ever U.S. card show. Together, these artists
have worked on Marvel, Star Wars, Dexter, Vampirella, Bettie Page, DC Comics, and many, many other trading card titles.
Admission to the Philly Non-Sports Card Show is just $8 daily. A two-day pass may be purchased for $12. Show hours are Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM.
The 56th Philly Non-Sports Card Show will take place at the Merchants Square Mall, 1901 S 12th Street, Allentown, PA, 18103.
Complete show details can be found on Non-Sport Update’s website at: http://nonsportupdate.com/philly.
By: NAXAT Soft Genre: Pinball Players: 1-2 (alternate) Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: 18,756,300
Also Available For: MegaDrive / Genesis
Download For: Wii Virtual Console
If you cast your mind back to the first time you noticed pinball videogames, there’s a good chance you’d think of this game. Digital Illusions had some success in the early 90’s with the reaslitic but playable Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies, and sure, Alien Crush was popular, but it was this sequel, which arrived approximately two years later, which really got the genre noticed among the console gaming fraternity. Brought to us by Naxat again, the basic premise is obviously very similar to before. Instead of the evil aliens from the first game, however, this game is based, perhaps somewhat controversially, on the occult! The main table, for there is only one again, is three screens high this time, medieval themed, and is crawling with hordes of satanic demons, dragons, and monsters beyond description!
As before, each section of the main table has its own flippers and is home to its own features. The bottom section, for example, is home to a large skull (who mocks you by laughing every time you lose a ball!), a fire-breathing dragon, a tower, which gives you a blocker if you get the ball through its gate, and several other features. The middle section is dominated by a woman’s face, which the ball can enter for bonus points, and it also gradually mutates into a dragon every time the ball enters a pocket! The top section features a rotating pentagram with eight sorcerers standing around it, and looming over them is the Dragon’s Gate (a large skeletal demon thingy). All sections of the table are also populated by various bugs, soldiers, and scary creatures who wander around helping your score multiplier increase as you destroy them with the ball.
Devil’s Crush, like its prequel, again features bonus tables too – six this time – and the main table is festooned with pockets through which you can enter them (when the pocket is open). On each of the bonus tables, the object is to take out the evil creatures that dwell within. These range from large dragons, skeletal heads, undead knights, and all manner of smaller, but equally malevolent foes. The only way to end this game it to max out the score counter, which, if you can manage it, would be 999,999,990! It’s not as impossible to achieve as you might initially think though, for if you thought there was a lot to do in Alien Crush, then you’ve not seen anything yet! There are even more ways to increase your score here, including various tricks, secrets, and all sorts of ways of increasing your multiplier. Not only that, but there’s now a password option to resume play later too, so I think it’s safe to say there’s plenty to keep you occupied!
Graphically, the game is even more impressive than its predecessor. The dark, gothic, demonic theme is superbly presented here, with excellent definition of the sprites and backgrounds and great use of colours, which are nicely contrasted. The table and monsters are mostly dull greys and browns compared with bright reds and greens for the explosions and various flashing lights. There’s far more happening at once than there was in Alien Crush, too. There’s a near-constant stream of evil beasts of some sort wandering around and they look suitably demonic, though their animation still isn’t particularly impressive. The table itself appears to be based around an ancient castle of some sort, compared to the sci-fi inspired, organic appearance of Alien Crush’s, and looks very much like the kind of place evil is likely to dwell. All this is supplemented by a fantastic soundtrack featuring a mixture of fast, rock tracks and moody, mysterious sounding tunes. Add to this the great, loud, arcadey sound effects, and your ears will thank you for playing this!
Gameplay-wise, like Alien Crush, not everyone will enjoy playing this, simply because it’s pinball, but those who do play it will discover one of the most immediately entertaining games ever! This is without doubt the best pinball game I’ve ever played on a console or computer and even puts many actual pintables to shame, too! There is again an option to choose between fast and slow ball speeds and on fast, which should be everyone’s choice really, the ball can sometimes rocket around the table at awesome speeds – reactions are everything here. The ‘tilt’ option is also present once more, and ball physics and play mechanics are flawless too – this is a game that takes genuine skill and lots of practise to be proficient at. There’s a hell of lot of demons to keep you occupied (a near infinite number, in fact) and a great many targets to hit and objectives to meet, and the length of time you play for is more or less entirely dependent on your competence rather than your luck.
Most pinball videogames have tried to be authentic pintables rather than taking advantage of the limitless creative potential that computers and consoles offer. Alien Crush was the first to try something different, and Devil’s Crush upped the ante ten-fold! Naxat have produced a frankly remarkable game here, and one that remains the definitive example of its genre, as well as one of RKS’s all-time favourite games. It’s as simple as pinball should be, but at the same time has so much more to it. This game should, theoretically, last you forever.
Oh – it almost slipped my mind – here’s the link. Have fun, but don’t break anything.
Title: Chief Executive
Company: ausretrogamer.com “Celebrating the nostalgia of old video gaming systems & games”
Favorite Classic Game: Double Dragon
Why it is your favorite game: I’m partial to all types of gaming genres, but beat’em ups are pretty much at the top of the pile. Double Dragon was the first beat’em up to introduce two-player co-operative play. For this reason, it was great to have a mate with you beating up some baddies with either your fists, baseball bats, knives, barrels, whips, you name it, they could pick it up and use it. Also, who else could get away in a fight wearing sunglasses.
“The President has been kidnapped by Ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue The President?”
The opening line uttered by the Secret Service agent immediately stirs the street fighter within you. Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja can be played in single player mode as Blade (in white pants); or in two player co-op mode – the second player controlling Striker (in green pants).
Blade and Striker’s mission is simple: rescue President Ronnie by pummeling all kinds of evil martial artists across seven levels within the allotted time. The attack moves at your disposal are fairly basic: low, middle, and high kicks. Each fighter can also perform a mega punch by holding down the attack button.
Should Blade or Striker get the better of their armed opponent, they can pick up the dropped weapon, be it a knife or nunchuks, and use it to extend their attack range. This comes in handy for the end-of-level bosses. Speaking of bosses, even Karnov makes an appearance.
Once you have ploughed through evil-doers across seven levels, you reach the final boss – the one and only, Mr Dragon Ninja himself. Defeat this evil kingpin and it is happy times as President Ronnie is freed from his kidnappers.
After the popularity of Double Dragon in 1987, it was inevitable that arcade developers would make 1988 a co-op beat’em up fest to cash in on the genre’s popularity.
The late 80′s was truly the Golden Era of beat’em ups. Grab a mate, and hit Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja.
Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja:
Manufacturer: Nihon Bussan / AV Japan
Developer: Data East
Genre: Beat’em Up (side scrolling fighter)
Maximum number of players: 2
Gameplay: Joint (co-operative)
Buttons: 2 (Attack and Jump)
Sound: Amplified Mono (single channel)
Cabinet: Upright Standard
Levels: 7 (Street, Truck, Sewers, Forest, Train, Cave and Dragon Ninja HQ / helicopter)
Step into the Australian Retro Gamer nostalgic time machine as we go back in retro gaming history and relive the consoles, the computers, the peripherals, the games, the people, the players and the magazines that made us all feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and put a huge smile on our face. You can view his website here.
In space, nobody can hear you scream. However, the sound of an angry bird shot from a slingshot in space is already being heard worldwide.
The original Angry Birds has proven to be the most mainstream video game hit since Pac-Man barnstormed across the planet over three decades ago. One would be hard-pressed to walk into any retail store in the country and not find Angry Birds merchandise or turn on the television without seeing a reference to the popular app and video game.
Now the first true sequel to the pop culture phenom, Angry Birds Space, has hit Apple and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac computers.
Iconic games of the past have sometimes struggled with sequels. The original Tetris has proven a more popular game than any of it’s later follow-ups, while most Pac-Man sequels also fell short of the original. Ms. Pac-Man was the exception to the rule, proving successful in large part for managing to take everything that made the first Pac-Man popular and enhancing it with new features.
Angry Birds Space manages to do what Ms. Pac did decades before. Ten million downloads in the first three days of release show others feel the same. The new title successfully enhances the classic gameplay formula that made the original such an unqualified success.
Fans of the original Angry Birds and it’s spin-offs will be able to instantly recognize how to play Angry Birds Space. The extra challenge of various types of gravity now exists in various ways. Some levels will require the player to put a bird into orbit in order to reach the enemy pigs (who are now apparently “pigs in space”). Others require knocking your adversaries out of orbit and down to the surface of nearby planets and moons. Still others provide the challenge of knocking space junk or asteroids into the green pigs in order to move on to the next level.
New birds join your ranks as well, some of which can be detonated by another touch of the screen while in flight and others that can be split into three flying foul with an extra tap. As with the original Angry Birds the timing and angle of your shots are key, but with the varied ways Angry Birds Space uses gravity and obstacles each level requires a different approach than the previous and often prove far less predictable.
The hype surrounding this new title is justified. Much like the aforementioned Ms. Pac-Man, Angry Birds Space doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, taking everything that worked about the original and improving upon it.
Go ahead and throw down your 99 cents, charge up your smartphone all the way and set aside more than a little free time. Angry Birds Space is an instant classic.
Name: William Lukas Black
Title: Art Lead (Mr. Gravity)
Company: Mr. Gravity
Favorite Classic Game: Donkey Kong Country
Why it is your favorite game: I liked how the art in (Donkey Kong Country) popped out at the player. It was one of the first games I can recall that tried to combine 3D (style) characters into a 2D platformer. I also liked how varied the environments were in that game.
You, on the other hand, should better try its hefty demo. Get the roughly 650MB file here.
This is one of those games that were much more fun in the past then it was today. Crime Fighters is a beat em up in every sense of the word. In this Konami fighter, you play the role of an undercover cop who really just rushes into gang territory and beats the living hell out of everyone. Honestly, I don’t even know how you are considered undercover when you just walk up and start beating down people.
The cool thing about this game, at least at the arcades was it was four players like Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. Depending on how many were playing more enemies would be on the screen at one time. Crime Fighters plays a lot like Double Dragon, your main attacks are punches and kicks and you can grab enemies and preform attack as well.
Another different thing about Crime Fighters was the health meter. In the four player version when you added money you would get a certain number representing your health and it would slowly count down like Gauntlet (perhaps it was your undercover power). The only way to gain health was at the end of a level after beating a boss. I think this could make the game seem like you are getting a lot of health, but later on some of the enemies and bosses are cheap and just continue to tick away your health.
Speaking of cheap, one of the issues I had was with picking up weapons. Now the guns were over powered and once you had one you owned until you were out of bullets, but the knife and pipe were semi useless specifically because when you first picked them up you would like show them off and during this little animation an enemy could hit you causing you to drop and lose the item. Again, maybe it has to do with being undercover, I dunno.
So like most side scrolling fighting games the key is not to be surrounded. Most of the standard enemies were easy to take out, but later you had big muscle bound dudes that could smack you around or pick you up and slam you. The worst are the ninja guys who would counter almost all your attacks and really drain your life. Here is a pro-tip, don’t scroll too far when fighting a ninja or a big guy or more might come out or you might reach the boss, trust me, mixing the ninja and a boss is horrible and you will lose a ton of life.
I also like the United Nations of bad guys in Crime Fighters. You had greasers which were white guys that looked like a 60’s gang, a dock worker that was either a huge black or white guy, the Kung Fu thug which was a Chinese guy and the best enemy name ever, Hispanic, seriously, the enemy name was just called, Hispanic and they wore tank tops and always used a knife. I know my Miami readers would get a kick out of that.
As said the game can be frustrating especially when you get a team up of hard enemies like the Dominatrix, hit-man and a boss. Speaking of bosses, they just were weird. You had bosses that looked like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees to the stereotypical end boss, which comes out of a limo with a machine gun. If you make it all the way to the end, you can fight all the bosses at once, which I really think was a last ditch effort to grab more quarters from you.
All in all Crime Fighters gets boring because all you do is mash punch and kick against the same type of bad guys over and over. Also, with the cheap attacks and counters it just gets frustrating even when you are not spending real quarters. However, kneeing enemies in the balls and hearing that bell sound makes it all worth it. This game reminds me of a mix between Double Dragon and Renegade and that in itself is good enough to give it a go.
Revisiting Link To The Past
It looks as if Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Zelda is interested in revisiting A Link to the Past. What does revisiting mean? Well, in the past Miyamoto has said he wanted to release a remake for the 3DS, but recently he remarked that he would like to see something new created.
“I think I’d be even more interested in creating something new maybe based on, or starting from, A Link To The Past,” Miyamoto told Edge Magazine. “I think it’s important to bring some really new software.”
While it does not look as if Miyamoto will have time to oversee any project of that type himself he said there are other game directors who could handle the task. It also seems there are some “lesser” directors who could work on a remake.
In the end, the word is still a maybe, meaning we are most likely to see a remake for the 3DS, but a whole new game based on A Link to the Past is still just a possibility.
Thanks to Edge for the feed.
A super-sized edition of the cosplay this week featuring pictures of cosplay from Pax East 2012. It seems the report about banning cosplayers was not quite 100%, however we did find a lot of cosplayers that would make it into the anti-fapp so stay tuned to our sister site Obscure Internet for that one. For now, enjoy the Fapp!
[youtube id=”Ih0CTM2pQB4″ width=”633″ height=”356″]
The game is pretty simple in that if you are used to fighting games of this type you know not to get surrounded, used weapons whenever you can and hold out on using health replenishers until the last possible moment. Honestly, the only cheesy boss is the Kingpin himself, which makes sense. ~J.A. Laraque
I loved this game from the moment I saw it at the arcade. The Punisher has all the action I loved from Capcom’s Final Fight with the added bonus of Marvel characters and you can shoot a bunch of guns to boot. The gameplay is pretty simple. Your goal is to fight with either The Punisher or Nick Fury though a ton of bad guys on your way to kill the Kingpin.
You punch and kick your away though various bad guys and bosses and have a slew of weapons to choose from to take them out from lead pipes to tires to baseball bats. One of the coolest parts for me is when you can use your gun and take out as many enemies as possible, although, Punisher would just do that all the time.
The game is pretty simple in that if you are used to fighting games of this type you know not to get surrounded, used weapons whenever you can and hold out on using health replenishers until the last possible moment. Honestly, the only cheesy boss is the Kingpin himself, which makes sense.
All in all a great arcade game.
Silicon Dream… a group of the Italo Disco style that seems a lot like Zlad “Zladko” (Electronik Supersonik) but this is probably what inspired that parody instead. Kind of funny how the parody is more famous than the original material…
First we have Silicon Dream – Andromeda a song about space exploration, expansion, and colonization.
I really enjoy the intro to the video: “In 1492 Columbus discovered America and he found The Indians. A couple of hundred years later in the human being’s history the Earth People discovered a brand new world – The Space. Where are The Space Indians?”
If you don’t know the parody by Zlad – Eletronik Supersonik, here it is:
Back to Silicon Dream… The first song I ever found by them with in an Italo Disco collection and it was this one Silicon Dream – Einstein
So both videos are pretty fucking weird with two dudes dancing which kind of remind me of the background dancers in Toy Box – Best Friend:
Next up we have Silicon Dream – Marcello The Mastroianni
Okay so most of the songs do sound the same but hey it was the 80s. I could just imagine how crazy it would have been to have had Silicon Dream playing along with Klaus Nomi…
Okay, although I love that song, that was the most 80s German thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
But seriously, speaking of WTF, if you thought Silicon Dream from the 80s was weird, how about this 90s kind of style video by them? Silicon Dream – I’m Your Doctor
Umm… if that’s not enough WTF for you, how about “let’s do classic acid” with Silicon Dream – Ludwig Fun
Was it just me or were the dancers having epileptic attacks?
I must leave you with Silicon Dream – Wunderbar…
I heard that a great way to start a video is with some guys wearing a bunch of skirts.
I have no brain left and I just found a new stream of more breaindead videos to post… stay tuned.
In 1990, cult-favorite developer Sunsoft published Batman on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console, a video game cartridge based on the original film as directed by Tim Burton with Michael Keaton in the titular role of the caped crusader. Little did Sunsoft know, perhaps, that they would be laying the foundation for what would be among the most prized legacies in license-game franchise history, and authoring the blueprint for what a successful high-quality license game should feel like.
The controls are definitively sublime: The A button jumps, and the B button punches, as they should. However, the Dark Knight has a few further tricks up his sleeve: Not only can he crouch and jump at varying heights, along with altering his midair momentum, but he can wall-jump rather intuitively, adding a whole new dimension to the classic 8-bit platforming gameplay. Not only are his movement capabilities fleshed out well, but he has a trio of weapons at his disposal: A ‘batarang’ boomerang, a projectile missile that begins with a slow flight before rapidly speeding across the screen, and a powerful triple-shot firing option as well. Each of these items is accessible by toggling through by pressing the Start button, and each with their own respective inventory amount, of which Batman can increase by picking up certain items as he proceeds.
Another item he can find is health to boost his life meter, which at full strength allows him to take several hits before dying, although even Batman’s death is impressive, as he bursts into a flash of fire. Suffering damage does not incur knockback, and grants a brief moment of invulnerability. Mastering Batman’s skills in movement, melee combat, long-range weaponry, and inventory management will be key to success, as this Batman game boasts a challenging difficulty curve that will prove to be a worthy conquest for even a seasoned retro gamer.
The stages loosely follows the sets from the movie, as our hero must progress through Gotham, the AXIS Chemical Factory, some Laboratory Ruins, and other locales and sub-levels, before the inevitable final confrontation with his arch-nemesis the Joker. The boss fights after each stage are appropriate, and even innovative, as one finds Batman fighting an inanimate security system.
The platformer may have been an almost too-popular genre for the NES console, but Batman proves to be a shining example of how it can give the player a thorough, satisfactory experience, demanding honed reflexes, tactics, patience, and outright gaming prowess to complete, while still remaining as one of the best license video games of all time, even decades later.
Sunsoft did not skimp on presentational strength. This is a fine-looking 8-bit NES video game. The characters are well-defined, distinctive, and varied, from the shock troops wielding flamethrowers to the robotic spike-armed floor guards and react to Batman’s presence. The cutscenes do justice to Batman’s bold, dark flavor, serving to more fully enrich the in-game plotline. But perhaps, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, the most noteworthy of Batman’s graphical qualities is its level design and background graphics. Even on the very first level, the use of detail in the backgrounds is exquisite, thoroughly pacing the rigors of the NES color palette toward establishing atmosphere, and the way the elements gradually fade into swooping blank swaths of black is stunning in its ingenuity and overall effect. This words may seem overly effusive, but rest assured: The praise is deserved, and those who play the NES rendition of Batman The Video Game are in for a memorable portrait of visceral action gaming.
While some development teams and programmers were bewitched and obfuscated by the inherent difficulties of composing quality music for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sunsoft must have had a very competent team indeed, because the themes present in Batman are among the most earwormy pieces of sound candy the console had to offer. The title screen tune thunders in with a deep taste of bass before adding a layer of melodic meat. The first level may be the most unforgettable for its music, with an intense track that is not only not a stretch to be described at nearly orchestral in its arrangement power, but apparently so fondly recognized that it is revisited in a later level to dramatic effect. The actual effects, in comparison, may even be a letdown, but pack enough punch to satisfy the proceedings as the buzzy chime of item-collecting bumps up against the brief flame-burst of defeated foes.
This is it: The definitive example of a good license game on the NES. Perhaps it is not the only one, or even the very best, but it set the standard, standing out amidst the morass of sub-standard cartridges in the sea of pre-1990 NES games being made. Maybe it was mostly due to its vast distribution and resulting commonality, but this is among the most beloved NES video games, with countless gamers pleasantly recollecting this as among their favorites.
The wall-jumping mechanic may have been the greatest innovation, with the second-level automaton boss being a notable mention as well. The item-toggling system is an interesting touch, but maybe not done as well as it could have been, although it certainly delivered results in real time. Then again, hardcore purists would balk at the concept of Batman carrying such guns anyway.
Some gamers, even retro fans, point to Batman as among the pioneering carts that helped define the term “Nintendo Hard,” supposedly representing an era when, since the limited-memory cartridges could not hold a hugely lengthy game, clever developers instead had to rely on steep difficulty levels to properly give gamers a heart replay value, as kids and hobbyists everywhere repeatedly tried to beat the game. While Batman may be tough, it is defensibly so, with the possible exception of the climactic Joker fight, in which the ultimate boss not only packs an enormous pistol but can inexplicably wield lightning bolts as well.
Whether nitpicked for its theoretical flaws, worked over as a title for hardcore fans only, or unappreciated as merely another example of the inundated field of NES platformers, one basic truth strikes at the core of the issue: Batman is a good game. The detective punches four stars out of five to earn its rightful place in the Nintendo pantheon.
Eric Bailey is a retro gamer on a crazy quest to write a quality review for every single American-released NES video game over at NintendoLegend.com.
Metal Gear NES
Today we highlight a pretty cool mod job done on a classic NES console. This NES was moded with custom Metal Gear colors with matching game cart and controllers. The controllers are backlit and the windowed area also lights up red. Check out the video by create jaytod2 on Youtube.
My Home Alone knowledge goes as far as being forced to watch the first movie because of a girl…..it’s always a girl. I’ve been told (thanks @CrapDracula) that the Home Alone game has completely different game play depending on which console it was purchased, which I found odd. But thankfully, the Genesis version seemed to capture the fun parts of the first movie.
You play as Kevin, the Macauley Culkin character, and you have to protect the neighborhood from the Wet Bandits, played by the Wonder Years voice-guy and Leo Getz.
There’s some really unique game play here, which won me over right away: There’s an overview of the “neighborhood”, which consists of the 5 houses that Harry and Marv are trying to rob. The game gives you 20 minutes to slow down the Bandits before the cops arrive. You do this by staying ahead of them inside the houses. Moving around the neighborhood in a motorized sled, you enter each house to set up traps. Once you’ve entered, there’s a blueprint map where you do this; marbles, toys, oil…a number of things to slow them down, because they seem to be too stupid to look down at the floor, I suppose. Once they’re inside, you go into “attack” mode, using weapons against them. You’ll find items by running over snowmen outside or just grab something off the shelves in each house. There’s another map where you’ll put these items together, likeMacGyver. Because of the lead character being a little boy, I had plenty of enjoyment blasting these two idiots in the groin with a snowball cannon. If they catch you, you’re hung on the wall for a couple of seconds before you wiggle loose.
The characters look like the actors…very well done. The wintery setting and the story taking place over Christmas vacation makes this a fun and memorable game for that time of year. Plus, I try to remember Macauley during his “good old days” before Michael Jackson got a hold of him….I think I meant that literally.
You are not going for a Twin Galaxies record so when you decide to have a retro game night with your friends do not show how you can beat Super Mario Bros 3 with one life because it will just piss us off and make us retaliate on you. ~J.A. Laraque
Five Don’ts of gaming
I can’t stand those 5 or 10 things you should or shouldn’t do articles. Those articles are often so cheesy with advice anyone with half a brain would already know about. So without future adieu here are a list of 5 things gamers shouldn’t do.
Don’t eat while using voice chat
Seriously, 9 times out of ten, your microphone already sucks and the worst sound in the world is someone chewing food and it coming in over your speakers. For some reason people who eat while voice chatting never use push to talk either. Also, remember to leave voice chat or we might here you going at it to Fappathon and that is just a reputation killer.
Don’t put stickers on your console
I did this with one of my Nintendo’s. I thought it would be cool to put my own mark on it by adding a sticker and next thing I knew my NES looked like a teenaged girl’s notebook. It got so bad I would cover my NES when friends game over. Luckily, I broke it during a frustrated night of the original Metal Gear and got a new one.
Don’t play a game you own at in front of friends
You are not going for a Twin Galaxies record so when you decide to have a retro game night with your friends do not show how you can beat Super Mario Bros 3 with one life because it will just piss us off and make us retaliate on you. On the other hand, if you want to school your friends in a game of Temco Bowl go right ahead.
Don’t treat your noob girlfriend like the noob she is
No, this is not a sexist statement. We all know girls can pwn just as hardcore as guys, but we also have many girlfriends completely not into any games. So if you want to introduce your none gaming girlfriend to say Starcraft, go right ahead. However, you cannot attack her for sucking the way you might do a friend because she won’t take it nicely and you will find yourself playing solo for many nights to come.
Don’t play a controller with dirty hands
If you want to have that special controller that only you use then fine, but if you plan to let others play your controller keep it clean. One of the worst things in the world is to be handed a controller and its grimy or sticky because we have no idea how it got that way and our imaginations will go while. Break out the hand sanitizer for goodness sakes.
There are many other don’ts out there, but you get the idea. Next time we will bring you some Do’s to make sure you are up to par. In the meantime, if you have some more don’ts to share, let us know.
Some games are released and gain an instant cult following, yet do not find a larger audience with the larger PC gamer market. Sometimes they are too quirky. Sometimes the game’s instructions are confusing, and require a great deal of experimentation to learn and understand. Sometimes the genre is experiencing market oversaturation, and no matter how good the game is, people are too tired of playing that kind of game. Whatever the reason, great games have been released that did not find more than a toehold in the gamerverse, and disappeared into the mists of gaming history. Ascendancy, released by The Logic Factory in 1995, was one such game.
Cover art for the 1995 PC game, Ascendancy.
Ascendancy was a turn-based strategy game set in a sci-fi universe, and gave the player several species options to choose from – 21 in all. (Interestingly, Humans were not included as one of those races. ) Each species had its strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages. For instance, some races were better negotiators, some better scientists, some better weapon makers, some better at defending their turf, and some better at invasion. How soon you met these other species depended on how dense of star cluster you chose at the beginning of the game. The denser the cluster, the more planets existed, and more star lanes connecting them. Those star lanes were the key to victory, as could be controlled by a particular alien race, and that control could vary as systems were conquered. For even more variety, the computer randomized your opponents, which meant never knowing exactly what you faced; the game was different every time you played it.
Title screen for the 1995 PC game, Ascendancy.
An interesting feature of Ascendancy was the Tech Tree, which was a three-dimensional representation of the scientific advances that were available to the alien race. As each discovery was made, new paths – branches – were opened for development. The Logic Factory outdid itself with the names of the techno-advancements, with such titles as Tonklin Diary (which allows for Tonklin Frequency Analyzers) or Spacetime Surfing (which allows for Star Lane Drives) or Gravity Control (which allows for Quantum Singularity Launchers) or Momentum Deconservation (which allows for Concussion Shields), and so on. Of course, you could jumpstart your research by locating and searching through alien ruins on the planets your fleet visited for lost technology, which was yet another random variable that made Ascendancy both ever-changing and immanently replayable.
Ascendancy was a wonderful game with a huge flaw: the AI. Although casual gamers enjoyed the game’s challenge, more advanced gamers found the AI to be weak and easily mastered. The Logic Factory responded by issuing a patch which greatly enhanced the game’s AI, but in 1995 few people were on the Internet, so the patch never found widespread release. For those itching to play the original Ascendancy with the Antagonizer patch, here it is: ANTAGONIZER and README.
Planetary screen in Ascendancy
As could be expected in any multi-civilization strategy game, Ascendancy included a robust diplomacy element. As new species discovered your existence, their attitudes and responses were influenced by how you reacted to them. Peace treaties, hostilities, technology exchanges, invitations to join in current conflicts were examples of some of the outcomes resulting from an exchange of diplomatic pleasantries. As in real life, species who considered you weak would make broader demands and reject overtures; species who considered you strong worked on making you their best friend.
Successful research screen in Ascendancy
Ascendancy was a quirky game, but it found a receptive audience due to its stellar gameplay. It earned a 93% score and an Editor’s Choice award from PC Gamer, and received some high praise from the grognard’s grognard, William R. Trotter (which has an interesting story and legend surrounding the review and his subsequent strategy guide work on the same game). Ascendancy also won a Codie Award for Best Strategy Software in 1996, in a field that included Allied General and Command & Conquer. (Mind you, they gave the Best Adventure/Roleplaying Game award to Oregon Trail II that same year.)
Searching the ruins in Ascendancy
Time has passed and the prospect of a sequel remain dim. However, a new version built for the iPhone (and iPad) has been released, and has received some solid reviews from those who game on those platforms. But for the retrogamer, the original Ascendancy remains supreme in turn-based space strategy exploration and conquest, and well worth investing a little time playing once again!
If they had a game like this in typing class, I would have stayed awake. The Typing of the Dead is considered more of a mod or remake because of how closely it is to House of the Dead 2. The game plays just like the first-person rail shooter where your mission is to take out zombies, but instead of a gun, you use your keyboard.
No, seriously, each zombie or monster has a word and you must type out the word fast enough to kill it. How does it know you typed the word or if you spelled it right? I think those questions asked means you are sympathetic to the zombie cause so shut up and play!
As far as bosses, you will have to type out answers to questions and for the final boss there are alternate endings if you type out different answers. I think we need a season of The Walking Dead that covers this.
Legendary journalist Tom Brokaw coined the term “the Greatest Generation” in 1998 to describe what he felt was the most important generation in American history. What generation deserves that tag in video gaming history seems to be up for debate.
Over the past several years I have seen and dealt with players who will put the topic up for constant debate. I have seen classic arcade gamers refer to anything console as “lame” and unimportant in comparison, even going so far as to note the NES as the death of their generation instead of the massive industry crash years before it. I have seen modern gamers question the loyalty of the classic gaming fans and I’ve seen every generation inbetween sing the virtues of their preferred generations of gaming.
Last Friday’s article noting that all three modern consoles have now surpassed the Nintendo Entertainment System in lifetime sales figures saw some pro-NES fans go on the defensive, even acting as if the statistics were being used to somehow downplay the importance of the NES or claim modern console superiority. A puzzling yet interesting response that led me to open the floor up for debate on this very topic.
What do you think is the “Greatest Generation” in video gaming? To help with the discussion I’ve broken down the generations below.
* Pre-History Era (pre-1971) – Games such as Spacewar proved popular on major university campuses, but no consumer video game products existed yet.
* Consumer Era (1971-1977) – Video games became available to consumers in both coin-op form and home products that could be hooked up to television sets. Few games truly caught on during this time, however.
* Boom Era (1978-1983) – Video games arrived in a big way starting with Space Invaders and went deep into the mainstream in both coin-op and home console form. Arcade machines set sales records that still stand today. However, this generation was unable to sustain itself. After sliding in 1982 the industry began an unstoppable downward spiral in 1983.
* Crash Era (1984-1986) – The video game briefly joins the list of dead fads as most arcade locations close and retailers refuse to carry any video game products. Personal computer gaming managed to thrive. The Nintendo Entertainment System came along toward the end of this era and gained some steam…
* NES Era (1987-1990) – Nintendo’s console dominated the home console scene while surviving arcade locations stabilized behind strong titles not yet available for home play. While the NES manages to more than double the lifetime sales of the Atari 2600, other consoles struggle. Handheld gaming comes to be, starting with Nintendo’s GameBoy. Video games are still considered “toys” by the media as the decade ends.
* Nineties Era (1991-1999) – The 16-bit console wars split the gaming audience between Nintendo and Sega but increase the overall scale of the industry. Arcades see a semi-comeback behind popular fighting and sports titles. Consumers were unable to keep up with the majority of new console product, however, until Sony’s PlayStation comes along, becoming the first console in history to sell more than 100 million units.
* Millenium Generation (2000-2006) – The PlayStation 2 comes out to product shortages and an eBay frenzy, eventually trumping the lifetime sales of the first PlayStation. Microsoft’s XBox brings new blood into the marketplace while Sega bows out. Nintendo finally moves on with the introduction of new handhelds, continuing their dominance in that area but struggling to regain the top spot with traditional consoles. Video games leave consumer toy labels into electronics and entertainment labels.
* Modern Generation (2007-present) – The Nintendo Wii brings the Big N back to the top of the traditional console market with motion control. The PlayStation 3 stumbles out of the gate but helps Sony’s Blu Ray win the disc format war. The XBox 360 brings Microsoft ahead of Sony in the console race. The Nintendo DS blows past the lifetime GameBoy sales numbers while all three traditional consoles reach the top five best selling consoles ever. Numerous titles break all-time gaming sales figures.
A special edition of Cosplay featuring Easter inspired cosplay. O.K., Fine, it’s an excuse to show hot girls in bunny outfits and pictures of Jessica Rabbit cosplayers, can you blame us?
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Street Fighter 2
This one should be interesting for many of you and I’m sure you have come across it at some point while playing your NES emulator. Street Fighter 2 for the Famicom is an attempt at making a fighter for a limited console. Don’t get me wrong, the developers have managed a good attempt of a very revolutionary game, but this is far from revolutionary. The Famicom/NES did had its great share of fighters such as TMNT Tournament Fighter and Joy Mecha Fight but it takes more to make a decent fighter and Street Fighter 2 for the Famicom is far from it.
Street Fighter 2 for the Famicom is a very crappy attempt at mimicking a legendary game. The game does bring less fighter than the original, I’m guessing the producers must have either ran out of room or ran out of patience to even continue further. The gameplay is brutal as for some reason there is a magnet in each player which doesn’t attract each other but rather pushes them away(Talk about negative), you can’t seem to be able to stay near your opponent to corner and beat the hell out of him like in the original SNES release. The moves are also very tricky and tend to only work one out of three tries and even if you are able to pull them off, they aren’t that effective.
The game’s music is just awful and deserves the mute button. This is what you can expect from a pirate though. This one is an original pirate that got hacked to different other franchises. I’m sure there is a Mortal Kombat that is a clone of this game just with a different title screen and a better character select screen but I could be wrong. Overall, you will get a good laugh playing this game with a friend after a couple of beers. You can also pick this game up for a good price of around 5-10 usd so at least we can be happy it’s affordable. Be sure to download this awful game here and let me know if you find it appealing at all. I know for sure if you saw this in the stores you would have been all crazy about it, just imagine if it would have been an official Capcom release! We wouldn’t be so crazy about Street Fighter 4 as we are now but either way I don’t think Capcom would have allowed it. They did allowed a lot of awful Mega Man games ugh….until next week arrrr!
Nintendo NES Controller Bra
Now your girlfriend can have a D-Pad for her double D’s (if you’re lucky). Etsy has the ultimate bra for you to practice your Konami code on and perhaps if you do it right you will unlock the next level. This retro piece of geekdom comes in sizes 32A to 38DD and only costs $35 bucks. Now if you know how to push your girl’s buttons, you might end up in bed and as you can see in the picture below, we’ve got you covered there as well.
You can buy the bra here.
Seriously if you score with both these items let us know and we will create a hall of fame for you or something.
Name: Nathan Bradford
Company: Mr. Gravity
Favorite Classic Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Why it is your favorite game: The controls are simple yet addicting, there is a lot to explore in such an early game including lots of secrets that I’m still discovering despite having played through the game nearly a dozen times. There is a level system which makes me want to keep playing it rather than simply just going through it. There is more than one ending. Overall I feel it’s a very well made game for its time.
Fantasy Zone 2 (1987)
By: Sega Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Sega Master System First Day Score: 40,000
Also Available For: Arcade, Nintendo NES, MSX
Download For: Wii Virtual Console
Sega pretty much invented the quickly-dubbed ‘cute em up’ sub-genre with Fantasy Zone and it was an interesting fusion of gaming styles. The bright, colourful graphics full of funny-looking creatures and cute characters belied the tough shooting action the game provided, but it proved to be very popular and was converted to several platforms of the time. Set ten years later, this inevitable sequel tells pretty much the same story as the first game – the now-expanded territory of the Fantasy Zone has come under renewed attack from the evil Menon Empire who are once again attempting to construct a huge fortress in the Fantasy Zone. He’s getting on a bit now but Opa-Opa still springs into action to save the day!
Fantasy Zone 2 The Tears of Opa-Opa, to give it its full title, initially appears to be more of the same from Sega, and there is in fact little difference between this and the first game beyond the cosmetic, but that’s certainly no cause for complaint when the first game was so good! There are again eight stages and each but the last is a free-scrolling, looped stage featuring a constant stream of small enemies, usually moving in formation or patterns, whose sole job it is to prevent you from destroying the larger, enemy-spawning Menon ‘bases’ on each stage, of which there are substantially more this time. Eliminating them all will lead to a boss fight before progressing to the next round.
The biggest difference between this and the first Fantasy Zone game is that each round is now divided into several different areas. Destroying enemies still releases coins (and notes now, too) of varying value but some Menon bases leave behind a blue warp instead. These allow you to travel back and forth between the areas, each of which generally contains four or five bases. There is also one base that will leave behind a red warp when destroyed. This leads to the boss but you can’t enter it until all the bases are destroyed. Opa-Opa’s basic armaments remain his weak but rapid-fire twin shot, and slow-firing but more powerful bombs. Fortunately there is again a shop to help him out which this time stays put once it appears rather than floating around for just a few seconds as before. Most of the old engine and weapon upgrades return, such as the jet engine, wide beam, laser, seven way shot, and twin bombs (which are much more useful this time) and there’s a few new ones too like the big shot, three way shot, and twin big bombs. As before, the speed-ups and twin bombs will last for the remainder of that life but the other shot and bomb upgrades are time or shot-limited.
The eight rounds are all set on new planets and as such there are many glorious new wonders to behold here, and that’s perhaps one of the biggest draws of Fantasy Zone 2. Not only does each round have its own background, but most of the areas within each round do too, and they are mostly superb! As well as being unique (and very colourful, as you might imagine!), they are much more diverse than in the first game and feature particularly impressive ice and fire stages. Each stage is also home to unique enemies who are varied and superbly detailed for the most part. There is a little slow-down when things are at their busiest, but this remains one of the prettiest, most vibrant games available for the Master System.
Anyone who’s played Fantasy Zone will know exactly what to expect here. Sega has tinkered with the premise very little for the sequel and, aside from the new graphics, sound, and level structure, this is essentially the same again but even better. It remains a pretty tricky game, with some smaller enemies moving very quickly and occasionally seeming to appear from nowhere, but it’s not unfairly difficult and playing though it is great fun. As well as taking you to new areas, the warps are extremely helpful for escaping from oncoming hordes of enemies, and thanks to the easier access to the shop, it’s now possible to buy weapon upgrades and save them for the bosses, so you could say the going is a little easier here. In fact, the only thing here that’s worse than the first game is the music which is still pretty good but not as memorable as the first game. Overall, this is a fantastic sequel that retains all the charm of the first game and adds more of its own.
RKS Score: 9/10
A mini dubstep this time featuring Stan from American Dad and his rocket boot.
Props to Salad Uk for this!
Name: Jeremy Heintz
Title: Lighting TA
Company: DreamWorks Animation
Favorite Classic Game: The Legend of Zelda
Why it is your favorite game: Simplistic controls and challenging mazes – The Legend of Zelda challenges you in way that you don’t see in current generation games. The labyrinths are long a boss fight are epic.
ICade has been pretty awesome at creating retro gaming hardware that you can use in conjunction with your iPad, iPhone and Android device to play retro video games pretty much anywhere. Check out our first look at the iCade arcade cabinet from CES 2011.
Recently iCade released their 8-Bitty, a retro gamepad that looks and feels like the classic NES game pad. The device is wireless and uses blue-tooth connectivity allowing you to pair your pad with your Apple or Android device. The pad features four buttons and the classic D-Pad and it fits in your pocket. The 8-bitty runs on two AAA batteries and has a power saver mode so you are not always replacing them.
Now the pad will work with all iCade games and comes with the Atari Greatest Hits app, which features over 100 games, however you only get Missile Command for free, but can purchase all 100 games for $14.99.
We hope to bring you a hands on review soon, in the meantime check out the product page here.